Around 1850 the Frenchman Bernard Saint-Gerons, arrived in the Basque Country as a consequence of the 3rd Carlist War. He married a girl from Régil, and took up residence in Mendaro, in the house where chocolate is still made today.
Bernardo dedicated himself to the commercialization of colonial products and set up a store in his own house to sell cocoa, sugar, vanilla, coffee, etc... It was the time when the Deba River, which runs next to the house, was navigable, and the barges carrying products from overseas arrived by river, and were moored in the iron bars that can still be seen on the walls of the old house, which is now more than 200 years old.
Don't miss a visit to this company and a tasting of their products
5 generations of chocolatiers
Bernardo's son, Juan María Saint-Gerons, took advantage of the fact that he had the raw material at home and decided to learn the chocolate-making trade in Bilbao. He set up a cocoa mill in his house, a mill that is still in the same place today, where it has been for more than 150 years. In the past, this mill was powered by a donkey in the adjoining room, and was later replaced by the first electric motor to be installed in Gipuzkoa.
Since then and up to the present day, the Saint Gerons family, in its 5 generations, has continued with the manufacture of chocolate, maintaining the traditional process and incorporating new products with the same philosophy: traditional production and top quality raw materials.
Begoña Garate, Antonio Saint-Gerons' wife, played a key role in the continuity of this traditional business. At a time when it was difficult to maintain such a traditional craft, Begoña turned the small factory around, increasing and diversifying production.
A visit to this traditional company is undoubtedly a delightful experience, and tasting its products is even more enjoyable.
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