A day to honour the octopus

Sep 06, 2021

Zumaia's most singular feature is its geology, with its characteristic roquedal, or rocky area. Because octopuses like hiding places full of nooks and crannies, the roquedal offers them the perfect setting in which to seek shelter.

During the famine that hit Zumaia, a solution was fishing in the marshes that are now a protected area of the Deba-Zumaia Biotope (the Geopark's marshes are the only ones in the area). Hence, the connection between Zumaia and the octopus is an intimate one, having become one of the town's symbols and its gastronomic specialty par excellence. Thus, a special day is dedicated to the octopus, in September.


Octopus Day or, as it is better known, Olarro Eguna, is full of festivities and events, with regattas, a traditional lunch, music, games, contests and, of course, food. More than 750 kilos of octopus are used to prepare the pintxos and the traditional fare served on this day. Of those, 650 kilos are boiled octopus. for the pintxos, and the remaining 100 are raw octopus that used for the time-honoured feast.


Among the thousands of recipes that can be prepared with this prized product, octopus soup is one of the most special. You can savour it at the Olarro Eguna, but you can also make it at home by following the recipe below. We hope that, for you, it tastes like Zumaia!


  • Chop up the dried octopus and soak it for one day in a large bowl with plenty of water. Strain the octopus and set aside the soaking water (which will be used to make the soup) and the octopus, separately.
  • Cut the bread into thin slices and set it aside.
  • Chop the garlic, onion and leek  into small cubes and cook them for 4-5 minutes over low heat with a little oil.
  • When the vegetables are golden brown, add the drained octopus and cook together with the vegetables for 25-30 minutes over low heat.
  • Add wine and brandy, paprika, tomato sauce and the bread. Pour in the soaking water and cook it over low heat for an hour. Add salt and a little chopped parsley.


And let the tentacles trap you!