On the Cider Trail in Spain's Basque Country



Posted by Ed 2 mths ago
It’s January in the village of Hernani, Spain, and everyone is ringing in the start of cider season with a communal feast of salt-cod omelettes and fire-roasted ribeyes at Zelaia, a local cider house. From time to time, a resounding “Txotx!” rings out above the Basque babble: The cider master is about to uncork a kupela, or barrel.

Forks clank down, sleeves roll up, and diners file into the abutting bodega to fill their glasses with cool, foamy sagardo straight from the 5,000-gallon tun. Among the crowd are Juan Mari Arzak and Martín Berasategui, world-renowned Basque chefs who I’m told are regular customers.

But what is it about this humble cider house—with its chair-free dining room and four-item food menu—that attracts even the culinary elite?


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