This is a place where wine-pairing takes on a life of its own and turns into a full sensory experience. Piedad, the owner, has many years of experience and is very passionate about Extremeño wines. Start the humble cayetana grape, which was originally used to produce alcohol but now lends its essence to the Bodegas Payva white which began our supper. It has notes of pineapple and mango, perfect for accompanying a salad of Iberian ham and figs. Piedad then told us about the little-known “umami” flavor.
The pairing menu offers three plates and three wines and her guidance and information through the process was spot-on. If you want to enjoy a tasting and learn about the culture of wine, they’ve even created an elaborate color coding system: “Emotions and Sensations” with suggestions for irritated, passionate, fickle, and other emotions.
We were able to sample the best of Extremeño cuisine via a tasting menu that formed part of the “Regional Flavors Culinary Festival” (“Quincena Gastronómica Sabores con D.O.) on the Ribera del Guadiana Wine Route. We tried ham from Dehesa de Extremadura on toast drizzled with Monterubio olive oil and garlic. The migas are a classic, but the Antojito “caldillo” (stew) was a surprise hit, just like the rabbit with rice or the fine Iberian pork cheeks in red wine. This goes along with the idea that the cuisine is intended to go in harmony with the Ribera del Guadiana wines.
We couldn’t leave without asking about the traditional “Tecula Mecula” dessert, a semi-sweet almond-based affair, and the Tarta de Bellota. Since we went as a group, we were able to try all of the dishes. Although the restaurant’s website advertises traditional cuisine, the restaurant itself was airy, modern, and luminous and made for a wonderful place to relax before continuing our journey.