The txotx ritual and "tolare"cider houses
At the end of the 20th century, Basque cider cellars began to offer the "txotx" which consists of tasting cider from different barrels with a traditional cider menu. In the cider houses, season starts in January and ends in mid-May, but some cider houses nowadays open all year round. In this mentioned season we can taste cider "txotx" style, straight from the barrels, and also in bottle, together with a traditional menu: cod omelet, fried cod with peppers and grilled T-bone steak. In all cider houses, tradition says that cider men opens a barrel shouting "txotx", "txurrut" or "mojón". By holding the glass in the right way the clients are able to serve themselves the cider, so that they can obtain the spark and appreciate the color, aroma and taste of the cider. The "txotx" ritual began as a private tasting for wholesale buyers who went to cider houses for tasting the cider and choosing between different barrels. Over time, it was opened to public participation, until it became a winter and spring gastronomic event in the Basque land.
"Tolare sagardotegiak" which means cider cellar, is a badge worn by the cider houses that make natural cider in Gipuzkoa. At the entrance of the cider houses you can see the badge that certifies that the establishment is a natural cider maker.