Algarve Culinary, Dining and Drinking
Portugal and the Algarve have a lot to offer in terms of food and drink. Known are Port wine, Douro wine, sparkling Vinho Verde, spicy chicken Piri Piri, pastel de nata and the Algarve is famous for its fresh seafood and cataplana. Anyone who has a winter holiday for a longer period of time will not eat in a restaurant every evening. So, winter visitors who like cooking could try the Portuguese kitchen. Fresh ingredients are easily available and there is a lot of choices, both in the supermarkets and in the cosy local markets. The large supermarkets sell, among other things, products directly from the farmer and there are also plenty of cosy village markets to stock up on vegetables, meat and sweets. In Portimão at the Mercado Municipal, but also in Silves, you can buy the freshest fish, with of course the famous sardines. Loulé has a large covered market and every Saturday morning the largest market in the Algarve takes place there. A feast for the true foodie. Whether you eat out or cook yourself, the Portuguese kitchen has the most delicious flavours, baked goods, smells and dishes and we have listed a few of them for you.
Pastel de Nata.
The custard pastry is deliciously sweet and can be bought in the pasteleria, the bakery. Made famous by Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon, it has now also found its way to other parts of Europe. For those who would like to learn how to make it themselves during their winter holidays, there are workshops at pastelerias and sometimes at a local’s home.
The one-pan dish in the round copper pan, the cataplana. There are several dishes, but the best known is seafood such as mussels, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. All ingredients are steamed in the copper pan with the convex lid. The pan is a nice souvenir to take home and can be bought at the big supermarket around Carvoeiro and Portimao.
Spicy chicken served with tomato salad and home fries originated in Guia, “O Capital do Frango” as it is called. Meanwhile, the dish has become popular everywhere outside Portugal and is not too complicated to prepare yourself. Take chicken, oil and lots and lots of Piri Piri, garlic and grill away.
Tarte or torte de Amêndoa.
The almond tree was probably brought to the Algarve by the Moors. The almond blossom can be admired by hibernators as early as January and the almonds can be picked in the autumn. From the almonds, marzipan in fruit shapes, among other things, is made and available all year round. Tarte de amandoa is a traditional cake made of flour, sugar, butter and almonds and is often eaten for dessert.
Sopa de Abóbora e Castahnas.
Or chestnut soup. Around St Martin’s Day in November, the chestnuts in Portugal are ripe and fall from the trees. Chestnut vendors appear in the streets with their carts, spreading the familiar sweet smell of roasted chestnuts. The soup is made with chestnuts and pumpkin or potato and is eaten with bread like the pão caseiro.
Bon appetit, hibernators!