If there is a word that can summarise the excellent cuisine of Caceres, it is undoubtedly pork. Pork products, cured entirely with paprika, fill entire recipe books, especially due to the influence of Portuguese cuisine in their stews.
In addition to being a land of slaughter, Caceres offers prodigious garden products and simple but popular desserts.
Paths full of flavours
The spread of the Roman Way had an enormous influence on the cuisine of Caceres by bringing different flavours to Castile – a fact that increased its popularity.
This confluence of roads, especially during turbulent historical periods, was responsible for the invention of a succulent and versatile menu whose standout delicacies include Alcántara-style partridges. Their popularity increased during the invasion by Napoleonic troops.
Ironically, this 1808 invasion was one of the reasons why the gastronomy of Caceres became popular beyond the Spanish borders.
This was because among the war trophies was a traditional recipe book from Caceres. This book was highly appreciated both by the imperial court and among the famous French chefs of that time.
The pig, hunting and fishing
Pig farming is highly developed in Caceres. This has resulted in a huge variety of products that are very popular for their quality and flavour.
One example is “chirrichofla”, or fried ham, meat, loin and other leftovers from the pig slaughter. Others are Montánchez ham, delicious chorizos, patatera and sausage loin, among many others.
From this enormous amount of by-products, delicious and abundant dishes are made, such as the pastor's gazpachos, famous Extremadura crumbs and “pringadas”, made with minced chorizo. Another delicious dish made from these pork by-products are “caldillo”, an exquisite stew made directly from the slaughter.
In addition to pork, the culinary menu of Caceres offers dishes made with lamb – for example, the famous Extremaduran frite, fried lamb prepared with paprika, and cachuela a la cacereña, which is roast lamb tails.
The abundant and varied river fishing from Caceres, especially tench, led to the creation of the so-called Tench Festival, an event so striking and important that Extremadura declared it a Festival of Gastronomic Tourist Interest.
The land of Caceres offers a real treasure, including a large number of vegetables and fruits such as cherries, watermelons, melons, onions, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, asparagus and tomatoes.
This enormous variety is transformed into dishes such as gazpacho from Caceres, made of onion, tomato, pepper, cucumber, salt, oil, vinegar, water and bread, as well as asparagus gazpacho.
There are also pickled potatoes, zorongollo salad, trembling potatoes and, especially, the popular “aguao”, a gazpacho made with water, onion, vinegar and oil mixed in a bowl as if it were a gazpacho, along with a potato soup or tomato.
Simple but delicious pastry
Although the confectionery from Caceres could be called simple, it is full of conventional sweets whose simplicity is the real secret of its popularity. Among its many sweets, “perrunillas”, “alfajor” donuts, “buñuelos de viento”, “pestiños” and “mantecados” and “hornazos” stand out.
Certain traditional sweets are usually eaten at specific events. For example, “sapillos”, which in some localities are known as sweet “repápalos”, are consumed during Holy Week.
Also, there are “crispiones” and “floretas”. The latter are sweets usually served at weddings.