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Black Twig Cider House owner and Basque enthusiast Mattie Beason gears up for the ninth annual Txakolifest.
Who doesn't love a good bar crawl? Throughout the Basque Country, the locals call it txikiteo, and it's a centuries-old tradition of wandering from bar to bar with friends drinking the night away. By including the specialty tapas of each bar visited and washing it down with a short glass of the local wine—Txakoli—the Basque have elevated your ordinary pub crawl to an art form.
Txakoli comes in white, red, and rosé versions, but the most widely available and lauded are white. Low in alcohol, high in quench-factor and bottled with a slight spritz, these wines are perfect as summer sippers and pair effortlessly with everything from cured meats and hard cheeses to fried and fresh seafood. They're even better served from a porron—the traditional carafe-with-a-spout used to pour from upwards of three feet (depending on the skill of the pourer) directly into the glass (or your mouth). The ritual is said to enhance the pétillance of the wine, but it doubles as an impressive show for your friends.
Inspired by a trip to Basque Country, where he was taken by the food, drink, and communal traditions of the region, Mattie Beason of Black Twig Cider House in Durham, NC, launched an entire festival celebrating them. Now in its ninth year, Txakolifest, as he calls it, will take place this Sunday, June 12th, with local vendors, chefs and culinary artisans joining forces for an indulgent day of eating, drinking, and raising money for the Urban Ministries of Durham Community Shelter.
Food & Wine caught up with Beason to find out how he got North Carolinians so excited about Txakoli.