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TXOKOS, haute cuisine members clubs

Txokos offer a gastronomic experience like no other: Imagine eating in a restaurant where every table is filled with people you know.

Some of the best restaurants in La Rioja and the Basque Country are actually by invitation only. Txokos are select food members clubs also known locally as Gastronomic Societies. Each Txoko is founded by family members or friends who create a restaurant-style space with fully-equipped professional kitchens. It is a space used to gather for big get-togethers a la española where the meals last for hours.

Unlike a restaurant, here it is the members who prepare the food, which is often nothing short of a Michelin-star experience: pork chops smoked over vine shoots (chuletillas al sarmiento), olive oil salt cod with garlic and chili peppers (bacalao al pil pil), beef cheeks in red wine (carrilleras al vino tino), with a bottle of Finca Martelo often holding pride of place on many txoko tables.

Txokos can range from the more modern to the more classic in style, but they all have a very similar set-up: a room full of tables, a professional kitchen and a bursting wine cellar.

Beyond the space, the thing that makes them stand out are the little communities that regularly fill them with life. Some of them belong to a single family and others were founded by a group of friends. And, in addition to long lunches and dinners, you will also often come across card tournaments, cooking contests and even concerts. #Martelosophy at it’s purest, what a shame it’s limited to a lucky few.

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