The streets of the oldest part of cities like San Sebastian and Bilbao are lined with bars filled with pintxo bars, small finger and bite size mini dishes. This old tradition has evolved to become a mix of mini haute cuisine experiments and traditional cuisine, some even seeking a local specialization in a genre e.g. mushrooms, foie (liver) or anchovies. So it was a joy when our go Basquing host accompanied us on this outing. Before leaving the hotel, he taught us a few tricks so we won’t look too much as tourists:
– Choose the pintxo or pintxos you like directly with your hand. To accompany, you can order a glass of wine or mini-beer called zurito.
– Hot pintxos are normally not on display; they are listed on a board and vary depending on the season.
– Go out for pintxos is a Basque tradition based on trust. Take the pintxos you want without paying and when you’re done, once you are ready to leave and pay, tell the person who has treated you what you’ve taken.
Following the advice of our guide and we joined the locals as one of them. That’s how I met Gaizka who show me a wineskin, a liquid receptacle made with pork belly where you can carry wine inside the soccer stadium (glass is not allowed). I do not like soccer, but I just could not go home without following the advice of a good friend!
go Basquing & friends