Economy

Hondarribia understands its gastronomy as a holistic process. The pintxo bars of La Marina, the traditional restaurants, the more avant-garde; households and the gastronomic societies are all supplied by and base their culinary creativity on local produce and its ‘culinary creators’, upon which much of the city’s economy is sustained. The ‘Km0’ movement is strongly rooted in the city.

The gastronomy sector is strategic for the city. 77% of jobs are in services (accommodation, hotels and restaurants) with an annual growth of 2% followed by the secondary sector (15%) and primary (3%). The activities of the primary sector show great potential for the development of local initiatives. Local ecological agricultural production is increasing in response to the demand of the population and generates new employment.

Four aspects demonstrating its economic dynamism: 

  • Reappraisal of the cultural and natural heritage, promoting enogastronomic tourism.
  • Agro-fishery production with demand for ecological and auto-consumption, along with outreach and training activities. Notably fishing (40% craft and 60% surface).
  • Primary transformation. There is a brand/cooperative of fishery products called ‘Done Pedro’. And Azoka, a weekly market, for direct selling of home-grown local products. There are 3 ‘Eusko Label’ farms and 2 under the ‘Euskal Baserri’ name.
  • Hostelry and Catering. It is the engine of economic equilibrium in the city and an international point of reference (50.8% pintxo bars, 40.8% restaurants, and 8.3% cafés). Customers are nationals (59.4%) and foreign (40.6%).

The fishing fleet is the heart of the Fisherman’s Guild of San Pedro. Each boat, committed to sustainable fishing systems that guarantee the future of marine biodiversity, is a private company operating in various fisheries by season: first, anchovy and mackerel, then bluefin tuna or bighorn and bonito. The fleet seeks the highest quality fish to bring to market through the techniques of catching, handling and traceability under the Basque quality label ‘Kalitatea’ and collaborates with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas ICCAT.

Atlantic Bluefin tuna

Atlantic Bluefin tuna is the king of the species caught in Hondarribia, with a rod or hand rig, it is one of the most commercially valuable species in the world. The demanding Japanese market values its extraordinary quality. In the market of the Fisherman's Guild of San Pedro, all fish caught by its members is placed for sale. It is weighed, kept refrigerated, inspected and recorded with a reliable economic method of control and sanitation reflecting: its origin, the ship that made the catch, and then finally in the reception hall the fish is reviewed and selected for auction. That's when traders or middlemen buy the fish for auction. The end customer always knows perfectly well the traceability of the product.

Baserri

The 'Baserri' (farmhouse) is the traditional model of farming in the Basque Country. Hondarribian cultivated land is rich and fertile, near rivers and streams and sheltered by Mount Jaizkibel and is combined with livestock. Manure is used to enrich the soil and until recently, surplus anchovy and head and innards of tuna was also used as compost. Products from Hondarribian orchards and vegetable gardens are consumed in their homes and sold in the city in its network of grocery stores, restaurants, pintxo bars and gastronomic societies and the local weekly 'Azoka' market. Recently there has been an increase in the consumption of organic products.

Livestock and agriculture producers

Livestock and agriculture producers are also small, due to the topography and high quality and with a similar marketing line: sheep for cheese production, cattle for meat and milk, chickens for eggs... Just as the fish are exposed to a strict health and origin control thanks to the work of the HAZI foundation (Basque Government), so too livestock and agriculture, allowing the end customer to have full product traceability.

The Hiruzta Company has resumed cultivating the hondarribi zuri and beltza grapes in Hondarribia and for the last three years has produced an extraordinary Txakoli, a very special white wine, all the while retrieving a wine industry that had long disappeared in the city.

Agricultural business

Over the past five years, the agricultural business sector and the town fisheries have maintained a schedule of meetings and "ad hoc" conferences for improving the sector. There are also programmes coordinated by the HAZI Foundation (Basque Government) that promote competitiveness and sustainability of the primary and food sectors, rural area and the Basque coast.

Since 2008 'Krea Bidasoa' has been held, 2015, was its seventh year. It features one-day workshops for 300 entrepreneurs, businesses and institutional representatives to devise and promote new business initiatives especially in the sectors related to the culinary process.

In 2012 the 'Mugabian' workshop, "farming and cooking" was born as a continuation of activities for the food industry organized by Innov Mugabe, a cross-border European project with France. Mugabian created concrete opportunities for collaboration between a group of 8 small production-transformation companies through rounds of visits overlooking their facilities followed by working sessions with the whole group in each company. The revitalization of the programme was conducted by the 'Bidasoa Activa' Development Agency.

From 2013 -2015 the Heritage Forum, a programme of meetings between academic, tourism and catering professionals has been held, organized by the ARMA PLAZA Foundation with the support of the Association of Hoteliers. A week of work between local and invited chefs (2014 Popayán and 2015 Tsuruokan) with technical visits to the fishing and food industry and food tasting mixing food cultures.

Promotion

Overol the past five years, the agricultural business sector and the town fisheries have maintained a schedule of meetings and "ad hoc" conferences for improving the sector. There are also programmes coordinated by the HAZI Foundation (Basque Government) that promote competitiveness and sustainability of the primary and food sectors, rural area and the Basque coast. Since 2008 'Krea Bidasoa' has been held, 2015, was its seventh year. It features one-day workshops for 300 entrepreneurs, businesses and institutional representatives to devise and promote new business initiatives especially in the sectors related to the culinary process. In 2012 the 'Mugabian' workshop, "farming and cooking" was born as a continuation of activities for the food industry organized by Innov Mugabe, a cross-border European project with France. Mugabian created concrete opportunities for collaboration between a group of 8 small production-transformation companies through rounds of visits overlooking their facilities followed by working sessions with the whole group in each company. The revitalization of the programme was conducted by the 'Bidasoa Activa' Development Agency.

  • HAZI develops an extensive formative training programme for the network of schools of Hondarribia:
    • Topera Kalitatea routes: knowledge of products with quality-origin labels.
    • Eusko Label Gunea: local produce in school parties.
    • School canteens, Local product consumption.
    • School garden, horticultural education.
    • Visits to the Azoka agricultural fair.
    • Awareness programme in cooking schools and Basque Culinary Center.
    • Children's workshops for baking of Opilla cakes.
  • In 2015, the Klink gastronomic society is promoting an outreach programme on Basque gastronomic heritage among young people encouraging generational handover.
  • In 2015, the Heritage Forum organizes show cooking with students with "Fish Soup Transoceanic Meeting" between chefs from Tsuruoka, Popayan and Hondarribia.
  • Currently, in collaboration with HAZI and schools in the city, there is a pilot project to include training in food and health in schools and then extend it to the rest of the Basque Country.

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