Plain Chickpeas, cooked in salted water, that's it.
Sounds a little nuts when you can get a 300gm tin at the supermarket for a dollar. We thought so too till we tried them. These are literally the best chickpeas we've ever had, plump, creamy textured, a complex nutty flavour. After tasting them I'm not even sure that they're from the same species of plant as the little hard slingshot pellets the Italians put in cans.
They come from Navarrico in Navarra, a Basque Province on the lower end of Rioja, where the Ebro River starts to fan out and the land gets flatter and redder. We've been working with Navarrico for a while and the kitchens have been using these chickpeas in big 3.5kg tins for ages but they didn't really produce a format or size that would work for the average Australian household so we asked them to do a label just for us, same chickpeas because it would be a travesty to change anything about those chickpeas... just in a more manageable size and voila, MoVida Chickpeas are here.
A couple of years ago we asked Patxi, the current owner of Navarrico, how on earth he gets chickpeas that are so good, he just shrugged and said 'I pay more than anyone else.' It's a response that's a little typical of the Spanish fine food world, the trick is often more in the buying than the cooking - the connections, the willingness to pay a farmer an extra few dollars a kilo for something that's obviously better. That in turn creates an incentive to farm better, to use less water to concentrate flavour, to work with less or no synthetic ingredients (these chickpeas are organic of course!) and over the years, if every season you're willing to support those farmers who are willing to work that way you get to where Navarrico are now - where a chickpea is never just a chickpea.