With its blend of French and Spanish flavors and abundance of fresh regional produce, Basque cuisine has earned itself a reputation as one of Spain’s top gastronomic destinations over the last few decades. And there are few better places to sample the region’s delicacies than San Sebastian. The Guipúzcoa capital boasts a number of culinary claims to fame—the hometown of top chefs like Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui and Pedro Subijana boasts more than 100 tapas bars in its city center alone and allegedly has more Michelin stars per square-kilometer than any city outside of Paris. So even while tucking into pintxos (miniature tapas) or visiting a traditional cider house are quintessential Basque Country experiences, one of the most unique culinary traditions of San Sebastian is its collection of gastronomic societies, or Txokos.
Dating back to 1843, the city's gastronomic societies were originally men’s only clubs, made up of innovative chefs and passionate foodies who would meet regularly to prepare meals together, share recipes, eat, drink and socialize. Today, the gastronomic societies still form a major part of the city’s culinary scene, and joining one of the legendary meetings is the ultimate way to experience local cuisine.
Take a San Sebastián Gastronomic Society Cooking Class and you’ll uncover the ancient recipes and insider tips that make local dishes like txangurro, spider crab and stewed rabbit so special. With hands-on instruction from an expert Basque chef, you’ll visit the local market to source fresh ingredients, whip up a range of pintxos and pair your creations with fine local wine.