in the kitchen with… the Confrérie du chipiron de Bidart

So, who better than the Confrérie du chipiron de Bidart to finally know how chipiron works? Contact taken, it is quickly at the hotel-bar-restaurant Elissaldia, the oldest of the place Sauveur-Atchoarena, with four generations of the Exposito family who have succeeded each other since 1945, that the appointment is fixed.

World pelota champion at cesta punta in 2003 alongside another famous Bidartar, Patxi Tambourindeguy, now master of the place (except the kitchen, we will see later), Peio Exposito was inducted in 2004. So here, the brotherhood is a bit at home too. There is who wants moreover, since above the bar, this message in Basque welcomes the barge: “Come in, sit down, this house is yours if you like it. »


Soon cooked, the squid will join a simple mixed salad, including a few piquillos.

Fabien Jans

It cannot be cooked evenly in large quantities. It is therefore not necessary to put ten kilos of it on the plancha at once

“Cooked with fear”

So we sat down, and we talked. With the Grand Master of the brotherhood, Nicole Dedieu-Rio, with Jean Foraste, the vice-president, the communication officer, Marion Wolff, and especially (sorry to the others) with the Grand Master of mouth, Philippe Labarthe.

“The squid are cooked for fear”, begins the latter, using the culinary expression which describes a short cooking time at high temperature. “What’s important is that they don’t release all the water, otherwise they will become plastic. It cannot be cooked evenly in large quantities. It is therefore not necessary to put ten kilos of it on the plancha at once. Then, you have to stir very quickly and regularly. Cooking is three or four minutes. Next, it’s the look that matters.

In practical work, it is Pantxika Exposito who sticks to it. If Peio manages the family business, in the kitchen, there is no other boss than her. This can be heard through the verb, feels serious and is also observed by the assurance of the gesture, while the chipirons are already singing on the plate: “Me, I like them grilled”, she slips.

Two spatulas in hand, she mixes, turns, lets it go, then starts again. After three or four minutes, the edges of the calamari turn brown. It’s almost time. Before joining the plate, a good handful of parsley is thrown and, above all, the xipister comes to deglaze everything.

Pantxika Exposito cooking squid, in the kitchens of the Elissaldia restaurant in Bidart.


Pantxika Exposito cooking squid, in the kitchens of the Elissaldia restaurant in Bidart.

Fabien Jans

Spicy sauce

“What, you don’t know the xipister?” That was fifteen minutes before when, to our bovine eyes, the eminent members of the brotherhood understood that the word was totally foreign to us.

“The xipister is a sauce seasoned with vinegar, garlic and chilli. From Espelette of course. As for the other ingredients, each has its own secrets. Back in the kitchen to find out more from Pantxika, sideways glance and the answer that falls: “No, I don’t give my recipe. »

At the end of cooking, a handful of parsley joins the chipirons, while a glassful of xipister is used to deglaze the whole thing.


At the end of cooking, a handful of parsley joins the chipirons, while a glassful of xipister is used to deglaze the whole thing.

Fabien Jans

No need to insist, feasting is enough. The xipister is undoubtedly the touch that transforms the tasting. For lack of a recipe, you can find it in good grocery stores, fishmongers or even butchers.

As for the squid, “the best is when it was caught on the spot, resume the members of the brotherhood. But it’s not necessarily easy to find (and it’s obviously like good mushroom spots). You can get some really good ones from the fishmonger. And if it’s not local, we can trust what comes from Spain and even Patagonia. On the other hand, what comes from Asia is a disaster. »

In Bidart, the Confrérie du chipiron has been part of the decor for thirty-eight years.


In Bidart, the Confrérie du chipiron has been part of the decor for thirty-eight years.

Fabien Jans

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