A chigre is to Asturians what a pub is to the Irish. Make the most of your visit to mingle with the locals in cider bars, tapas bars and restaurants and follow the steps below to really fit in and not seem like a foriatu (stranger, foreigner):
•As you will have realized, cider is not only drunk on special occasions. It is part of our daily lives and is enjoyed throughout the year. But it has its protocol:
-Cider is ordered by the bottle and the glass is shared. To bring out its flavour, cider is poured from a height (escanciado).
-If you do not dare to try, ask the waiter to pour for you or ask a local, who will surely lend a hand, not without a touch of pride.
-You drink the culín (sup) in one go (though not necessarily in one gulp!), leaving a little to throw away and clean the mouth of glass where you have drunk from in the process.
-If someone pours and offers you a culín, do not keep them waiting. Take the glass, drink up and return it so they can continue serving others.
•We eat a lot. Normally in restaurants, the pota (cooking pot) is left on the table for you to serve yourself. You don’t have to eat everything that is put in front of you. You run the risk of being served another pot.
•Do not try to eat a cachopo without sharing it. Fabada, cachopo and rice pudding and you’re already an Asturian.
•Although, to be a good Xixonés, you must be aware of the seasons. In winter, we go crazy about oricios (sea urchins). And summer is greeted with bonito (tuna) and sardines.
•Cheese, for dessert.
•We are very generous. We fight over who is to pay and you’ll most likely be invited to a culín of cider when you greet someone.
•In Xixón, we all presume to be “playos”. Don’t be fooled, though; the only true playos are those from the neighbourhood of Cimavilla, which overlooks the beach (playa).
De “folixa” (partying)
•If you are invited to an espicha, sign up without hesitating. It is an informal buffet-style party where you eat, sing, dance and, above all, drink cider. Many are held in cider mills (llagares) themselves.
•Throughout the year, all the municipality’s neighbourhoods, villages and parishes have their “fiesta de prau” (literally, a fête in a field) and we are passionate about them. There are even apps to go “de folixa en folixa” (from party to party). Wear comfortable footwear and clothes and dance to the latest “folixero” hits, accompanied, of course, by cider. And, to forrar (line your belly), bollos preñaos (chorizo-filled bread rolls).
•Another traditional celebration is amagüestu. It is held in the autumn, when we gather to eat roasted chestnuts and drink “del duernu” cider (pressed apple juice which may just be starting to ferment into cider).
•In Antroxu, antroxamos. That is, in carnival we put on fancy dress. And, of course, we eat: pote Asturiano, picadillo and frixuelos.
La Tierrina (Our beloved land)
•We are very patriotic. You will always see a flag of Asturias at any international event.
•We do not admit any criticism whatsoever of la Tierrina. La Tierrina is like our mother. Only we can criticize her. In Xixón, the same occurs with our football team, Sporting de Gijón.
•When we are at home, we do not get on with those from Oviedo/Uviéu. Outside Asturias, we embrace one another like brothers and sisters.
•We cry when listening to Asturias Patria Querida, which, besides being the region’s anthem, brings all kinds of celebrations to a close. Even the toughest cannot avoid spilling a tear when they hear the song Asturias by Victor Manuel.