“Txotx”! One word is enough to raise the table which goes towards the cellar, glass in hand. As tradition dictates, from January to May, sagarno, “apple wine” in Basque, is served directly from the barrel. “Unlike traditional cider, sagarno has finished fermentation. It is therefore not very sweet and sparkling, “explains François Dubourg, sales manager of the family cider house located in Ascain, near Saint-Jean-de-Luz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).
If it is drunk by the thousands of liters on the Spanish side, its production in the French Basque Country has decreased over the centuries, “especially since the end of whaling. Before, the law required boats leaving the port to carry barrels of cider to fight scurvy, “notes François Dubourg.
A popular drink
But from this period remained Basque colonies all over the world which continue to drink … sagarno. “Of our 100,000 liters produced per year, 40% go to New Zealand or the United States! “
The Kupela cider factory, located in Anglet, has even developed a cider can for the American market. “It is a drink in vogue over there, driven by the healthy trend: in sagarno, there are no preservatives, no gas, or added sugars”, underlines Emma Arestegui, who increased her sales of ciders and 20% apple juice in five years. “French bars and restaurants are increasingly in demand,” she smiles, delighted to “promote Basque heritage while keeping its authenticity”.