Cook Like a Local: Basque Culinary Contest

Be a part of the festive atmosphere, tradition, culture and cuisine in one of the many local cooking contests. This hands-on Cook Like a Local experience puts you shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the regions most passionate amateur cooks. Are you up for the throw down?
Bilbao food contest
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Pedro is a traditional txoko cook and founding member of the Makila Cofradia. From an early age he has had a passion for great cuisine. Growing up learning how to cook with his dad since he was 10 years old. At 16 he took to sea, working as a cook on a ship for 2 years traveling the ocean. He is one of the many dedicated and talented volunteers responsible for making sure the largest cooking contest in the province held in Bizkaia runs smoothly. His favorite dishes include salsa vizcaina and salsa española

Across the province of Bizkaia dozens of cooking contests are celebrated throughout the year, but often times visitors don't get to take part in the festivities because of language barriers, no prior planning or no knowledge of what is taking place! To change that we organize Cook Like a Local, a chance for you and friends to participate in traditional culinary throw downs in the Basque Country. Below are some of the top festivals that host amateur cooking contests.

If you want to take part in the festivities and meet the locals, we can arrange for your group to live a truly basque culinary experience. From an English speaking guide, experienced txoko cook to teach you how the dish is made, and everything you need to cook like a local.

Festivals take place from July to September. In many cases the exact dates of the festival will vary from year to year. The below is a guideline to help orient you, for exact dates and to plan your trip, get in touch. 



  • *Mungia – Held the 1st week of July, over 300 cazuelas fill the town of Mungia with aroma and ambience.

  • *Urduliz – Held the 2nd week of July in the coastal towns of Sopelana and Urduliz, the locals have celebrated the Rabu Txapelketa cooking contest for almost 50 years. *Dozens of cazuelas compete for the winning prize. Dishes are prepared by locals, neighbors and families.

  • *Bakio – Celebrated in early August (2nd week), in the coastal city of Bakio, residents prepare marmitako, a popular fisherman´s stew with long standing tradition.



  • *Meñaka – The 3rd week of August, between the towns of Bermeo and Mungia this small town celebrates a sukalki with over 40 participating teams that prepare the local guisado.

  • *Semana Grande Bilbao – Aste Nagusia or Semana Grande is celebrated in Bilbao every fourth week of August. The nine-day festival includes nightly fireworks displays, free concerts, cultural dances, athletic competitions, dancing in the streets and the largest culinary contest in the Basque Country. The six day cook off is set along the banks of the historic river Nervion, participants are asked to prepare a different dish each day from a simple tortilla de patata to more elaborate dishes such as rabo de toro or txipirones en su tinta.



  • *Bermeo – During the 2nd week of September, the local Bermeanos celebrate the town festival and townsfolk pull out their traditional festival attire to celebrate. Over 190 participating dishes compete for one of the many prizes, the scene is festive as hundreds of families gather on the bluff over looking the ocean to celebrate a grand outdoor picnic. Award winning Swedish chef´s regularly attend the festival and participated in the Sukalki for the first time in 2013.

  • *Karrantza – Celebrated in the 3rd week of September this is one of the most curious festivals. Locals prepare a lamb stew made from locally raised sheep. Last year 42 participating groups joined the contest. Hidden deep within the valleys of Bizkaia, Karrantza is visited by few tourists, offering truly local customs and traditions.

*Please let us know if you have any allergies or special requests, we will do our best to accommodate. 

Details & Reservation

Group Size Recommended: 6-20 People
Length: 4-6 Hours
Included: Chef, Guide, Everything You Need to Participate, Food and Beverages
When: July, August, September
Book in Advance: Yes

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