Valle del Jerte is undoubtedly synonymous with cherries. Remember the Forrest Gump movie when Bubba starts reciting a list of dishes all made with shrimp? Something similar could happen when imagining the number of recipes and by-products obtained from this delicious red fruit. But before we binge on cherries, we will take a tour of other gastronomic delights of the Valley.
Cereals and pulses, as is the case throughout the interior of the peninsula, play an important role in the gastronomy of Jerte. But also, goat meat and pork sausage are present in many dishes of peasant origin.
Jerte's gastronomy also includes soups of all kinds, all of them of pastoral origin, especially suitable for dinner after a long day's work. Sopas canas, tomato soup, potato soup, garlic soup... comforting and very economical spoon dishes.
It is difficult to choose just a few dishes, but we have prepared a varied menu (including salad, soup, starter, meat, fish and dessert) so that you don't leave the Jerte Valley without having tried the most representative gastronomy of the area.
Something light to start with
To prepare our stomachs for satisfying dishes, there is nothing better than starting with something fresh and light. Extremaduran orange salad is as simple as it is curious. There are several versions depending on the area, but the base is the same in all of them: orange, garlic, oil and vinegar. The vegan version includes, of course, paprika of Vera. The satisfying variant introduces chorizo sausage and boiled egg.
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As we mentioned earlier, cereals and more specifically bread is a food that can never be missing from the table and, as you can imagine, if there are leftovers, you don't throw them away! The stale bread is used to make delicious migas, accompanied, of course, by the famous local paprika. To make them more consistent, potatoes or all kinds of sausages are usually added. A dish that is as simple as it is calorific.
We continue with the recipes without abandoning bread. The canas soups was a very typical dinner for the shepherds of the area which, due to social changes, was gradually lost. But nowadays, thanks to the revival of traditional cuisine, we can find canas soups in many restaurants that stand out for their authentically local dishes.
Canas soups are a spoon dish based on bread, milk, garlic and paprika from La Vera. A combination that, although it may seem a little strange, turns out to be an exquisite delicacy.
Lamb is one of the most typical meats in the pastoral gastronomy of the Jerte Valley. Calderetas are very common in inland areas throughout Spain. But the authentic Jerte version is made in a wood-fired frying pan. Tomato, peppers, white wine, bay leaf, garlic and, of course, paprika from La Vera are usually added to the lamb.
Cooking Jerte lamb caldereta in the traditional way
Something to drink, please
Let's take a break on the road to soak up everything we have so far. How about something digestive? Pitarra wine is one of the typical beverages of the area. It is a wine made in the traditional way with a higher alcohol content than ordinary wines. In the past, this wine was kept exclusively in earthenware jars and its most widespread variety was the white grape. As it is an artisanal product, it is only produced by family-run wineries and does not usually exceed 1,000 litres per year. A real treat if you get to taste it! That's why we recommend you to be very friendly with the waiters ;)
Fish dishes also play an important role on the Jerte tables thanks to the varieties taken from its rivers. The most common fish is trout and, as in every area, the people of Jerte have a special way of preparing it. The trout is lightly fried in a pan and seasoned with a sauce of garlic, ham chips, pine nuts, a pinch of flour and lemon juice and finally left to brown in the oven for about ten minutes.
And for dessert...
There are many recipes to finish a satisfying Jerte meal, or simply enjoy it between meals. But if there is something more typical than cherries in the area, it is chestnuts. Here, called "calvotes", they are nothing more than roasted chestnuts.
However, if you've had enough of them... why not finish off with a delicious cherry mousse?