On the Cider Trail in Spain's Basque Country

Posted by Ed 17 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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