Spanish Spices, the Saffron and Pimentón Route
Nine days gourmet tour through Extremadura & La Mancha
B: Breakfast / L: Lunch / D: Dinner
Day One – Madrid
You will arrive in Madrid and check in at your 4-star hotel, a renovated historical building with the perfect location in the heart of town. Take your time to settle in, relax, and “make yourself at home”; the day is yours to rest, perhaps take a stroll and begin to discover this glorious city…
In the evening, meet your guide and the rest of the group; share a welcome drink at your hotel.
Night in Madrid.
Day Two – North of Extremadura, Jarandilla de la Vera
After breakfast, you’ll set off on your journey. We’ll take you to Jarandilla de la Vera, in the North of Extremadura, with a stop at the beautiful Parador de Oropesa for a coffee break.
For the following two nights, you’ll be lodged at the Parador de Jarandilla, sited in a 15th century castle, one of the network’s most beautiful venues. Check in and take some time to settle in, before taking a drive to nearby Plasencia for a splendid lunch, an introduction to local cuisine in one of the best restaurants in the area.
After lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to visit this monumental medieval city. Your stroll through the incredible cultural legacy, the ancient city walls, and the narrow winding streets will be a journey back in time.
Back at the Parador, you’ll have the rest of the day to yourself, with the evening and dinner on your own.
Night in Jarandilla.
Day Three – The land of Pimentón
Today you’ll be making an excursion through the beautiful landscapes of Extremadura, to the fields where lie the unique peppers that produce the incomparable Pimentón de la Vera, certified with its own Designation of Origin. You’ll witness the harvest and traditional smoking of the peppers, the way it’s been done for centuries.
To complete your experience with this unique ingredient, visit La Dalia, one of the best pimentón companies in Spain, for a first-hand look at how they grind and process the peppers. Then sit down to a hearty lunch at a selected local restaurant, based on the rural cuisine of the region and highlighting, of course, preparations with pimentón.
In the afternoon, you’ll be visiting the Monastery of Yuste. This impressive 15th Century construction, with its lavish gardens and architectural legacy going from Gothic to Renaissance times, possesses extraordinary beauty and peacefulness; so much so that it is where Emperor Charles V made his home during his final years.
Upon returning to the Parador, the rest of the day is free for you to enjoy on your own.
Night in Jarandilla.
Day Four – Toledo, a three cultures city
Early this morning we’ll be driving to Toledo, one of the most important historical cities in Spain, where Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures shared and cultivated a peaceful medieval society for centuries. Check in at one of the best hotels in town, with the perfect location, within close walking distance from the Old Town.
Enjoy a guided visit to Toledo. Even a short stroll around this beautiful medieval city will give you an idea of its impressive cultural heritage. Well-known for its rich Jewish history – second only to Cordova – Toledo will also amaze you with its majestic Gothic cathedral, the ancient city walls, the elegant noble homes… You’ll be taking a journey back in time in the mysterious, narrow and winding streets of the old town.
You’ll have the opportunity to see the age-old wine cellar of Restaurante Adolfo, one of the finest venues in Toledo, where you’ll sit down to a delicious dinner, displaying a number of mouth-watering regional specialties.
Night in Toledo.
Day Five – Cooking class in Toledo
This morning, take part in cooking class using saffron as the key ingredient. Our professional instructor will help you prepare and enjoy traditional recipes that you can take back and share with your friends at home! The prepared dishes will be your lunch accompanied by fine Spanish wines.
Enjoy a free time to visit one of the many museums, maybe take part in the hustle and bustle of the downtown shopping district, get a quick bite in one of the artisan bakeries or pastry shops, or perhaps sit for coffee in one of the picturesque corners of the city’s many plazas (squares).
Dinner will be on your own.
Night in Toledo.
Day Six – Manchego cheese and Almagro
You’ll be leaving Toledo today, and travelling through the Trail of Don Quixote, the land of the authentic, world-famous Manchego cheese. After a short stop in Tembleque to visit its original Plaza Mayor, meet with an artisan cheese producer to gain first-hand understanding of the craft of making this famous sheep cheese, protected by its own Designation of Origin.
Enjoy an appetizing cheese tasting at this quesería, and a scrumptious rustic lunch to follow (open air if weather allows!). Then continue to Almagro, where you’ll check in at your hotel, the stunning Parador de Almagro, housed in a 16th Century Franciscan Convent.
When you’ve settled in, your first outing here will be a guided visit around Almagro, probably the most charming monumental town in La Mancha, with the oldest theater in Europe, still in use! Dinner will be on your own.
Night in Almagro.
Day Seven – Through the trails of Don Quixote
The day will start very early, as you will be enjoying a very unique experience… You’ll visit the fields during the harvest of saffron, the world’s most expensive and highly appreciated spice, in the land where it is produced with the highest quality. The harvest generally takes place within a two-week period in the month of October, with daily flowering that lasts but a few hours.
See the roseras (specially skilled women) collecting the flowers of saffron, and learn about the monda or “peeling” of the saffron flowers (separation of the stigma), the toasting and drying process, and finally the packaging, all of them using traditional methods.
Then it’s off for a tour of La Mancha’s famous windmills. These fabulous structures, literally centuries old, are still standing in many areas, and will bring you back to Spain’s Golden Age, and the time when Cervantes wrote Don Quixote de la Mancha.
Lunch will be served at a select venue in the area, and once again you’ll continue to discover the culinary delights of the region. After lunch, the rest of the day is free for you to enjoy on your own.
Night in Almagro.
Day Eight – Saffron Festival
After breakfast, you’ll be moving to Consuegra, “the capital of saffron”, to attend the Festival de la Rosa del Azafrán (Saffron Rose Festival). Share this colorful and lively yearly event with the locals, combining the lifelong tradition of saffron production with their culture and folklore… see the mondadoras at work, competing in dexterity, admire the elegance of the regional dresses, join in the traditional music and dances, with food and drink to last the whole day long!
On your way back to Madrid, stop for a wonderful lunch at Michelin starred restaurant El Bohio, in Illescas, where you will enjoy an unforgettable farewell lunch to say goodbye to your travel colleagues and guide after this amazing tour.
Night in Madrid.
After a delicious breakfast, we’ll be saying goodbye so you can return back home… or maybe continue your trip in Spain!
A friendly English-speaking guide, specialized in gastronomy, will be joining you throughout your tour
Welcome drink for a relaxing first meeting with your guide
8 nights’ accommodation in fine hotels with excellent location
6 Lunches and 1 dinner, with specially designed menus, accompanied with fine Spanish wines
1 Hands-on Cooking Class, with your guide as interpreter
Dossier with the recipes in English, for you to practice at home!
Culinary and cultural visits, including town tours, field visits for saffron and pimentón, a cheese producer, the Quixote Trail, the Saffron Festival…
Private, chauffeured transfers by deluxe bus
Entry fees as per the itinerary
All local taxes