The world of pintxos is huge, vast, complex and very rich. Each bar has its own specialities, and even the same pintxo can be prepared in different ways. From the Spanish tortilla to the ham croquette, from the anchovies to the shrimp brochette, all of these pieces of heaven compose a gastronomic mosaic in which is easy to get lost. And between all of them one stands out, because of its simplicity and iconic character.
Four elements: toothpick, olive, salted anchovy and chilli pepper. Nothing else, that’s the only food needed to create a classic that nowadays is considered the San Sebastian pintxo par excellence. We owe its invention to Joaquin Aranburu, a regular patron of the legendary bar Casa Vallés in the Catholic Kings street. In 1948 he mixed with a toothpick the anchovies, chilli peppers and olives that were served in this bar, and named it after the iconic film “Gilda” by Rita Hayworth, premiered in Spain the previous year.
It’s a pintxo of strong taste, acidic and a bit bitter that is eaten usually with vermouth, and it also preserves well. But with the Gilda happens that you can have too much of a good thing, so I don’t recommend having more than one in a row. Better rest the palate… with a different pintxo.