Your visit will demonstrate the reason for the value placed on this violet blossom -flowering for a short period of just hours, the flowers need to be hand harvested in the fields in just a couple of weeks period of late October, to obtain the best saffron in the world. After the picking of the flowers, the "mondadoras" or petal-strippers separate the stigmas from the rest of the flower, to be toasted. All this centuries-old ritual culminates in its special festival that usually takes places on last Sunday of October in Consuegra. The "Festival de la Rosa del Azafrán" is still an authentic folk festival.
Prior to this culminating weekend, our culinary guide will take you through other delights of central Spain and La Mancha, such as Manchego cheese, in many cases following the rustic route of Don Quixote. Coupled with this, we will also visit La Vera in Extremadura, whose pimentón (paprika) remains one of the Spanish Kitchen's defining ingredients. Capsicum peppers have a short period of harvesting as well, coincident in time with the saffron one. Overnight stays in Jarandilla de la Vera, Toledo, Almagro, will leave us with the opportunity to host meals in the best known and representative kitchens of the region. Cooking demonstrations using these wonderful spices will also be part of the program.
Day 1: Madrid
You will arrive to Madrid and will be lodged in a 4 stars centrally located hotel, placed in a historic building in the old part of the city. You will enjoy the day on your own, to rest, to go for a walk. Evening welcome drink and meeting with the group and the guide at the own hotel. Overnight in Madrid.
Day 2: Madrid - Oropesa - Jarandilla De La Vera - Plasencia - Jarandilla De La Vera
Breakfast. After breakfast, we will take you to Jarandilla de la Vera in the North of Extremadura, with a stop in Oropesa to have coffee break at the Parador. For the following two nights you will be lodged at the Parador of Jarandilla, a real castle and one of the Parador's net most beautiful hotels. After checking-in, we will transfer you to Plasencia for lunch in one of the best restaurants in the area. You will have the opportunity of visiting this splendid medieval monumental city. Back to el Parador, you will have evening and dinner on your own. Overnight in Jarandilla de la Vera. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Jarandilla De La Vera - Exploring Pepper Fields And Paprika Grinding
Breakfast. After breakfast, we will bring you to visit the fields of peppers, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. You will see the harvest and traditional smoking of the peppers, the way it has been done for centuries. To complete your experience with this unique ingredient, you will visit La Dalia, one of the best pimentón (paprika) companies to see how they process the peppers: the grinding. Lunch in the area will be based on the regional rural cuisine and will include, of course, preparations with pimentón. For this afternoon we have planned a visit to the Monastery of Yuste, impressive place where Emperor Carlos V decided to end his days, such is the beauty and peacefulness of this monastery and its gardens. Dinner free. Overnight in Jarandilla de la Vera. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 4: Jarandilla De La Vera – Toledo
Breakfast. Early transfer to Toledo, one of the most historical towns in Spain, where Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures used to share a cultivated and peaceful medieval society. You will be lodged for this and next night in one of the best hotels, very well located under walking distance of the old Toledo. You will have the opportunity of visiting the very old cellar of restaurant Adolfo, one of the best addresses in Toledo, where you will enjoy your lunch. Paprika and Saffron will be some of the ingredients in the menu. Late afternoon guided visit of Toledo, including the extraordinary El Greco's painting. Dinner on your own. Overnight in Toledo. Include: (B), (L).
Day 5: Toledo - Los Yebenes - Toledo
Breakfast. You will have the morning free to visit museums, shopping, etc. Transfer to the Yebenes and lunch in a well known restaurant of La Mancha, specializing in the preparation of game recipes (alternatively, those who don't like game can enjoy lunch at another restaurant in Toledo). Back to Toledo, free time. Evening cooking lesson using saffron as ingredient. Dinner will consist on the prepared dishes. Overnight in Toledo. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Toledo - Tembleque – Almagro
Breakfast. You will leave Toledo through the trails of Don Quixote, the land of the authentic Manchego cheese. After a short stop in Tembleque to visit its original Plaza Mayor, meet with an artisan cheese producer to know how they elaborate this famous sheep cheese protected by a Denomination of Origin. Tasting of the cheese and rural lunch (open air if weather allows it) at this "queseria". You will continue to Almagro. Check-in at the Parador of Almagro. Guided visit of Almagro, historic town with the oldest theatre in Europe still in functioning. Dinner in the best restaurant in Almagro focusing on the most authentic recipes of La Mancha. Overnight in Almagro. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Almagro - Visiting The Fields To See The Saffron Flower Being Harvested
Breakfast. Day will start very early for visiting the fields to see the harvest of the saffron flowers- only possible time to see that- and rural farms. A unique experience! Visit of the fabulous windmills, famous since Cervantes wrote Don Quixote de la Mancha. Return to Almagro for lunch. Free time and dinner on your own. Overnight in Almagro. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 8: Almagro - Consuegra - Madrid
Breakfast. After breakfast, transfer to Consuegra, the saffron capital to attend to the Festival of the Rosa del Azafran. You will share with locals and visitors this once a year Festival, where you will see how the "mondadoras" do their work with the saffron flowers as well as regional dancing. Typical lunch there. Transfer to Madrid and lodging there. You will enjoy your farewell dinner in a traditional restaurant, a "classic" of the capital of Spain. Overnight in Madrid. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Madrid. Breakfast. Independent departure arrangements. Includes: (B).
Notes: When you book your vacation, an agreement is made between you, our company and others who provide services. Upon request we can provide you with our general terms and conditions governing the provision of these holidays. A non-refundable upfront initial deposit of 200 Euros is due within 7 days of the initial booking request. Final payment is due 45 days before the tour departure. Within 45 day full payment is due upon booking request. All prices, itinerary etc. listed are subject to change without notice. No unused portion of the vacation can be refunded. Cancellation penalties apply and change fees after booking is confirmed, refer to our general terms Please inquire for pre or post tour add-ons / hotel stays.
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