Cider Houses - San Sebastian area
I've read here and elsewhere about the cider houses in the Basque country and was considering a visit during an upcoming trip to San Sebastian, especially since I love the cider itself. That said, I was looking for thoughts on a few questions:
First, are these houses an actual part of local culture or more tourist "spectacles." I don't want to skip a night of tapas in town to find myself in what is really a theme park attraction.
Second, any specific recommendations among the houses? Something that we could get to from San Sebastain on public transport or via a taxi would be ideal, but I could work things to cover this before returning a rental car.
I haven't been, but I'm hoping to hit a sidreria in April. I they pretty much all close after the last weekend of April.
A friend of mine from the San Sebastian area sent me the below link. It definitely isn't touristy. In fact, one step outside of San Sebastian or Bilbao and the few tourists that you see will be Spanish, or maybe French Basque.
The traditional meal is a tortilla de bacalao (salt cod omelet) and chuleton (Flintstones portion steak), washed down with lots of cider.
The cider season is open until late April/early May. Head to a 'sagardotegi' (cider house) to have a traditional meal washed down with cider: cod omelet, steak, Idiazabal cheese and walnuts.
Definitely not touristy! They are more institutionalized than they used to be (back when they were just a place where sidra was made, you went to try the product before buying, brought your own food, sang a couple songs and went home by 10).
My favorite so far is Astarbe. The food was wonderful, wonderful.
Also recommended came Gurutzeta, outside of traditional Astigarraga, en Ergobia. Tf. 943-552242 A recommendation that came after I asked for the least touristy, least developed, most old-school cider house. Haven't been able to investigate it though.
It's easy to catch the bus from san sebastian....and it's also so close you could get a taxi.