Getaria: A small town filled with a lot of culture

March 23, 2013
By
Alpine Living

Alpine Living

With a constant sea breeze, sweeping ocean views, clear blue skies and warm inviting people, I got much more than I expected on my trip to cover the Basque, costal town of Getaria.

In the tiny fishing village, where only a handful of people speak English, I witnessed breathtaking views of the Cantabrian Sea, I was taught the traditional Getarian process to clean and preserve anchovies, I ate squid ink and enjoyed it, and I learned how the Basque wine, or Txacoli, is made.

Our day started in the port of Getaria, at a tiny gourmet fish shop called Anchovies Maisor.  Michael Bazaes, the store manager who is also in charge of marketing, communication and dealing with important customers, received us in the shop.  He explained to us the traditional Getarian way to preserve and prepare anchovies by hand, and how Anchovies Maisor is keeping those traditional methods alive.  I watched as Jingyu Wan, one of our Alpine Living photographers, took pictures of the process.  We looked on as Maria Jesus Iribar, Maite Ucin, and Silvia Aranguren cleaned, filleted, and bottled the anchovies all by hand.

Alpine Living

Alpine Living

After Bazaes had given both of us a bag full of anchovies, chopped white tuna, and sardines – if we were going to write about his product, we had to know about his product – it was time for lunch.  Our next stop was the restaurant, Giroa Taberna.  I didn’t know anything about the restaurant except that they had agreed to give us an interview.  The chef and owner of the restaurant is Eukene Echegoyen.  She runs the restaurant with a small staff that includes her son.  Before the interview began we were greeted with baked monkfish, pork in mushroom sauce and artichoke stuffed with seafood.  The food was delicious and the company was excellent.  After we finished eating Echegoyen told us how she started the restaurant with a friend in 1995, after working together as waitresses in another restaurant.  One of her waitresses, Mireia, translated for her because she does not speak English.  She then brought out one more dish for us to try.  It was a pinxtos, which is a Basque version of Spanish tapas, called Filipino.  Filipino is a cookie like food with dried squid ink in its center.  I never thought that I would eat squid ink, let alone enjoy it.

We finished our day at a winery that produces txacoli, a type of Basque wine.   We walked up a steep cobblestone hill, where we were met by the owners of the winery. We were given a tour of the facilities, and finished with a tasting of two of their txacolis, Gaintza and Aitako.  Both were excellent, and out of the seven people in our group, four of us bought a bottle.

As we walked back down the hill to get to our car, we could see the red and greed fishing boats pulling out of the harbor to continue the fishing traditions of the village.