Pintxo (pincho or pinchu) is a snack served in bars throughout northern Spain and especially popular in Cantabria, Asturias, the Basque country, and Navarra. The pintxo tradition is an inherently social one. Friends gather in a bar to have a bite and a zurito, a small portion of beer, cider or wine. It may be a single stop before dinner or the beginning of a multi-stop pintxo crawl.
Unlike the free snacks known as tapas that are served with a drink in much of Spain, pintxos are affordable but not free. In fact, in the hands of the great Basque culinary masters like Chef Xabier Gutierrez of Arzak, a pintxo can be elevated well into the realm of high cuisine.