Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pintxos ... or Pinchos

It's possible that many people know what Tapas are: Spanish aperitifs to say it in very simple words.
Pintxos (Pinchos in Spanish) are the Tapas from the Basque Country, more sophisticated than they've ever mainly due to the drastic evolution of the Basque cuisine
Nowadays a Pintxo isn't usually pierced (pinchado) with a wooden stick as it was in its early days. It is often a small masterpiece of haute cuisine, elaborated with all the modern cooking techniques and served with fork and knife and bread on the side. They are something like the different servings of a Tasting Menu at any high end restaurant. There are also dessert-pintxos therefore you can really have a full course meal.
Pintxos are typically enjoyed while drinking a glass of wine, like an excellent local white wine called Txakoli, or a cold beer. There is an entire world of Basque culture in a Pintxo and its surrounding atmosphere, just try it and see. 
There is also a lot of literature on the subject. When wanting to buy a book, this makes it hard to choose only one. 
San Sebastian, being the core of this subject, is crowded with places to get your Pintxos. While yo can find them in all neighborhoods, like Gros for example that has several of the important places for Pintxos, El Casco Viejo, the city's oldest area, is the premier part of town to find a place for good Pintxos. There are so many places and restaurants, they are really one next to eachother; they are just all over the place.  
I‘ve chosen for this post one spot where I feel the Pintxos are excellent, particularly the hot ones because of their originality. It's a small Taberna called Astelena and has a great location in Plaza de la Constitución. I hope you enjoy the pictures and, in case you get too hungry while watching, just make yourself a Pintxo!... and enjoy.

Books on Pintxos
Astelena's counter

Astelena's blackboard menu 1

Astelena's blackboard menu 2

Glas of Txakoli Wine and Brocheta de Gambas 

Bacalao encebollado

Revuelto de Hongos

Revuelto de Hongos mientras uno se lo come

Foie de Pato

Croqueta de Pistachos

Brownies con Helado

Cheesecake Vasca con frutas rojas


  1. I didn't know the pintxos and now I can not wait to try them! By your words and photos I can almost feel the typical amazing Spanish atmosphere...I guess we could call it "Tasting traveler effect" : D

    1. ups, sorry for the late reply...
      I hadn't seen your comment, Gaia!
      I always find new things on how to manage the blog
      I'm glad you are having a tasing traveller effect, that's the purpose of it all, isn't it?
      and you are well part of it for having been my blog teacher. Thank you.

  2. pmchops deliziosi, soprattutto quelli al baccalà, slurp

    1. ups, sorry for the late reply...
      I hadn't seen your comment, Paola!
      I always find new things I didn't know regarding how to handle the blog

      you and Emilio should come and have a slurp try yourself, just a couple of days.... please....

  3. I remember going from one bar to another in San Sebastian tasting these fragments of paradise... mmmmhhh

    1. ups, sorry for the late reply...
      I hadn't seen your comment, Germán!
      I always find new tricks on how to manage this blog

      the first person that told me abou the San Sebastián pintxo issue was you.
      In fact it was exactly as you said, one pintxo place next to the other and everybody eating pintxos, a Basque cultural thing.