When I visited Zestoa, I told you about the Urola Gustagarri project. With this new initiative, wants to join the work of restaurants and producers in the area, giving its importance to the product and get a new offer of entertainment and tourism. I wanted to know more about this initiative and visiting its website I have realized that it is a project that is very alive. Filling the stomach is one of the greatest pleasures of this life, but the greatest, but often we do not usually know where the products that serve us at the table arrive and seeing that some producers of Urola Gustagarri de Chacolí (sharp-tasting Basque wine) and Cheese are in Beizama, I've been addressing this small town.
The first thing that comes to mind as soon as you reach this village of 166 inhabitants is paradise. 11 kilometres from Azpeitia and 15 kilometres from Tolosa, on the slopes of Illaun mountain, everything is green, from right to left. And in the meantime green, dairies, chacolí factory, ecological hostel! ... I have again pulled Oihana from the Tourist Office of Urola and told me that my visit to Beizama will not do in bad times since there celebrate the Festivals of San Pedro and that this year, in addition, they may be special because it has just been published that have named the town as geographic centre of Gipuzkoa. Following his advice, I will sleep in the hostel that is located in the centre of the town and the next day I will start the visit from here.
But, first of all, taking advantage of the fact that there is no light pollution here, I'm going to lie down and look at the stars.
"I don't care, go on and tear me apart
I don't care if you do, ooh
'Cause in a sky, 'cause in a sky full of stars
I think I saw you"
What was the old school in the village renovated it into a hostel. Today the local is from Iñigo Altuna and Leire Retegi, with the intention of opening Beizama to tourism, show the visitor, whether the audience that comes from a school or a family, the landscape, culture and values of the people. After all, they are clear that they want to give value to the work done by local people in the town because Beizama is alive thanks to the people living there. As you walk through the door, it is clear that here they are seeking to raise Beizama's ability to produce food, motivating people to seek a more upright and permanent behaviour, respecting the environment and seeking to strengthen the local community. Some will say that it is ecological, others hippy, for me it is captivating for a people to join to work on such a project and to let the world know its values. We can say that the hostel is of multiple uses, to go in family, in “cuadrilla” (the name that we use to say group of friends), because we can find in it rooms for couples, of 4 or 5 beds and even a giant of 32 beds.
Of course all with their respective bathrooms. Kitchen, dining room, children's corner ... can you ask for more of a place like this?
Iñigo and Leire have lived here. Visitors have also been the most varied, from the family who wants to spend their holidays here, but would not stay to live for a long time, until a Russian representation that came to know where the fortress of people and society Basque apparently, they wanted to get clues to implant them in their companies and to strengthen their town. They received such a close treatment, that they will visit again next year.
Iñigo and Leire have explained that people usually use the base camp hostel, to eat, sleep or spend time with family, but that all the houses in the village will be open for me to abstract from the urban society in which we live and to know first-hand the values of the rural world. Many times I have heard that there are children who ask about the colour of the cows respond purple, or where the milk comes from and say the supermarket. These children could visit the places that I will make today because they will know closely how the work of food producers. And speaking of producers, I'm going to get acquainted with the Beizama chacolí.
I like to walk, but today I feel a bit vague and I have decided to make the road by car. It only took me 5 minutes to get to Urki Zahar.
Luis Javier Oregi has taken care of me. Bringing your product closer to consumers is very important to him and he gets it in a very close way.
He took as a house a farmhouse that was abandoned for 30 years and filled its environs of vineyards, with the intention of producing ecological chacolí. Going up and down the slopes of these vineyards, I'm going to become really strong!
Making chacoli is not easy, because in addition to the own risks that have the vines, you have to do a lot of tests, because the vineyards are not the same, you can mix many different flavours and get the flavour you want ... the truth is I do not know how they do it, but it's delicious!
It is a job that will cost about 5-6 months, but the end result is ... and many chefs have famous this great product and when I said that I would also, I have been given a piece of homemade cake made by the daughter of the house. Of course, I will introduce Urki Zahar!
I have bought some bottles and I have promised that I will return, and also, surely, by then I will be able to see the winery they are building.
I have kept the chacolí in the hostel and considering that it is time to eat, I have gone to the bar Ostatu Zaharra (Old Inn). What a view, and food!
With a full stomach, while I'm sipping coffee, I noticed that the building has a sign where it says "Beizama University". Beizama has its own Basque Culinary Center!
After knowing the factory of chacolí, I left the cheese shop Arreta for the afternoon. This time I decided to walk to lower the food a bit. As I started to climb the slope right away I realized that I was coming because I did not see around me more than sheep.
There were about 300. I tried to approach them, but it seems that they have taken me for a wolf and they have escaped. So, I had to settle for some photos. The certain thing is that the landscapes are like to give cane to the camera.
The sheep graze on the 28 hectares surrounding the hamlet of Patxi Otaegi and Idoia Leonet. Patxi takes care of the sheep and the work of the stable, while Idoia with his wonderful hands creates cheese, which has even been awarded worldwide.
In total they make 6500 pieces, starting in January and until mid-May or June. And they do them in the most natural way possible: they collect the warm milk and cool it, so that it is kept in good condition and not cut, then at the time of curdling, they reheat and put the rennet to " bain-marie"; They remove the serum, put it in moulds and have it in the chamber drying a minimum of two months.
It seems simple, but in simplicity is excellence. Maybe because they have good pastures with great views, but these latxas sheep (type of sheep’s) produce incredible milk and a cheese! I can not leave without buying any cheese. I've taken four. The backpack will smell nice, but ...
I arrived at the hostel, but eager to tell those present the experiences lived and as soon as I told them that I bought chacolí and cheese I have been told that the best companion for that is bread. I have not dined, but the snack-dinner that we are going to stick ... I do not know if there will be anything left for home.
What is unknown, is not valued and many believe that those who carry this type of life belong only to museums. But Beizama is a town that is proud of its values. A people full of life that have united and for nature giving a lesson to humanity.