The Art of The Iberian Pig – A Week in The Heart of Spanish Pork Country – Part 2 – Guijuelo

Avila

Avila

It wasn’t easy getting up the next day, but get up we did. We toured Avila for a bit before heading west to Guijuelo, a center for the craft of making jamones de Iberico as well as a variety of embutidos, Spanish charcuteria.

Fresh Iberico "Pata Negra" sticking out of it's initial salt burial

Fresh Iberico “Pata Negra” sticking out of it’s initial salt burial

We had an appointment to visit one of the very best, Arturo Sanchez, at their production facility. We saw the production of lomo and jamones Ibericos de Bellota from the earliest post-mortem stages through consumption with the father-son team of Arturo and Ricardo Sanchez leading our personal tour and tasting. The products were sublime with the jamon, in particular, somehow becoming more and more delicious with each bite. It was a truly unique and special experience, from which much more will come to this blog.

Iberico cut at Barbacoa Amistad

Iberico cut at Barbacoa Amistad

After we left Arturo Sanchez, we stopped for lunch at an Asador in Guijuelo called Barbacoa Amistad. While our food, which included various cuts of fresh Iberico including “El Secreto”, la Presa and La Pluma was ok, our meal was ruined by a server with an obvious bad cold, who kept wiping her nose, handling our plates, utensils and glassware and somehow managing to stick her face up close to each of ours. We couldn’t get through THAT meal fast enough!

Rainy Cáceres at night

Rainy Cáceres at night

Our journey continued on driving over mountainous roads through rain, fog and occasional snow to the city of Caceres in Extremadura, where we checked in to a lovely three star hotel, Casa Don Fernando, right on the Plaza mayor of the old part of town. Unfortunately, our bad dining luck continued with the discovery that the Asador where we had hoped to dine, was no longer in business and another place where we stopped for a Vermut and some tapas, was just bad. Despite these setbacks, given the sensational visit to Arturo Sanchez, the day was still a total winner.

BU4A7978Though far from perfect, the weather the next day co-operated when we needed it to. After a good breakfast at the lovely hotel Casa Don Fernando on the main plaza in Cáceres, we went out into a dry but fog-shrouded morning to explore some of the atmospheric older areas of the city. In one spot, we came a cross a beautiful peacock on a roof overlooking the small plaza of an old church.

BU4A7952We eventually meandered back to the hotel, where we packed up the car and made our way out through the maze-like warren of streets and onto the open road. This was no mean feat in the days of GPS, since we didn’t have one. I forgot to bring mine and Gerry had lost his. We could have had one with the rental car, but that would have cost more than a new one. The problem was that we couldn’t find a place to actually buy one. We would have to do without one.


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