Gastronomic associations, imagination brought to the fore
The culture of food in Euskadi could not be understood without taking into account the phenomenon of the gastronomic associations, without unravelling the secrets held in these so-called txokos, where friendship and culinary freedom come together in the kitchen. In Euskadi, preparing a dish and sitting down at the table to share it in good company is something of a ritual.
They emerged during the mid-19th century. Back then, they were nothing more than places which continued with the legacy of cider houses and taverns as venues for meeting and socialising for ordinary folk, who did not have access to the exclusive casinos and cafés used by the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy.
Their evolution has been closely linked to cooking and friendship, but also to the boost they were given in the postwar era. After years of hardship with food, and the loss of individual freedoms, these private gatherings became venues without limits which expanded throughout the whole of the Basque Country. These gastronomic associations are so deeply entrenched in this region that there is no Basque chef who is not a member of one of them.