15 January was the XXVII Sagardo Berriaren Eguna 2020, kicking off this year’s txotx season.

It is a symbolic act with a well-known figure from Euskadi, this year Izaro (a singer from Biscay), who plants a tree in the Sagardoetxea apple grove and then opens the first kupela with the new harvest, shouting “Gure Sagardo Berria”. This officially inaugurates the new season of txotx, which lasts through May, although today many cider houses are open all year long.

The word txotx refers to the act of opening the tap on the kupela to let the cider out. It was already in use more than 100 years ago, although then it was a less popular, more commercial event. Cider-makers offered their future clients a taste or probaketa of their cider straight from the barrel, drilling a hole right into the bottom. After they were done tasting, they plugged the hole with a wooden stick, in Basque a zipotza or zotza. This is where they word txotx comes from, which is now used at cider houses to let diners know they are going to open one of the kupelas.

To accompany the tasting of this refreshing drink, cider houses serve a menu of cod omelette, fried cod with green peppers, chargrilled txuleton steak and, to finish off, cheese with quince jelly and walnuts. However, now in addition to this traditional menu, others have been added, like the ones that are gluten-free, for vegetarians, vegans, etc. This way, the experience adapts to all diners.

If you’d like to visit a cider house and experience txotx first-hand, you can find more information here:

http://www.sagardoarenlurraldea.eus/es/sidrerias/reservar-sidreria/

https://www.sagardoa.eus/