Local guide and chef Bendur Elizondo guides us through La Bretxa market before cooking for us at his underground txoko – there are over 150 of these gastronomic societies in the city, and thankfully Bendur bends the men-only rule for our group. Txokos have helped keep Basque cooking traditions alive, and here we eat typical local dishes – grilled txistorria sausage, salt cod in pil-pil sauce, fresh hake and clams in salsa verde and unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheeses, washed down with the local txokali white wine – poured from a height into tumblers, it’s lightly sparkling and oh so quaffable. After a wee rest we continued the eating marathon with a crawl of the city’s old town – bar after bar serving pinxtos (the Basque answer to tapas).