Perhaps the least visited and least populous region of Spain. Austere homeland of many of the conquistadors who conquered South America, bordered by the Gredos in the north and the Sierra Aracena in the south. The black pigs, sheep and goats of the area contribute to produce such as cured ham, chorizo sausages and all pork products. Also look for mushrooms, chestnuts, aspargagus, paprika, cherries and acorn liquers. Cork oaks are common in the dehesas , providing food for free range pigs and bark for wine stoppers.
The monastry at Guadalupe, a centre of gastronomy in the times of the conquistadors, is credited with the invention of both the omelet (tortilla cartujana) and consomme (consumo). The consomme recipe is said to have been stolen by the French in the Napoleonic wars. Merida has major Roman remains, Zafra is a small town with a charming double plaza. Also see Plasencia and Trujillo , bithplace of Pizarro.
The old walled city of Cacares should be on any itinary. As should "Atrio" in the new town, (Gourmetour restaurant of the year 2006). The Parador has a good restaurant, as does "Torre de Sande" nearbye, (tapas; hare with beans (judias con liebre) was good, indoor and patio restaurants).
Extremadura is most easily seen by a car tour between the paradors of the region, public transport being fairly sparse and the roads quiet. Birdwatching for eagles and vultures along the road can be rewarding.
lamb cooked in paprika.
Birdwatching in Extremadura
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