‘Txotx 2024’: 12 million liters of a more aromatic and lower-alcohol Basque cider

 

 

The season of Basque cider houses has begun with the traditional ‘txot’ at the Alorrenea cider house in Gipuzkoa and will continue until the end of April or early May this year. During this period, more than 800,000 people are expected to attend. The 2023 harvest has resulted in the production of around 12 million liters of cider, two million more than the previous year, “with slightly lower alcohol content and body, and very aromatic,” according to the ‘Euskal Sagardoa’ Designation of Origin.

 

Organized by the ‘Euskal Sagardoa’ Designation of Origin and ‘Sagardoaren Lurraldea’, this year marks the XXXI edition of ‘Sagardo Berriaren Eguna 2024,’ the event that marks the beginning of the cider season.

The harvest has been “abundant and special” for the designation, with 6 million kilograms of local apples collected to produce 4 million liters under this designation, said its president, Oihana Gaincerain.

A total of 50 cider houses produce cider with the ‘Euskal Sagardoa’ Designation of Origin: two in Álava, three in Bizkaia, and 45 in Gipuzkoa. In total, there are 250 apple producers, covering a total of 500 hectares in production.

The new harvest was presented in Astigarraga (Gipuzkoa) by the mayor of the town, Xabier Urdangarin; the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Policy, Bittor Oroz; the Deputy Minister of Tourism and Trade, Jesús García de Cos; the General Deputy of Gipuzkoa, Eider Mendoza; the Provincial Deputy for Mobility, Tourism, and Territorial Planning, Azahara Domínguez; the president of the ‘Euskal Sagardoa’ Designation of Origin, Oihana Gaincerain; and this year’s ‘txotx’ protagonist, musician Iñigo Etxezarreta.

Lower Production
The apple harvest has been abundant due to the October temperature, resulting in a “slightly lower than expected production, with an early ripening compared to previous years,” as explained by Gaincerain.

Depending on the apple variety used to produce cider, the apple orchard’s location, and each cider house, the ciders to be tasted during this year’s txotx season will have different characteristics. Still, in general, they can be described as ciders with “slightly lower alcohol content and body, and very aromatic.”

The cider industry has highlighted the work carried out by the rural department of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa in favor of local apples in recent years. Since 2016, 123.7 hectares have been planted, and subsidies totaling €2,029,743.09 have been accepted.

In the continuous improvement of product quality, the sector relies on the Quality and Agricultural Innovation Laboratory of Fraisoro, where physical-chemical and sensory analyses are carried out for both ciders and the two quality brands currently on the market, Euskal Sagardoa and Sagardo Gorenak, as well as for ciders not covered by these brands.

 

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