RSS Feed The Best of Basque Cuisine: Pintxos

Txistorra and Cider One of the many highlights of our Basque Food and Wine Tour, are the two pintxos tours that we do in Bilbao and San Sebastian.

Pintxos can be seen as a kind of Basque tapas; however, such a title does not come close to describing the exotic nature of some of the creations.

What are Pintxos?

Pintxos are a bar snack, usually with a chunk of bread as a base, topped with various ingredients. The toppings range from simple products, such as ham and cheese, to sophisticated combinations of seafood or vegetables.

They are usually held together by a tooth pick, and are lined up on the bar. The cost of pintxos varies, but they usually range from between €1.50 to €3.

How to Eat Pintxos

Selection of Pintxos Pintxos can be eaten straight from the bar, or, more commonly, you can ask for a plate from behind the bar to eat them more leisurely.

The Basques usually eat them standing up and with a glass of txakoli (Basque white wine), red wine or beer.

In some bars you must leave the cocktail sticks from the pintxos on your plate, and when you are finished the barman will count the number and add it to your bill accordingly. In other bars, you just show the barman which pintxo you are taking and he will make a note of it.

Where to Eat Pintxos?

Selection of Pintxos Without doubt, the best city in Spain (and probably the world) to eat pintxos is San Sebastian.

This stylish city has over 200 bars, many with their own unique designs. The Gros area has a lot of such bars, however, our favourites are on the other side of the river in the area around Calle de Fermin Calbetón.

Other towns and cities in the Basque region, including Bilbao also pinchos which are well worth trying.

Five Pintxos to Try

Bacalao (cod)

Bacalo Pintxo, San Sebastian Cod is abundant in Basque cuisine, and the Basques have perfected the art of cooking it. One of our favourite pintxos consists of a thick slab of cod combined with red peppers and a slice of sheep cheese.

Salmón y Morcilla

This unlikely combination of salmon with Morcilla (similar to a Spanish black pudding) produces a fantastic pintxo. The depth of flavour is complimented perfectly by red wine.

Queso de Cabra con cebolla

Goats Cheese and Onion Pintxo, San Sebastian This relatively simple combination of goats cheese and caramlised onions is a must try. The sweetness of the onion goes really well with the depth of flavour provided by the goats cheese.

Boquerones con Gulas

These pintxos, consisting of freshly pickled anchovies and baby eels, provide a good amount of protein after a hard day cycling. More importantly, they taste great.

Mancego con Chorizo

Two staples of Spanish tapas come together to form a fine pintxo. How good this pintxo tastes will depend on the ingredients used by the bar. Ideally, the mancego should be slightly chalky with a depth of flavour that makes your jaw ache slightly. The chorizo should have a high meat content and be slightly spicy, without overpowering the cheese.

If you would like to join us for some pintxos in our favourite bars, book on our cycling holiday to the Basque region. The tour samples the excellent food and wine in the Basque country; combining eating with exploring the stunning scenery of the region. Please contact us if you would like any further information.