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If you haven’t heard of Txakoli (sometimes, confusingly, known as Txakolina or Chacoli), or the grape hondarrabi zuri, you’re not alone. But this tangy, low-alcohol wine that’s popular in Spain’s Basque regions (especially in and around San Sebastian) is gaining popularity in the U.S.

Jay and I first tried it a couple of years ago in the San Sebastian tapas bars. We were more impressed by the presentation — the bottle is held high in the air as the wine is poured into your glass — than with the taste of the wine itself. I found it almost too reminiscent of beer or cider, with a sparkly, yeasty flavor. However, it did prove a nice, light companion to the seafood of the region.

So we were intrigued when we saw a Txakoli and food tasting being held in New York City, specifically in an alley behind the Basque restaurant Txikito. (It didn’t hurt that the food was being provided by some of our favorite places in the city, including old favorites Co. and El Quinto Pino and new favorite Edi and the Wolf.)

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Co.’s walnut paste, shiitake, rosemary, and caramelized onion pizza.

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El Quinto Pino’s noodle paella with shrimp and mussel alioli.

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Edi and the Wolf’s white asparagus with ramp cream and hollandaise.

Jay also particularly enjoyed the one non-New York food item, the smoked pork sandwich all the way from Poole’s BBQ in Georgia.

Event_txikoli_festival05Poole’s cherry-smoked pork sandwich with coleslaw.

As for the Txakoli, I have to say I’m still not the biggest fan. Though I did enjoy the rose Txakoli the most — it was crisp and light, in a more modern style, and made of the red hondarrabi beltza grape vs. the white hondarrabi zuri — and could see myself enjoying it at a picnic or barbecue. And we definitely plan on enjoying more Txakoli at the source, when we’re able to get back to glorious San Sebastian and wander around the tasty pintxo bars.

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Lots of Txakoli!

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Рby Liz Humphreys, Winederlust Eater in Chief

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