Cooking competition in Getxo

by admin on 04/10/2014

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The Basque are food lovers who love to stay outside and meet friends and relatives, cooking, sharing meals and singing. On a Saturday morning near the harbour in Getxo in an open market with a roof, we went to a cooking competition where groups of men, called txokos, should prepare a piece of cod in the best possible way. The competition was sponsored by various food companies and the prizes looked delicious.

When we entered, the txokos were busily cooking various meals. They start in the morning and the deadline is around 1.30 pm. This meant that several of them hadn’t even begun preparing the cod during our visit. Instead, they were cooking fish, meat, vegetables, sauces, etc. for themselves. Maybe they let their wives cook at home, but here they are doing it willingly. In some txokos, only one man was cooking, while the other ones were eating, drinking, and talking. Anyway, there was a friendly atmosphere and they willingly shared both foods and drinks even though I had never met them. They also willingly shared red wine, but you had to drink it their way. Either you could drink from a goat’s stomach turned into bag, called a bota de vino, or from a bottle with a spout, called a porron. In any case, you should let the wine flow into your mouth without touching anything. The trick was to hold either of the containers above your mouth and let the wine flow freely. If you were drinking from the bota de vino, you also had to pinch it in order to create a flow of wine. Although it looked easy when the locals did it, I found it difficult.

Two press photographers were continuously photographing and locals were coming and going. Obviously, there would be a major reportage on this important event soon after it had finished.

Interestingly, two men had put peppers in water, then they took them out and scraped the pulp from the skin. This is the same as is done at the Lombera de Carranza butcher’s shop, but since they are producing so much, they are using machines instead.

We weren’t present when the judging took place and I have no idea who won, but it was a pleasant experience, which certainly could be done in similar ways almost anywhere.

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