A pintxo is the name of certain snacks typically eaten in bars, traditional in northern Spain and especially popular in the Basque Country. They are usually eaten in bars or taverns as a small snack while hanging out with friends or relatives; thus, they have a strong socializing component. They are not tapas, the main difference being that pintxos are usually 'spiked' with a skewer or toothpick ( the toothpick is used to keep ingredients from falling off) often to a piece of bread. They are usually eaten as an appetizer accompanied by a small glass of wine (called txikito) or beer, a quarter of a pint)
It is quite usual to find pubs that offer these specialties all around the Basque Country, but they normally are just “pintxo bars”, nothing to see with a restaurant where you can book a table, sit down and wait to be served. Our concept is just: “help yourself and do not go without saying how many delicious pintxos you have eaten for us to charge you before you leave our pub. We trust you”. It is part of our culture, we have always trusted each other.
Some of the places we will be visiting on this tour have more than a century of history with the city of Bilbao: Republics and monarchies, the birth and the growth of nationalism, the Civil War (during which the bar was seized), Francoism, transition, the Great Flooding, financial crisis, the restructuring of the city, the tourism….
They have been always been a place for social gatherings, such as Literature Circles, in which some of the greatest Basque intellectuals used to frequent these taverns. They are considered as a cultural hub for the city of Bilbao, and they are actively involved in cultural events such as lectures, poetry readings, dramatized readings, theatre and live music.
On the other hand, we will also visit some newer places that offer avant-garde pintxos. These places offer a wide selection of snacks that vary daily. You’ll find innovative versions of traditional snacks such as bread stuffed with Iberian cured ham and Cantabrian Tuna combined with local products, to author’s snacks innovated by our Chef.