A must-do activity in the Basque Country: Dining in a sagardotegi

When you go to the Basque Country, you cannot miss the cuisine offered by this area. One unique, exciting experience you can discover in the Basque Country is visiting the sagardotegi. It is a cider house where sagardo, apple cider, is both produced and served. The cider master, txotxero, uses a mini hammer to remove the stopper of the kupela, a giant wodden barrel. It is a tradition for someone to yell “Txotx!” when the cider shoots out of the tap and is caught several meters away. The fermented, often aromatized with fresh apple sagardo shoots out of a hole no bigger than a few milimeters into a guest’s glass. Filling your glass full is seen as disrespectful but each guest is welcome to get a small amount at one time in order to enjoy a fresh gulp of sagardo.

Cata-Zapi

The sagardotegi is known as sidrería in Spanish and as cidrerie or chai à cidre in French. In the past, the sagardotegi was where the locals would typically go to buy sagardo and take a meal with them so they wouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.

Nowadays, you will find the most authentic sagardotegis around Donostia that are open from mid-January through April. The most typical menu includes:

Starter: Pintxo of chorizo cooked in sagardo

First Plate: Tortilla de bacalao | Cod fish omelette

Second Plate: Bacalao alla sidreria | fried cod with caramelized peppers and onions

Third Plate: Txuleta | Enormous, thick-cut dry-aged rib steak

about-txuleton

Dessert: Membrillo (quince paste) and crack-your-own walnuts

Here is a video showing how txotxero pour sagardo:

Here is one of a few sagardotegis that open all year round near San Sebastian.

https://www.petritegi.com/en

TXOTX!

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Basque Music– Yesterday and Today

Music is very important in Basque culture. Singing is especially valuable to the Basque people. Traditional songs have been passed down for centuries. Singing is so integral in Basque culture that, during many holidays and celebrations, people will walk through the towns singing with friends and family.

In addition to singing, Basque culture utilizes many instruments that we do not see in American music. For instance, the txalaparta is a xylophone-like instrument intended for two players. This instrument was originally used for funerals and celebrations, but has become more common in general music, including street performances. The alboka is a wind instrument traditionally made from animal horn, which allows the performer to play two notes at once by using complex circular breathing techniques. Other instruments have stemmed from European influence. The trikiti, for example, is a variation on the French accordion.

alboka
An alboka

Though many Basque artists uphold the more traditional roots of their ancestors, others have evolved due to outside influence. The band Gatibu is one example of a band that has shifted toward a less traditional style. Their rock music features electric guitar, bass guitar, and a drum kit, like most American rock music. Plenty of other Basque artists reflect the more “Westernized” movements of pop and rock, but this in no way diminishes the Basque tradition of a love for singing and music.

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Korrika

One of the many ways that Basques preserve their language and raise money is through the Korrika, a relay-type running event. It occurs every two years and typically lasts about 10 days. The event raises funds for AEK, an organization for Basque language education.

Throughout the Franco dictatorship, the Basque language was oppressed and declined significantly. There were many “secret” efforts to keep the language alive, which was the source of the AEK. Following the end of the dictatorship, the AEK began developing the Korrika, which remains one of the largest language-support demonstrations in the world today. The first Korrika was held in November and December of 1980, beginning in Oñati and ending in Bilbao.

In terms of fundraising, each kilometer of the race is sold to a specific individual or organization. This individual or organization is the “race leader” for their kilometer and relays the original wooden baton, along with the Basque Ikurriña. The participants behind the race leader carry a banner with a slogan that changes with every race. The race course also changes each time, which generally goes through historical Basque sites.

The Korrika has been an inspiration for similar events in other countries, such as in Ireland where they seek to preserve Gaelic.

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Euskal pilota

Euskal Herriak kirol nazionala du: pilota!

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Basque pelota (pelota vasca in Spanish, pelote basque in French) is a hand and court sport very popular in Basque Country, originating in the thirteenth century. The game’s origins can be traced back to ancient cultures, particularly the Greeks.

The sport is played using a ball, a racket, and a wooden bat, all of which are used in accordance against two walls. The game is usually played in a two-walled court (pilotaleku), where team members face each other and are separated by a line. Team members can be single or doubles. A team serves the ball toward the playing area of  the first, front wall where it has to rebound between to lines on the wall that mark the ‘low-off area’ and the ‘high-off area.’ Pelota is a notoriously fast-paced game (the ball can travel as fast as 200 kilometers per hour at times). A team can score a point by purposely rebounding the ball or hitting the ball below the low line and above the high line.

Here are some pilota vocabulary words:

  • Jo! game is on!
  • Ba!: game is on!
  • Falta: foul
  • Errebote: rebound on rear wall
  • Ados: tie/draw

 

(Fun fact: jai alai, a varation of pelota, was featured on the American drama series Mad Men. Hona hemen bideo klip batzuk: ingelesez eta espainieraz.)

