Cider World


There are no known data for determining the origin of the apple and cider in the Basque Country. However, it is true that cider has been one of the most usual drinks in Basque farmhouses for centuries. There are several theories on the introduction of the apple in our territory. Some point towards it being introduced from Africa. A more wide spread idea is that it was the Arabs who brought the apple for the first time, others think that it is the result of the migration of birds transporting apple pips from far off Eastern lands and some say that the Basques learnt the art of producing cider from the Romans. However, some people say that the apple appears in the Basque territory spontaneously. Therefore, there are several and very different theories on the origin of the apple, and so, on cider production in our country. To demonstrate this, here are a few examples to get an idea of the origin and age of this tree in our territory

The Tolar

"Tolare sagardotegiak" that means cider-press, is a distinct that ciderhouses, which made their cider out of natural cider from Gipuzkoa, have. At the entrance of the ciderhouse this distinct can be seen and it certifies that this house is a natural cider producer.


In the "tolare sagardotegiak", season starts in January and ends in mid-May, but some cider houses nowadays open all year round. This mentioned season we can taste cider "txotx" style, straight from the barrels, and also in bottle, together with a traditional menu: cod omelette, fried cod with peppers and grilled T-bone steak. In all "tolare" cider houses, tradition says that "sagardogile" opens a "kupela" shouting "txotx", "txurrut" or "mojón". By holding the glass in the right way the commensals 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.


The future of cider will be guaranteed by three important pillars: the quality of the raw material, the product and the production process. The quality of the raw material will signify looking for the best for the product, which will imply promoting the native apple.

As regards product quality, the quality of the product, the presentation and packaging, etc. must be looked for.

Finally, the quality of the production processes must be stressed, putting special emphasis on hygiene, the control of conditions such as the temperature, microbiological analysis, etc., monitoring and measuring the process and the adaptation of the product to the criteria marked by the clients.
The sector is also searching for new products as sparkling ciders, juices, vinegar and sagardoz among others, with the purpose of diversifying and offering different products to customers.


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