CIDER HOUSE – SAGARDOTEGI
Cider is something truly typical in the north of Spain, more specifically for the Basque Country and Asturias.
Cider houses don’t only produce cider but they also serve food in a wonderfully casual way.
Through time, the cider house rules or traditions have established a more or less fixed menu at the cider houses. You eat, literally, until you drop. The menu consists of tortilla de bacalao (cod omelette), deep-fried salt cod, charcoal-grilled ox steak, cheese with quince jam and in your glass TXIRI – CIDER!
When they pull the cork out of one of the enormus cider barrels and let a squirt of cider pour out, then you quickly hand forward your glass for a sip of cider.
You never fill a glass of cider the way you are used to. No, cider is poured from high above or, like they do it here, from a distance in small sips in order to stimulate the carbonic bubbles created when the golden liquid hits the glass with force/energy.
The action in itself, opening the cider barrel, is called TXOTX.
A sip, then another and another… And inbetween a menu that would make a gutty lumberer fall on his back.
A fun, fascinating and very hearty tradition that I truly recommend.