Eating Locally in the Cider Houses in the Basque Country of Spain
In the little-touristed hills around Hernani, Spain, not far from San Sebastian—the coastal capital of the Basque Country—cider is the drink of choice. On a continent famous for its vineyards, here the lands are green with organic orchards and the trees heavy with apples. In their midst are 50-plus sagardotegiak (cider houses). Many, like the popular Zelaia, have attached (seasonal) restaurants. A very hardy homemade meal traditionally involves salt-cod omelet, grilled meat, sheep’s-milk cheese with apple jelly and, of course, cider. This nectar is different from supermarket swill—slightly bitter, lightly carbonated, and low in alcohol. Don’t try serving it until you’ve seen a local do it; it’s best when naturally aerated by pouring it from high above the glass.