On Saturday, February 13, starting at 11:00 am, the annual Yuba City Txorizo Contest will be held in Sutter Youth Hall, 7740 Butte House Rd, Sutter, CA 95982.

640px-Palacioschorizo

Getting to the heart of a txorizo. Photo by Asturnut, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

What really gives the context its special flavor (pardon the pun!) is the fact that only amateur participants are admitted. This is not about professionally made or commercial products, but rather a big get-together and party (for Basques and non-Basques alike) in the spirit of friendly competition.

Check out the great interview by EuskalKultura with competition organizer, John Belza, here.

Left: Dominique Laxalt Bundy Family Washoe Valley Nevada. Gus Bundy.

Left: Dominique Laxalt, Bundy Family, Washoe Valley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Gus Bundy.

Homemade txorizos are a big part of Basque-American culture. As Nancy Zubiri notes in A Travel Guide to Basque America: Families, Feasts, and Festivals (pp. 225-26):

In earlier days, boardinghouse owners would butcher their own hogs to make the pork dishes they served in their dining rooms. Even today many Basque restaurants make their own chorizos and cure their own hams. When John Belza, grandson of the owners of the Uriz Hotel, noticed that the tradition of families making their own chorizo or lukainka (sausage) was disappearing, he spearheaded a unique revival–a lukainka context. His goal: “to see if we can get the right flavors back.”

 

1938.

Basque outdoor cooking, 1938.

Check out this 2009 post from Buber’s Basque Page all about making txorizos.

Keeping with the homemade theme, see, too, this short 2011 article about Twin Falls, ID couple Phil and Marilyn Sarasqueta, who share some of their traditional Basque recipes (including one for chorizo and garbanzos).