Caceres – Barrio Nuevo
There’s no such area as Barrio Nuevo, this is just all the stuff I couldn’t get in the previous post about the old town.
El Figon de Eustaquio (Advanced B+) 12-14 Plaza San Juan, 927 244 362 elfigondeeustaquio.com
Recommended in ‘Where Chefs Eat’ and by Frommers, this formal but friendly spot near the old town is a great place to sample local cuisine. I got great service from Roberto who helped me pick out a few local specialities.
After a rather unpleasant, unidentifiable amuse bouche (C+), I had the simple shepherd’s dish of Migas Extremenas (in the first picture). The breadcrumbs were much finer than migas I’d had before. It was ok (B-).
The main was Cordero Asado, an excellent slab of lamb, finished with a white wine and oregano sauce with some fries (A). The local Basangus red was very enjoyable with it (B+). The dessert of Biscuit de Higos Pajareros was good too (B).
Licor de Bellota means ‘liquor of acorn’, and acorns are what farmers traditionally feed their Iberian pigs to create the very best kind of ham, Jamon Bellota. So this was an Extremaduran acorn liqueur, dangerous! It was interesting but one was enough (C). Definitely not something I’d like to be hungover on!
With a glass of Carlos III to finish things properly, the bill came to just under €60 . Should you be on a budget there is a cheaper place called Meson San Juan just opposite El Figon in Plaza San Juan. I haven’t been but the nice chap on reception recommended it.
So as well as having heaps of history, Caceres is a fantastic foodie destination. Here are a few things they are famous for in these parts:
Spanish cured ham is the best in the world, and in Spain the best ham comes from Extremadura, and in Caceres I was told the best place to get ham was Solano at 48 Avenida de la Plata jamonsolano.com I got some Iberico and some Bellota and it was all indeed very good. They will vacuum pack it for you to take home. A good brand to keep an eye out for is Monteporrino.
It is said that Colombus brought peppers back on his second voyage and first served them to the king and queen while in Extremadura. The county of La Vera in Caceres province has a DOP for pimenton (paprika) which is considered the best in Spain (although Murcia has a good rep too). I was told the best brand was La Dalia. There are 3 types; dulce (sweet or mild), agridulce (bittersweet) and hot (picante). I bought several tins of all three at Mostazo at 13 Gil de Cordero, www.mostazoespecialidades.es, It’s a more visually spectacular deli than Solano with lots of hams hanging from the ceiling and a much wider range of other goods.
A sheep’s milk cheese from the local town of Casar which has its own DOP. It’s eaten by slicing off the top of the cheese and scooping out the soft inside.
As mentioned in previous post, this is a poor man’s sausage made with potato, paprika and the cheaper cuts of the pig.
A kind of strong artisanal wine made in earthenware jars. It’s not necessarily of the highest quality but it is homemade and without chemical additives. Several local towns hold competitions to see who makes the best stuff.
One of the most famous Extramaduran wine producers. I especially like their Tempranillo/Sauv Cab/Syrah blend ‘Habla del Silencio’ which can be imported via Vinissimus for about £9 a bottle including shipping.
I stayed at the Hotel Barcelo Caceres V Centenario. I remember it being quite a strange design and not particularly attractive but the reception staff are truly excellent, very helpful and with a great sense of humour. It’s located in a bit of a bleak spot by a major road (turn left out of the hotel for the footbridge) and about 30 minutes’ walk from the old town, but I don’t mind a bit of exercise if there’s a good meal at the end of it.
I wish I could have spent a day or two longer in Caceres but I had to fly home after two days. I’m definitely going back one day though.