From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A gathering of chefs in front of the Gaztelubide txoko during the Tamborrada.

A Txoko (Basque pronunciation: [ˈtʃoko]) is a typically Basque type of closed gastronomical society where men come together to cook, experiment with new ways of cooking, eat and socialize. It is believed that over 1000 of these societies exist; the town of Gernika, Spain, for example, with around 15,000 inhabitants, has nine txokos with some 700 members in total.[1][2] Txoko can be found not only in Spain but in almost any city with a significant number of Basques[3]


Txoko, a diminutive form of zoko,[4] literally means nook, cosy corner in Basque. In some regions, the variant xoko is used. In Spanish, they are called sociedades gastronómicas, in French sociétés gastronomiques.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11]


The origins of the txoko are uncertain. They may have begun in Bilbao, Spain, as (perhaps inspired by the British) company social clubs, however they are most known in San Sebastián; where the first txoko was formed in 1870[12] as an informal group of friends who met regularly to eat, drink, sing, and talk.[1][13][14] During the Franco years, txokos became increasingly popular because they prohibited the discussion of politics, making them some of the few places where the state allowed Basque to be spoken and Basque songs to be sung.[1] Most txoko are in Spain, however they have been formed in various places across the world.[15]


Sociedad Celedón,
a txoko in Vitoria-Gasteiz[16][17][18][19]

Normally, a txoko is set up by a group of friends who buy or rent suitable premises together and adopt a constitution covering membership, administration and other matters. The constitution normally prohibits the discussion of politics at the txoko and restricts the participation of women; either (rarely) forbidding them access to the txoko at all or more typically allowing women to enter the txoko to eat, drink and socialize, but not to cook. Modern txoko, using fresh ingredients and cooking from scratch, exemplify slow food.[20]

Since a txoko typically has up to 80 members, but has space for fewer than that, individual or small groups of members get together to gathering the ingredients and cook for themselves, their families or guests. A few times a year, all txoko members are invited to get together[1]


Hess; although describing the txoko as providing an escape from the daily grind of life in society, thus limited in its ability to benefit the society as a whole; points to it as an expression of conviviality, and having a significant role in supporting Basque culture and identity; and in helping to manage the transition from a rural to an urban identity. Hess also suggested that the communal organisation and Roman Catholic influenced choice of seasonal and weekly dishes represents a reaction against Protestant individualism. Membership of txoko crosses class and social divides; and such is their cultural importance in San Sebastian that the mayor is required annually to dine at each of the 75 txoko.[21] Other authors point to the extreme conservatism of txokos: the exclusion of women and an emphasis on preserving traditional dishes.[22]


  1. ^ a b c d Plaza, Joseba Txoko in Wandler, R. (ed) Euskadi Walter Frey 1999 ISBN 9783925867385
  2. ^ Butler, Stuart (14 April 2016). The Basque Country and Navarre: France. Spain. Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 9781841624822. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Hess, Andreas (2018). "Gastronomic Societies in the Basque Country" (PDF). Knowledge and Institutions. Knowledge and Space. Vol. 13. pp. 91–109. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-75328-7_5. ISBN 978-3-319-75327-0.
  4. ^ Trask, Larry The History of Basque Routledge 1997
  5. ^ Planet, Lonely; Butler, Stuart; Garwood, Duncan (1 December 2015). Lonely Planet Pocket Bilbao & San Sebastian. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781743609941. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Zubiri, Nancy (18 May 2017). A Travel Guide to Basque America: Families, Feasts, and Festivals. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9780874176322. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Iraurgui, Pablo J. Beltrán de Heredia; Autonómico, País Vasco (Spain) Departamento de Presidencia, Justicia y Desarrollo (18 May 2017). Historia de Euskal Etxea-Hogar Vasco de Madrid. Eusko Jaurlaritzaren Argitalpen Zerbitzu Nagusia = Servicio Central de Publicaciones del Gobierno Vasco. ISBN 9788445720103. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Jurafsky, Dan (15 September 2014). The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393245875. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Vaczi, Mariann (11 February 2015). Soccer, Culture and Society in Spain: An Ethnography of Basque Fandom. Routledge. ISBN 9781317677307. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Gatti, Gabriel; Irazuzta, Ignacio; Albeniz, Iñaki Martínez de (18 May 2017). Basque Society: Structures, Institutions, and Contemporary Life. University of Nevada Press. ISBN 9781877802256. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Kurlansky, Mark (5 July 2010). The Basque History of the World. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. ISBN 9780802779427. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ Simonis, Damien (18 May 2017). Spain. Ediz. Inglese. Lonely Planet. ISBN 9781742203799. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Barrenechea, Teresa; Goodbody, Mary (3 December 2005). Basque Table: Passionate Home Cooking from Spain's Most Celebrated Cuisine. Harvard Common Press. ISBN 9781558323278. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  14. ^ Kurlansky, Mark (11 March 2011). Basque History Of The World. Knopf Canada. ISBN 9780307369789. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Douglass, William A.; Zulaika, Joseba (18 May 2017). Basque culture: anthropological perspectives. Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada, Reno. ISBN 9781877802652. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ "Una familia fiel a la Retreta". elcorreo.com. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  17. ^ "SOCIEDAD CELEDON - Gobierno Vasco". euskadi.eus. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Dantzari plaza, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Adurtza)". spain-streets.openalfa.com. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  19. ^ "ASOCIACIONES SOCIOCULTURALES EN VITORIA - GASTEIZ - ALAVA". activityspain.es. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  20. ^ "Marcela Garces, Siena College – the Txoko as a Model for the Slow Food Movement". 24 July 2018.
  21. ^ Hess, Andreas (18 May 2017). Reluctant Modernization: Plebeian Culture and Moral Economy in the Basque Country. Peter Lang. ISBN 9783039119080. Retrieved 18 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ Guggenheim Magazine, Volume 11. (1997). United States: Guggenheim Museum Publications.

External links[edit]