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Saint Agatha

 

Ageda zaindaria da Euskal Herrian. Bera urte berrehun berrogeita hamaika hil da. Ikasleak ez joan dira eskolan. Haiek abestu dute ordez. Haiek joan dira etxeak.

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Photo from https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/8446253431

Saint Agatha is the patron saint of the Basque Country. She was a virgin martyr, and for that reason, her holy day is considered a special day for women. For that reason, men’s choirs sing in honor of women.

Children also participate in the festivities. For months, they practice singing at school, much like some schools in America practice for Christmas singing performances. The children also practice using sticks known as makilas, which ad dan element of percussion to the music. They have the day off school, and walk from house to house (led by their teachers) to sing at every home.

Since music and singing are central to the Basque culture, many people are involved in choirs, and the best choirs perform at church, during the masses dedicated to Saint Agatha.  The feast day is technically on February 5th, but because Saint Agatha is so important to the Basque people, they also celebrate for a few days before and after that day. Some people also participate in a procession of pilgrims to her shrine.

Saint Agatha is the patron saint of the Basque Country. She was a virgin martyr, and for that reason, her holy day is considered a special day for women. For that reason, men’s choirs sing in honor of women.

Children also participate in the festivities. For months, they practice singing at school, much like some schools in America practice for Christmas singing performances. The children also practice using sticks known as makilas, which ad dan element of percussion to the music. They have the day off school, and walk from house to house (led by their teachers) to sing at every home.

Since music and singing are central to the Basque culture, many people are involved in choirs, and the best choirs perform at church, during the masses dedicated to Saint Agatha.  The feast day is technically on February 5th, but because Saint Agatha is so important to the Basque people, they also celebrate for a few days before and after that day. Some people also participate in a procession of pilgrims to her shrine.

-Marisa

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Joseba Sarrionandia

Joseba Sarrionandia euskal idazlea bat da. Bere poemak ezaguna dira eta liburuak. 1958an Iurretan jaio zen. Bere unibertsitate urteotan euskal egunkariak Zeruko Argia, Anaitasuna, Jakin, eta Oh Euzkadi idatzi ziren. 1977an, hemeretzi urte zituen, Pott Banda idazleekin hasi zuen. Bilbon Pott Banda abangoardiako idazleak talde bat zen. Bernardo Atxaga, Manu Ertzilla, Jon Juarista, Ruper Ordorika eta Sarrionandia lehenengo kideak ziren. Bere lehen liburuak izena “Izuen gordelkuetan barrena” da. 1980an ETAk sartu zuen eta Espainiako polizia atxilotu zion. 1980 eta 1985 artean zazpi  aldiz gehiago atxilotu izan zen. Jarria espetxetik idatzi zuen. 1985eko San Fermin egunean kartzelatik ihes zuen. 1985 eta 1990 artean euskal herria heroi bat izan zuen.  2011an “Moroak gara behelaino artean” Euskal Literatura Saria irabazi zuen. 2016an Kubara joan zen.

Bere poema ospetsuenan izena “Esklabu erremintaria” da. Hemen jatorrizko eta Wikipedia itzulpena dira:

 

Esklabu erremintaria
Sartaldeko oihanetan gatibaturik
Erromara ekarri zinduten, esklabua,
erremintari ofizioa eman zizuten
eta kateak egiten dituzu.
Labetik ateratzen duzun burdin goria
nahieran molda zenezake,
ezpatak egin ditzakezu
zure herritarrek kateak hauts deitzaten,
baina zuk, esklabu horrek,
kateak egiten dituzu, kate gehiago.

 

The blacksmith slave
Captive in the rainforests of the West
they brought you to Rome, slave,
they gave you the blacksmith work
and you make chains.
The red iron that you carry out the oven
can be adapted as you want,
you can make swords
in order that your people could break the chains,
but you, this slave,
you make chains, more chains.

download

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Zaldiak!

Lau motak zaldiak indigena euskaldun dira. Gutziak lau motak galzoriko dira. Haiek arranzak oso garai bateko dira. Haien izenak Aurizko zaldia (argazki 1), Nafarroako zaldiko (argazki 2), Pottoka (argazki 3), eta Euskal Herriko Mendiko Zaldia (argazki 4) dira.

Aurizko zaldia  okela  arraza da. Bere izenak herri Auritz lortzen da.

Nafarroako zaldiko baita okela arranza da. Zaldiak txiki dira. 2011en, bakarra  899 dira.

Pottokak mendian bizi dira. Haiek handi buru eta txiki gorputz dituzte. Haien ilajek neguen  10 zentimetro luzera dira!

Euskal Herriko Mendiko Zaldia ganadu arraza da. 2013en, bakarra 4556 dira. Jende hauek zaldiekin lehiatzen dituzte gertaerak desberdinen, bezalako jauzi egin.

220px-Auritzeko_zaldia_arra220px-Nafar_behoka_zaldia1220px-Pootok_arra_OrbelaunenBasque_Mountain_Horse_6374691

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