Our Txoko continues to grow and mature. Well, except for one dedicated member who went face down on the sofa after a Herculean intake of wine and beer.
More’s the pity. After 4 straight nights of burning the candle at both ends it was bound to happen. Complete dissolution has not arrived just yet but it is peeking at me over the horizon. As our dedicated readers know, a Txoko is a Basque tradition wherein men of all walks of life gather together to cook, drink and socialize at a common gathering place. In Basque-land this would be a clubhouse that is strictly devoted to the Txoko. In Austin, Texas, where we have formed the only Basque gastronomic society in the state, it’s at one of our two Basque member’s homes.
The centerpiece of Txoko number 7 was a twenty four month old country ham sourced from one of the premiere artisan pork outfits in the USA; Benton’s out of Madisonville, Tennessee. Chefs in the know around our country utilize Alan Benton’s bacon, ham and prosciutto when they want to take their menu to the upper planes of dining. There may be others as good but there are none better.
I picked up a fourteen month old, fifteen pound ham back in January and ruminated for the last ten months on who I would share it with. Then a Txoko was proposed by our society leader and it became a no-brainer. There are no more ardent lovers of food in Austin than our group and I knew this ham would be most appreciated.
But we did not just dine on ham at this gathering. Here’s our menu along with wine pairing for the winos amongst us.
Arrival, as in where the heavy drinking commences:
Isastegi Sagardo Cider 2010, Liefmans Goudenband
Then it’s time to start eating:
*Figs with Goat Cheese & Preservation Bacon Appetizers: Perdrier Brut Excellence Blanc des Blancs NV, Cresta Rosa Premium Sparkling Rose.
*Deviled Eggs Appetizers: Verdillac Blanc Bordeaux 2010, Uma Chardonnay 09
*Scratch biscuits: Emerald Bay White Zinfandel 08, Strong Arms Shiraz 08
*Ratatouille with Garrotxa Crust: Toro Loco Tempranillo 09, Radio Boca Tempranillo 09
*Corn Pudding: Benaza Godello 08, La Playa Merlot Colchagua 09.
*Country Ham, with Life Breathed Into It: Café Juno Chenin Blanc 09, Cozi Chianti 09, La Bella Vita Frappato 09.
*Chess Pie for Dessert: A sugar bomb to revivify all concerned, Phillips Eckstein Mosel Kabinett Riesling Graacher Himmelreich 08 and Uma Chardonnay 09
*Departure: Marking the end of an epic food party with: Unibroue Ephemere Cassis and Alexandro Sherry Pedro Ximenez.
What’s a food gathering without coffee? We got that covered too:
*Two cup Hario ceramic drip brewer
*Hybrid drip-infusion brewer
1. Guatemala Finca Bourbon: Single Estate, Organic, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Certified
Varietals: 100% Bourbon
Washed and Sun Dried
Roast: Full City
2. Panama la Florentina: Single Estate
Varietals: Bourbon, Criollo, San Ramon, Caturra
Washed and Sun-Dried
Roast: Full City
As you may have gathered we take our Txoko very seriously. Each man ponders at great length what dish he will construct paying utmost attention to even the most insignificant of details. It’s important.
We’ve thrown 7 of these parties in 13 months but now we’re slowing down. We’ll only be doing 4 per year to maintain the status of the Txoko as a once in a blue moon affair where all culinary stops are pulled out.
Are you participating in a Txoko?
Are you Basque?
Please share details if so, we’d love to hear from you.
previous coverage http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Txoko-A-Basque-Tradition