Everyone knows that Basque gastronomy is a cornerstone of its culture, built upon two pillars: food and drink. Both are so crucial that Basque people celebrate the start of many seasons by following ancient and unique traditions. This past week, there were events about Basque cider and Basque’s white wine: txakoli, which showed good examples of these beverages.
The beginning of 2024 Cider Season
Basque cider season began at Alorrenea with plenty of cider to enjoy at traditional cider houses called «sagardotegis«. Iñigo Etxezarreta, the leader of Basque group «En Tol Sarmiento«, hosted an event and planted an apple tree to start the season.
Some cider houses nearby are open year-round, but the specialness of these seasonal months is unmatched. During the Basque cider season, locals and tourists alike flock to the sagardotegis to indulge in the rich and tangy flavors of this beloved beverage. The atmosphere is lively and convivial, with the sound of laughter and clinking glasses filling the air.
Accompanying the cider are plates of mouthwatering typical Basque cuisine. From the famous pintxos, small bites of culinary perfection, to hearty dishes like bacalao al pil-pil (salt cod fish in garlic and olive oil sauce), the food is a perfect complement to the cider. The Basque people take immense pride in their gastronomy, and it is evident in the quality and flavor of every dish.
As the evening progresses, the sagardotegis come alive with traditional Basque country’s music and dance. Locals take to the dance floor, twirling and stomping their feet to the lively tunes. The energy is infectious, and even those who are not familiar with the steps can’t help but join in the merriment.
The Basque cider season is not just a celebration of a beverage; it is a celebration of community, tradition, and the rich cultural heritage of the Basque people. It is a time when friends and family come together to enjoy good food, good drink, and good company. The sagardotegis become a hub of activity, a place where memories are made and stories are shared.
Where can I drink the best cider in Spain?
Gipúzkoa boasts the most tradition, hosting the vast majority of cider houses in Spain, primarily in the municipalities of Astigarraga, Hernani, Usurbil, and Urnieta. Yet, you can find some excellent cider houses in the rest of the Basque provinces, going from San Sebastián to Vizcaya and even Álava.
Txakoli Eguna: The Day of the Txakoli
On another note, this past Wednesday marked another significant event in Basque gastronomy: «Txakoli Eguna» or Txakoli Day. Getaria celebrates ‘Txakoli Eguna’ on January 17th. It is a special day for wine lovers to taste the new harvest of Txakoli de Getaria.
The day comprised two events, one private and the other public. The private event happened at the Balenciaga Museum.
Mikel Garaizabal talked about the new Txakoli wine from the 2023 harvest. Participating wineries, government representatives, and various industry-related guests attended. Following the harvest presentation, attendees savored the Txakolis from the different participating wineries.
The public celebration, open to Basque gastronomy’s lovers, began at noon at the fronton in Getaria. There, visitors also had the opportunity to taste Txakolis from the 23 registered wineries. In the afternoon, we celebrated the famous Basque rural sports called «herri kirolak» in the same tent at the fronton.
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