Sociedad Gastronómica: Gaztelubide

As a treat from Mugaritz, the entire team was invited to a Sociedad Gastronómica (aka. Txoko) called Gaztelubide with our head chef Andoni Luis Aduriz.

 

In Basque country, notably in San Sebastián, you will find random Txoko among pintxo bars. A Txoko s a typically Basque type of closed gastronomical society. Traditionally they are only open to male members who come together to cook, experiment with new ways of cooking, eat and socialize. This type of society is only past down by blood line, between the men of the family. They are very popular institutions, the town of Gernika, Spain, for example, has approximately 15,000 inhabitants and nine txokos with some 700 members in total. 

Txoko, a diminuitive form of zoko, literally means nook, cosy corner in Basque. In some regions, the variant xoko is used. In Spanish they are called sociedades gastronómicas, in French sociétés gastronomiques. The first record of a txoko goes back to 1870 in San Sebastián, Spain, from where they have spread outwards geographically in all directions. They are a modern development of originally informal groups of friends who would regularly meet to eat, drink, sing and talk. During the Franco years, txokos became increasingly popular as they were one of the few places where Basques could legally meet without state control, speak Basque and sing Basque songs as the constitution of the txokos prohibited the discussion of politics on the premises.

Only the men of the Mugaritz team were able to go inside the kitchen and we got a real treat from tasting traditional Basque cuisine. 

Fresh salsicho
Fried sardines
Fresh olives
Tuna salad with onions and vinaigrette
Hake fish
Callos (Beef tripe)
Side dish: potatoes and garlic
Chefs at work
Traditional basque desserts
Fresh (crack yourself) walnuts
Membrillo (quince paste)
Idiazabal cheese
A beautiful time with colleagues on our day off from work. A way to socialize, relax and chat about ‘normal’ things other than cuisine, though it still played a major part of our conversation.
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