The Basque people are true meat lovers who, for hundreds of years, have enjoyed the ritual of gathering around a grill and a fantastic, red meat txuleton. That is why they celebrate the cooking of such an exceptional animal, and of course, pay it homage every year.

As the wonderful autumn season unfolds, with it comes the Basque Txuleton Season at Sagardi, The Basque Countries annual celebration of this beloved and culturally important meat.

There are three weeks of gastronomic festival around the Basque Txuleton, the Basque grill and the classic Tolosaldea Menu, with the hand peeled and wood roasted Piquillo Peppers and of course, the simple, yet incredible black beans from Tolosa.

THE MEAT

Its marbled, streaky meat is covered with a natural layer of fat with aromas of grass and fresh wheat. Strong and clean on the palate, this meat is reminiscent of the flavours of the old grill houses in the Basque mountains.

THE ORIGINS

We don’t know exactly since when Txuletones have been eaten in the Basque Country, we do however know that since the XVIII century it has been a gastronomic and festive event in certain rural areas of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa.

Bovine animals, both male and female, had a very clear role in the economy of the homestead: females would dedicate their lives to giving birth and producing milk, as to the males, one was always designated to mount the cows, and another couple of them would be used for the many and very heavy labours of the homestead, the land and the mountain. 

All of these animals were the greatest treasure and main source of sustenance of the extended families at the homestead. They were treated much like any other member of the family, they each had a name, quirks well known by everyone at home, and they were fed and loved just like anyone else.

The difference in Euskadi was that, when these animals reached old age and their productivity started to wane or completely come to an end, they were still kept in the very same conditions, sometimes for over a year. During this period, without any kind of exploitation or activity, the animals would digest and accumulate all the nutrients in their bodies, thus gaining weight and having all the natural fats from homemade food infiltrate their muscles.

At the end of this period, the animal was killed. All of its parts were used as the main ingredient of a myriad of recipes that are now fundamental to Basque cuisine. The loins, the highest valued cut, were shared in communal parties where they would be grilled on large grills and enjoyed as a community.

To this day there is no knowledge of any other race that would turn caring, preparing, grilling and sharing the old and fat cow into a social and gastronomic value.

TOLOSALDEA MENU

Named after the small city where the famous Tolosa black bean is grown, the Tolosaldea menu also showcases the renowned Basque Txuleton matured beef.

NEW BEANS FROM TOLOSA

This tiny bean, which is shiny and totally black with a white spot, originally comes from the region of Tolosaldea and is the other featured part of this menu. It is grown on the slopes of these mountains 600 meters high and above, with a farming model that is closely tied to that of corn. The farm from which they come, Goikoetxe in Hernialde, plants, cares for, harvests and shucks the black pearl of Tolosa in order to bring it exclusively to the tables of SAGARDI Basque Country Chefs.

 

Red Piquillo Peppers

Another great hero of these Days is fresh piquillo peppers from the fields of Tudela. We roast them over a wood fire and peel them by hand, one by one. A true Basque delicacy and perfect with our traditional Basque txuleton.

MOUNTAIN CHEESE

And we end with a wonderful mountain cheese crafted with raw Latxa free-range sheep’s milk which has been aged one year. This cheese comes directly from two Basque shepherds, Jon and Martina, who care for and keep watch over their sheep in Mount Aralar at an altitude of more than 1,200 meters.

The only thing left to say is, “on egin”, enjoy your meal!

The restaurants:

Sagardi Bcn Gòtic

Sagardi Bcn Centre

Sagardi Valencia Centro

Sagardi Paterna

• Sagardi Castellana

Sagardi en Euskal Etxea

Sagardi London

Irati Taverna Basca

1881 per Sagardi

Café Montesol by Sagardi

VINUM Restaurant & Wine Bar