We Basques maintain a very strong bond with our surroundings and, as children, many of us develop a very special connection with the sea or the mountains. Throughout the day, we’ll explain the reasons for this idyll and how it relates to the other great Basque passion: product-based cuisine.
We’ll leave the ‘big city’and travel to rural Gipuzkoa to learn the secrets of Idiazabal cheese production in a traditional farmhouse. A kilo of this cheese usually goes for around 20 euros, although a competition is held every year to select the best cheese of the season, sometimes reaching up to 14,000 euros per ½ kilo! We’ll do a tasting, and you’ll hear the secrets of Basque cheeses. You’ll taste smoked cheeses, young cheeses, and cured cheeses, all made with unpasteurized sheep's milk. This is the Real Thing, the Real Cheese.
White, White wiiiiine!
There’s a Spanish expression that roughly translates as, ‘With bread and wine you walk the road’. We’ve already eaten the bread and cheese. We’ll find the wine on the coast, in the hills overlooking the Cantabrian Sea, the ideal place for growing the grapes from which txakoli is born - a typical Basque white wine with a slight acidity, ideal to pair with fish. We’ll visit a small sustainable winery that uses traditional methods and grapes called Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza. Thus you’ll learn the intricacies and power of txakoli.
All this will take place near Getaria, the coastal town through which we’ll take a short walk before eating. Getaria is not only the home of a mountain with a mouse-shaped profile, but it’s the hometown of two of the most well-known Basques: Juan Sebastián Elcano (the first to go around the world) and Cristóbal Balenciaga (the international designer known as the Prince of Fashion). More: Getaria is famous for its charcoal-grilled fish, omnipresent in the streets closest to the port…so it makes sense to have lunch here. Do you need a more compelling reason? Getaria continues to be one of the most important fishing ports in Gipuzkoa - most of the fish served here is caught just 100 meters (!) from where we are.
It’s a dream road for two reasons: you can take a good nap after lunch and dream of sheep (latxas, of course), but we don’t recommend it. The road back to San Sebastián is one of the most beautiful on the Basque Coast. It would be a pity to miss these winding roads (splashed by waves during heavy storms), or the cows grazing alongside quiet farmhouses on Mount Igeldo. You've been warned.