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There are many questions about the origin of apples and cider in the Basque Country. Since the first mention of the Basque apple trees dates back to 1024, what is clear is that they were a key element for centuries. There are several theories, but it is believed that these may have been introduced from Africa or thanks to migratory birds.
Much of our culture is linked to cider. It was a common drink among the Basques, especially sailors who used it as a medicine to prevent diseases like scurvy. The cellars were full of barrels of this highly prized medicine, as each crew member consumed an average of three liters of cider a day. The wine villages were expanded throughout the territory to be able to supply the entire population.
The cider production process starts in late September or early October and is carried out in five stages:
Apples are picked one by one with a special instrument called kizkia, and today there are about 14 types of apples in the Basque Country.
With the arrival of corn and its production in the Basque Country, cider production declined. Likewise, fewer and fewer fishing boats were sailing, reducing cider consumption. In this way, cider production and preparation have become a secondary job, especially in Gipuzkoa, the province where the most popular cider houses are located.
The cider season usually runs from January to April and, in addition to tasting cider directly in the barrel, it is possible to enjoy traditional menus consisting of cod tortilla, ribeye and Idiazabal cheese.
For more information about the Territory of Cider, you can consult the Sagardomapa.
Nowadays, cider continues to be fundamental in our culture, gastronomy, and way of living. This is demonstrated through events as important as the Sagardo Forum, one of the most relevant celebrations related to cider. It will be held from November 18th to 21st, 2021, under the motto Cider and nature, connecting territories, and will be the IV Edition. Over these four days, the following will be celebrated:
Every second year, the Sagardo Forum brings together the most relevant professionals from diverse disciplines related to cider. Without a doubt, it is an excellent opportunity to share and grasp from other experiences and business trajectories. A perfect space to analyse the current situation, as well as see forthcoming trends and opportunities.
Other activities related to cider
If cider culture fascinates you, hither are some ideas for making the most of it:
As you can see, there are many ways to get to know the cider culture in a practical way: producing it, tasting it, and even walking in the steps of the first Basque producers. Which one do you dare?
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La excelencia de los productos y el buen hacer de nuestros cocineros son señas de identidad de Euskadi. Para potenciar esta forma de entender la gastronomía hemos creado Euskadi Gastronomika, una red formada por restaurantes, bares, tiendas y otros establecimientos gastronómicos que cumplen una serie de criterios de exigencia y compromiso.
¡Si buscas calidad, busca el sello de Euskadi Gastronomika!