Viewing posts from the History category

BBC Radio and Txoko – Basque Dining Clubs

Txoko – Cooking Clubs in Basqueland – BBC Radio 4

The Txoko – A truly fantastic programme transmitted by BBC Radio 4 ‘The Food Programme ‘ on Sunday 13 November.

or try this….

This made my day when I heard it earlier, a perfect, well written and researched programme by the BBC none the less on one of the things that I love so much about my Basque Country. A real insight into what a Txoko is, and what happens in them. Some great history and context from some real experts such as Heston Blumenthal (I didnt realise he felt so at home here!!) and the author Mark Kurlansky.

Basque Experiences

Sometimes I wish more of the world knew about what we are like here and what it means to be Basque. Mark Kurlansky makes a couple of good points when he says there is ‘a desire to have their own special way of doing things’ –  ‘they need to be allowed to be who they are’….that is so Basque!!

This goes a little bit of the way, although they didn’t mention the reason why they started. In many cases they were similar to trade guilds seen in the City of London. Centuries ago, men who worked in a similar trade would come together to meet, discuss business in the towns on market days. These men would cook and dine together and more often than not stay the night! So the txoko or dining society was born!!

For me its one of the best plans we can show you here in the Basque Country. If you want to see it in the flesh, well, you know who to get in touch with!! Basque Tour.

  • Private Basque Tours Txoko
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  • Txoko Evenings


Elorrio and it’s magnificent history!!

Coats of Arms of Elorrio, Bizkaia

Elorrio in Biscay is an enchanting small town hidden away in the hills in the east of the province, protected by the Intxorta, Oiz, Anboto and Udalaitz mountains.

Meaning ‘Hawthorn’ in Basque,  Elorrio grew due to its strategic location close to the borders of Gipuzkoa to the east and Alava to the south, and to the hills themselves, which were full of iron ore…. Founded as a town, with all the privileges that entails, in 1356 many of its ‘nobles’ were closely involved with the King and the House of Austria, whose ‘Office of Indian Affairs’ was based in Seville.

The trade in arms, and iron to the Americas via Seville, created great wealth for many of the towns folk, who constructed great palaces on their family lands in the town. Many of these noble families erected Coats of Arms on these beautiful Baroque palaces and mansions, indeed today there are 20 palaces and 68 coats of arms, the highest number in all the Basque Country. Here is just a small selection…

  • Elorrio
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In addition to the fantastic collection of 16th and 17th Century Palaces, there are many other historic monuments which stand as testament to this golden age for the town. One can find the largest temple in the Biscay, the Basilica de la Purísima Concepción sat alongside the palaces, town walls, convents, houses and crosses of this magnificent ‘villa’.

More ancient history is also represented here, at just one mile away we can find the Chapel of San Adrián, where the ancient Necropolis of Argiñeta is the resting place for 21 sarcophagus, some of which date to pre-christian times in the 9th Century….

A charming town, full of history, atmosphere, stories, legends and a stone’s throw from Bilbao. A great place for a day-trip perhaps combined with a hike in the Urkiola Park….. Get those boots on and join us!!