Gorrotxategi, based in Tolosa, is perhaps the most famous producer of turrón and chocolate in the Basque Country, or certainly in this region, Gipuzkoa. When I turned up at the shop they were selling half-price ‘Rosco de Reyes’. The Rosco is a circular cake a bit like a bunt cake which is filled with whipped cream or pastry cream and enjoyed on the 6th of January (Epiphany or ‘El día de los Reyes’.) It was certainly delicious, especially with the pieces of candied fruit they used as decoration.
However, the main attraction in Gorrotxategi is, of course, the turrón. There have developped all sorts of different flavours including chocolate and rose and even ginger and mint. A single slice normally costs 14€ but rose and chocolate was going half price. When I tried it later that evening I discovered, to my delight, that they had used my all time favourite pâtisserie ingredient, ‘pailleté feuilletine’ (fine wafer biscuit flakes) to give it its texture. The level of sweetness was spot on as the dark chocolate layer balanced the sweeter milk chocolate layers. They also managed to get the intensity of rose just right. So there’s a good reason Gorrotxategi have a reputation as the best turrón makers around.
For 2€ we had a guided tour of the Gorrotxategi museum and a cup of proper hot chocolate in the café afterwards. The museum was packed full of old-fashioned and ancient utensils, I particularly loved the chocolate moulds. They actually started out as candle-makers, a lucrative profession, meaning that when sugar and cacao were brought over from the Americas they had the funds to develop a business around these exotic imports.
I’d never heard of Tolosa before arriving in the Basque Country, but I’m certainly glad I have now. For a fairly small town it has a lot of attractions to offer on a day trip, not to mention the surrounding hills are stunning: