We received another one of those invitations you cannot refuse from our mate Idoia to join her & friends on a visit to a Basque sidrería. The early part of the New Year is cider season round these parts where the sidrerías open their doors for a traditional Basque repast and a tasting of their new ciders from barrel prior to a Spring bottling.
Despite a wee bit of a language communication hiccup (we showed up @ 8AM for the taxi, not 8PM as ordered), we all piled into the taxi minibus and off we went to the Mina sidrería. The menu for the evening was: cider, bacalao tortilla, cider, then cooked bacalao en salsa (house specialty), cider, then the main event – chuletas de vaca (ribeye steaks) cooked on the grill, cider, then dessert of cheese, quince paste & freshly harvested walnuts and cider.
We feel extremely lucky so far in our time in the Basque Country as we have been welcomed with open arms by many folks and we feel very privileged to experience events like this (and the calçots meal with Gloria & familia) that push us beyond a simple tourist’s view of Spain.
You might think that cider is cider but, just like wine or beer, each area or country and cider maker has a particular take on what cider is or should be. Here in the Basque Country the ciders tend to carry a strong acidic bite or quality – according to semi-cider expert Hound #2 – versus their brethren in England or Australia or New Zealand. I am not a big cider drinker but given the ultra fun circumstances it was not a hard swallow!
And as you can tell from the top photo below, we all had the ‘cider glow’…and full stomachs. Definitely not a pintxo type stroll of a meal but estupendo!