As the archetypal land of conquest, the Extremadura is a region rich in tourist attractions, many of which have been rediscovered in recent years. Despite being one of Spain's poorest Communities, it is still unique in terms of its rich historical and cultural wealth and the distinctive temperament of its inhabitants.
Surface area : 41634.0 km2
Population : 1108000 inhabitants
No culinary tour of the Extremadura would be complete without sampling the finest regional delights, which include hams, sausages, oils, pastries, figs, honey, cheeses and gateaux, wines and liqueurs and even La Vera paprika. The region is also home to a great many eateries where you can enjoy traditional cuisine, both in the little villages and in the cities. Wrought iron from Gata, Baños de Montemayor basketry and artistic ceramics and Hervás leather goods are just a few examples of the most typical artisanal products available in the Extremadura.
The food and cuisine of the Extremadura are quite literally divine. Its fields full of vegetables, as well as olive trees, fruit trees, vines and wheat form the basis of the local cuisine here, with the development of intensive grazing also playing a major role.
When it comes to meat, meanwhile, the excellent local Dehesa de Extremadura Spanish ham is definitely not to be missed, along with the roast lamb and veal, the partridge and the quail. There are, of course, other Spanish products such as the 'caña de lomo' (spareribs) and the 'paleta' (pork shoulder) to sample during your stay. Since these are truly Spanish products made from wild or farmed animals, they always offer the same guarantee since these animals are all raised on the pastureland of the Extremadura.
Given its proximity to Portugal, cod is also widely-farmed in the Extremadura region, along with river-dwelling fish such as tench and trout.
As a result of the large cattle flocks raised in the region, you'll also find a large number of cheeses and gateaux produced here. You really will be amazed by both the variety of cheeses and their quality, with La Serena, La Vera, Ibores, Casar de Cáceres and La Vega just a few of the dairy delights on offer.
When it comes to traditional regional recipes, why not start with the 'migas' (dry bread dampened with water and oil and fried, generally served with cold cuts), the gaspacho with pork meat, the escargots served with a spicy sauce, the rice served with rabbit, the partridge soup, the braised lentils and the great many soups and braised meats on offer. The most surprising of all these dishes is probably the braised lizard, generally served with a green sauce consisting primarily of olive oil, parsley, flour and white wine.
Among the region's little treasures waiting to be unearthed you'll find various wine cellars, and the famous family-made and easy-to-drink 'de pitarra' wines, which are very commonly found in restaurants and bistros. The new wines being produced at the moment really are amazing and boast all the qualities of fine wines. Red or white, irrespective of whether they bare the Ribera del Guadiana AOC or 'controlled designation of origin', the wines produced in this region are lauded by wine experts and enthusiasts.
Make the most of your stay by savouring some good regional cuisine and taking in the ambience that oozes from every corner of the place. The best way to really get a feel for the Extremadura is to take to the streets, head out into the countryside or familiarise yourself with the architecture of the place and the pureness of the landscapes here.