Pinchos (or pintxos) are like Spanish tapas, but better. The Basque Country is the best place in the Iberian penninsula to eat and pinchos take tapas to another level. There is healthy rivalry between places to put out the best pinchos on the bar and no more so than when there is a competition, as there has been this week in Hondarribia.
We failed (twice) to find the competition pincho (appropriately labelled “Delicacies of the Clown”) from Danonzat and Enbata was all out at the end of the Medieval Festival weekend. But Bar Larra had a fantastic duck in puff pastry pincho and Sardara’s “Egaluze” was lovely, even if we couldn’t identify everything in it (there was salt cod, we are pretty sure). But, the best pincho by far was from Bar Ondarribi. “Hornazo de Rabo” came under a glass filled with smoke. That was then used for beer, which was matched perfectly with the pincho. As befitting something medieval, you had to eat it with your fingers and it was truly “para chuparse los dedos”, or “finger-licking good”.
More on pinchos from A Basque Diary – Living in Hondarribia, which is available, in print and as an ebook, from Amazon:
Pinchos (Pintxos in Basque) – The Basque Tapas
Tapas are a feature of bars everywhere in Spain. In some places (like Leon, and Granada), tapas come free with your drinks. Often (though not always) the drinks are more expensive to cover the cost of the tapas. In the Basque Country, you don’t get a free pincho, but you do get a choice and the choice is incredible.
Pinchos on the bar are usually very good value, between 1.50 and 2.50 euros. They range from the “Gilda” (spicy pickled guindilla peppers with olives and a marinated anchovy) to pulpo (octopus) with smoked salmon and caramelised onions.
You usually pay more for pinchos that are cooked to order, but these can be good value too, as you often get something more substantial than a morsel of food on top of a piece of bread. The bar, Ardoka does things like fried artichokes with jamón, or entrecôte with green peppers.
You can read more about Basque culture, food and places by checking out
A Basque Diary – Living in Hondarribia.