After explaining the entire process step by step – from the milking of the sheep to churning to the storage process, we moved on to visit various expositions showing the history of the town of Idiazabal to the Basque region.
As we ended the tour, we sat around a small table towards the entrance of the museum and Igor disappeared into the back. We chatted about the smells and the entire process of cheese making as we waited for our final treat. Igor returned with plates of cheeses, various wines, and cider. It was a picoteo or appetizer just before our lunch in the next town over. And with that, our tour was complete.
Our next stop with To Be Basque tours was to Zerain to have lunch in what used to be a prison that dates back to 1711.
The quiet town sits just up the hill from Idiazabal providing gorgeous views of the countryside: traditional farms, houses, fields, and lots of sheep bring life to this area.
The old stone-walled prison, now restaurant, offers the traditional Basque dishes you’ll find throughout the region: hams, cheese, steak, and despite being 40 km inland – various seafood and fish dishes, too.
Anything on the menu is going to leave your stomach full and with a happy taste buds.
After wonderful conversation and the team answering any questions I had about the area, the history and even a little bit about themselves – we moved onto the next and final stop of the tour: Segura.
Meaning sure in English, this little town was a sure fire way to end the day relaxed after all the adventure. The tour guides let us wander on our own for about an hour or so just to end the day. Although the town is filled with beautiful little plazas to have an afternoon coffee, there’s a tiny museum thats completely worth a visit – located in the oldest building in the village.
And with that, our tour to Idiazbal was complete. We headed back to Donostia-San Sebastian all with full stomachs, happy hearts, and tired to the max. It’s worth the day out of the beautiful beach side city to really see the true Basque Country side – and with awesome guides to make it an even more memorable trip.
Tour Description from To Be Basque:
‘‘The town of Idiazabal gives its name to the globally renowned cheese, the town is nestled in the valleys of the lush green mountain ranges that rise up from the Aralar and Aizkorri Natural Parks. In the tour you will learn everything about the origin of the cheese and the production process in the center of interpretation and tasting where you will get to taste a variety of cheeses.
Within the town you will see the church of Archangel San Miguel, with its 12-13th century Romanesque-Gothic portal. After we travel to Zerain you will have lunch in what was once a Prison that dates back to 1711. Later we travel to Segura which is a 13th century medieval town, declared a Monumental Heritage Site. Here you will find some distinguished palaces that date from the 15th century to the 18th century, and also La Casa de Ardixarra which dates to the 16th century.’’