This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Conde Nast Traveler has just published a very interesting article by Benjamin Kemper (who we’ve already blogged about for an article, also on cuisine, for the Huffington Post) on the ciderhouses of Gipuzkoa.
In this very interesting article, referencing the Sideria Zelaia, he talks about the whole process of making cider, from choosing the variety of apple, to “putting on the show” at the ciderhouse. However, just as in the Huffington Post article, the use of the term “the Basque Country” to exclusively refer to only part of our country we still find grating.
We did appreciate the quote in the article referencing Basque sailors drinking cider in the 16th century, and we do so because it explains how the Basques of the time (and earlier centuries) could turn the North Atlantic into the “Sea of the Basques” thanks to the qualities of this drink. But even more so, this responds to some of the messages we’ve received, sent from other cider-producing regions, that insist that “Basque cider” is a recent invention, and we should be ashamed of trying to fool readers with talk of a Basque cider tradition.
The truth is that we are not at all ashamed to defend the cidermaking tradition of the Basques and the quality of their products. Not that that means that we don’t recognize, or enjoy, the ciders made in other regions on the Bay of Biscay, where we are always made to feel at home.
Though we have to admit that of all the articles we’ve written on cider, there are two we’re especially fond of. In one, a cider maker from the Northern Basque Country clearly stated to the visiting journalist: “No. Not Spain, It’s Basque”. The other is from our admired New York Times, which recommended Basque ciders for Thanksgiving dinner.
This article is going to join our own personal collection of great articles about Basque cider and the list of articles this magazine has dedicated to the Basques.
Conde Nast Traveler – 16/2/2018 – USA
On the Cider Trail in Spain’s Basque Country
t’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.