El ritual del Txotx

The “Txotx” ritual

Watch video

A Cider House is a farm which makes cider and Gipuzkoa is famously home to a huge number of these sidrerias. You can find out all about this historical product, so deeply rooted in our culture, at any of these cider houses throughout the province, and enjoy this experience in many ways.

The cider season runs from January to late April which is a great time of year to taste this year’s cider straight from the barrel. During cider-house season, visitors are encouraged to try the house ciders alongside the people who make them, to enthusiastic shouts of “txotx”. This cider-tasting is accompanied by a typical cider house menu which comprises a house aperitif, cod omelette, steak cooked over coals, walnuts, Idiazabal cheese served with a sweet apple or quince jelly. Throughout the summer and autumn, the cider houses open up again to sell both “txotx” and bottled cider alongside seasonal gourmet produce.

Don’t leave Gipuzkoa without visiting a cider house. Spread throughout the province and open at various times throughout the year, they provide a chance to enjoy our local traditions. This age-old product has diversified nowadays into ciders with Protected Designation of Origin, single-variety ciders, organic ciders, apple juice, fizzy ciders, ice ciders and liqueurs, and many more. The best way to try them is by taking a guided tour with a tasting session in the actual cider houses.

On your guided tour, you’ll firstly meet the cider-making family, followed by a visit to the apple orchard where the whole process begins. After tasting products in the orchard, the tour will reveal secret spots throughout the house, ending up in the winery where you can sample the cider and round off your experience by tucking into a traditional cider house menu.

The history of cider can be found in Gipuzkoa’s towns and villages. Once a mere foodstuff, every sip now serves up a slice of local history, revealing the professions of yesteryear and showing how the locals used to live. This is well illustrated in the Sagardoetxea cider museum in Astigarraga and the Igartubeiti cider-making homestead in Ezkio.

Astigarraga is home to Sagardoetxea or the Cider Museum, where you can explore and taste all the secrets held by the world of cider. The centre comprises three areas: the orchard, where you can learn about types of apples, how ripening is monitored, plus the harvesting methods; the tasting centre where you’ll be initiated into all the secrets of the “txotx”; and the museum itself, housing an exhibition of utensils, games and photos that will teach you about cider-related rituals and customs.

The Igartubeiti museum is the only 16th century cider-making homestead which is still operating today. It is worth seeing, exploring and feeling how its walls and beams still vibrate with the music of olden times. This homestead not only explains how cider used to be made, but it also explores Basque family life back in those days, their professions and their way of life.