By Margaux Cintrano
Photos: The Parador Hotels ( Bilingual Website: Http://www.parador.es )
unless otherwise stated
Avda. Garcia Prieto 1
Jarandilla de La Vera, Extremadura, Spain 10450
Located in the county of La Vera, Cáceres, snuggly nestled in the Grédos Mountain Range, the XV Century restored castle of Emperor Carlos V, this royal gem of the Renaissance awaits you.
Emperor Carlos V, was the most powerful man in the world. During his reign he resided in this historic 15th century castle for almost one year (November 12th, 1556 until February 3rd, 1557), before retiring to the Yuste Monastery, 8 kilometres away in Cuacos, a visit not to be missed.
This renovated 4 star hotel is a fortified 15th century castle which dates back to the Counts of Oropesa and was built over the ruins of a fortress that had been reconstructed centuries later and was inhabited by King Alfonso XIII. It has all that a castle should have: a Blue Room with a fireplace, 15th century tapestries, a Salon of Portraits, a Patio of Arms, robust corner towers, migrating storks, embrasures, machicolations, turrets for gunners and heraldic shielded crests.
The Italian Renaissance prevails throughout and the dining room views look out onto a beautiful courtyard, which is a sanctuary covered in ivy, shaded by palms depicting the region´s micro climate and houses a fountain, all creating the privileged paradise for after dinner drinks and conversation through late Autumn.
Through the years, without sacrificing the original structures, one enters across a draw-bridge between two cubic fortress towers. Conquering visitors´ emotions are the breathtakingly beautiful gardens chockful of lilac bushes, ancient eucalyptus trees, orange trees, and the lovely swimming pool. This is a nobleman´s castle in every sense of the word.
NOBLE ROOM 219 WITH BALCONY & GARDEN VIEWS
My room, one of the best in the house, amidst the aromatic gardens complete with private balcony, provided a royal refuge in this privileged paradise of sweet dreams.
CAPACITY FOR BOOKINGS
The three story castle houses 52 renovated rooms which seduce and safe keep the treasures of royalty in its salons and common spaces. Debonair Mâite Julian Sevilla informed us that the hotel is fully equipped for those requiring handicap railings, business conventions, christenings, family celebrations and weddings with a capacity for 250 people. The restaurant holds up to 80 people and special breakfasts for up to 60 people.
INTERVIEW WITH CHEF JUAN ANTONIO RAMOS DE LA CALLE
Margaux: Tell us about the specialties of the house.
Chef Juan: Firstly, the designation of origin, La Vera is renowned for their goat cheese and the four varieties I am going to provide for you are Quesuco Blue Vein, which has an extraordinarily creamy texture; Pimenton which has a smoked paprika rind and is a semi soft variety; the French style roll Rulo de Cabra , and the ecological mild semi soft.
Margaux: What is your culinary philosophy?
Chef Juan: Clearly, it is to cook with what the environment provides, a united team, to teach, the content, the affection and passion, new technology and the traditional with the regional and seasonal, the product, the textures; I consider myself the Santi Santamaria extremeño.
Margaux: Interesting analogy. Where are you from, Chef Juan Antonio ?
Chef Juan: Right here, I was born and raised in the historic town of Jarandilla de La Vera.
Margaux: What are the winter products that you employ in your menus ?
Chef Juan: Quail, partridge, rabbit, wild mushrooms, Boletus Eduli, and wild boar, fresh figs, the La Vera smoked paprika called Pimentón, Iberian acorn fed ham, cod fish, fresh river carp and fresh wild trout and herrings.
Margaux: Which celebrities have your cooked for ?
Chef Juan: I have cooked for various members of the Spanish Royal Family, former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, vocalist Shakira and Alejandro Sanz who both have homes in Jarandilla de La Vera.
Margaux: Do you listen to music in your kitchen while preparing ?
Chef Juan: Definitely, as I am a hobbyist Flamenco guitarist. This inspires me .
THE EMPEROR´s TABLE
BACKGROUND ON THE GOVERNMENT OWNED PARADOR-HOTEL CHAIN
In 1928, the Spanish government, at the initiative of Marqués Vega Inclán and King Alfonso XIII, opened the first Hotel Parador of Tourism in the heart of the Gredos Mountain Range in Navarredonda de Gredos, Ávila.
Since then, the Parador Hotel Network has been rescuing ancient hilltop castles, intriguing historic fortresses, impressively enchanting monasteries, majestic medieval convents, princely mansions, massive octagonal towers and noblemens´ manor houses.
My belief is that all 83 of the paradors are worth visiting 365 days a year.
Felipe González uploaded by user Rastrojo (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Rastrojo), CC-BY 2.0
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