The Best of Basque

The Magic of Txokos in Basque Cuisine

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Txokos are one of the most genuine expressions of Basque culture. These gastronomic corners are the scene of social gatherings that go beyond the simple tasting of food: they are temples of friendship, tradition and culinary pleasure. W will explore the essence of txokos, their history, their social relevance and how this tradition has been maintained and adapted to modern times.

History and Evolution of Txokos

The concept of the txoko dates back to the late 19th century in the Basque Country, Navarre and La Rioja.Initially born as clandestine associations during the era of industrialization, they offered a private space for men to meet and find respite from the harsh reality of work.Over time, this concept evolved into gastronomic societies where cooking and shared meals became the main protagonists.

Txokos were and are places where the rich Basque gastronomy is preserved and promoted, a meeting point to perfect culinary techniques and experiment with new flavors, always in good company.

Txokos as the Heart of Basque Society

In Basque societies, txokos represent much more than places to eat. They are centers of social cohesion where bonds are strengthened, events are celebrated and a sense of belonging to a community is fostered.The members of a txoko are usually friends or acquaintances who share a common interest in Basque cuisine and culture. In these spaces, hierarchy and social differences are set aside, with camaraderie and mutual respect prevailing.

Participate in the Txoko Tradition

To participate in a txoko is to immerse yourself in a unique experience. Although they have traditionally been exclusive to their members, some txokos have begun to open their doors to the general public or offer special events for non-members.In a txoko, each person has a role, from buying the ingredients to preparing the dishes and cleaning up afterwards.It is an act of community where everyone contributes to the success of the gathering.

Tips for visiting a Txoko

  • Book in advance: Especially if you plan to visit on weekends or holidays, when demand can be high.
  • Prepare your menu: Some txokos allow you to bring your food to prepare it there, while others may offer a set menu or catering services.
  • Respect traditions: Txokos are more than just places to eat; they are spaces where Basque culture is celebrated. Actively participate and respect their traditions.
  • Enjoy the whole experience: From the preparation of the meal to the after-dinner conversation, living the txoko experience means enjoying every moment.

Famous Txokos in Bilbao

  • Txoko Bilanda: It is described as a magical space with an evocative ‘British’ air, located in Campo de Volantín. It offers a careful selection of the best local products and is decorated with images that evoke the Cantabrian forests.
  • Txoko el Botxo: It is a leisure center adapted to all needs, where you can celebrate from lunches and dinners to business meetings. It has an equipped kitchen, dining room, counter bar area and adapted bathrooms.
  • La Isla de Quokka: Perfect for any type of celebration, from birthdays to workshops and trainings. It offers a children’s playground with ball pool, PlayStation 4, table soccer, and a full kitchen. It’s a space designed for fun for everyone
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Txokos are a manifestation of the love of Basque Cuisine

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Modern Txokos and their Cultural Adaptation

 As society changes, txokos have also adapted. Nowadays, you can find txokos that allow women and children to enter, breaking with the tradition of being exclusively masculine spaces.In addition, they have been modernized in terms of equipment and facilities, but without losing that spirit of collaboration and love for home cooking. Txokos are not limited to the Basque Country. In places like Barcelona, with the Euskalzaleak society, or in Txoko Barakaldo, the tradition is kept alive, demonstrating the universality of this concept.

Txokos are a manifestation of the love of cooking and community that defines Basque culture. Through their food, their people and their tradition, txokos remain a place where magic happens and where every encounter is an opportunity to celebrate life and friendship.

Author Profile

Irene was born and raised in Bilbao. She has a deep rooted passion for her country and culture. She has a Bachelors degree in education and has traveled to over 85 countries throughout the world.
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Author Profile

Zachary was born in Michigan, USA. He has lived in the Basque Country for over 10 years, and fell in love with the natural beauty and quality of life found here. He earned a Bachelors degree in economics from DePaul University in Chicago.