Extremadura is a region in Spain that extends over an area of 41634 Square Kilometers or 16074 Square Miles, where a little more that one million people live. There are a million hectares of grazing meadows, beautiful forests of oaks and cork trees that form a unique ecosystem surrounded by mountains, valleys and rivers. This is the reason that the region produces an immense variety of food produce and the cuisine includes from the best Iberian Hams to the most universal condiment of this land, the “Pimentón de la Vera” (Paprika from the Vera). Also, to be considered is the famous “Picota Cherry”, a unique variety of cherry that is autochthonous to this region, grown in the Jerte valley and also, tasteful cheeses made with raw milk from goats or sheep.
The Extremadura livestock grazes in the shades of oak tress
The Iberian Pigs graze free and are fed with acorns under the oak trees. The hams of these animals are cured naturally for periods of three to four years in specially designed warehouses, located at very cool climate of the Sierra. Also, in the magnificent grazing fields you can find cattle and kid goats that will become gastronomic delights on the stoves. In addition, worldwide recognition is awarded to the cheeses of Ibores, the Serena and the “Torta de Casar”. The latter two contain wild thistles.
Honey, olive oil and wines
The mountain flowers allow the bees to produce a honey with special characteristics that is very much appreciated in the “Villuercas-Ibores” region.
More than 260,000 hectares of the territory of Extremadura is covered with Olive tree groves, mostly to produce “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. As well known to the public this product offers many benefits to human health. Not to be overlooked are the generous wines from Extremadura and the delicate and refreshing Cavas, a Spanish sparkling wine.
The Extremadura Cuisine goes beyond the distinctions and the prizes, acquiring rich and varied characteristics at each community. For example, citrus fruits grow in “Las Hurdes” y “La Gata” and are used for sweets and salads. The figs, the almond trees and a number of fruit trees unfold their color during springtime filling the season with their special aroma of the crops. River fish, like the Tench, has its own fiesta at Piedras Albas. And the chestnuts travel through the Portuguese border, hosting an international fair.
To enjoy the ample and varied gastronomy from Extremadura, a Spanish region, which is west of Madrid and borders with neighboring country Portugal, well deserves a trip through the mountains, meadows and valleys. Just so you know, this region holds ten protected “Designations of Origin” and two “Protected Geographical Indications”.
Original article by Marian Castillo
Translated by Susana Windt
Published in May, 2017