Basque Country, Txakoli and Pintxos

Getariako Txakolina Denomination of Origin
Basque Country, Txakoli and Pintxos
Kerr Street Cafe
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Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides

Cynthia Silversides is an accredited Sommelier certified by both the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS). Passionate about great wine, food, and travel experiences, Cynthia is owner of Niagara Vino providing tutored wine tasting and tour services in the Niagara Peninsula wine region of Ontario, Canada. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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Recently I participated in the Travel with Rick Steves Radio Program 338: Tastes of Italy, Paris, and Basque Country, which aired this month. Although I adore Italy and enjoy Paris, I called in to find out from Steves’ guest tour guides Agustín Ciriza and Francisco Glária, what they drink with the food in the Basque Country of Spain – a place I have not been to yet but would love to explore!

Basque Country Pintxos

Basque Country Pintxos

What I learned is they have a famous white wine by the name of Txakoli (pronounced chock-oh-lee) that they drink with their Pintxos (pronounced peen-chos), the Basque word for tapas which translates to toothpick food. The baby grilled squid, risottos, beef cheeks, and spider crab are highly recommended.

Txakoli is a young white wine made from grapes grown near the sea. Steves’ guests explained that these grapes are exposed to salt from the sea air which makes the finished wine special. They shared with us there is a traditional way of pouring this wine which is somewhat theatrical. You “break” the wine into the glass by holding your glass down low and the wine bottle up high, and when you pour it, it splashes everywhere. This was described as the perfect moment because Txakoli needs oxygen in it. We were also told this wine can be very dangerous because you drink it very cold, and you are very happy when you drink it, so much so that when you stand up from the table you could have a problem!

So there you have it: Basque Country, Txakoli and Pintxos

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