Traditional fare from the Alentejo region Traditional fare from the Alentejo region

For foodies, the traditional Alentejo fare offers much to savour in the region’s many excellent restaurants. Try the freshest of fish from the nearby coast, the many cheeses and locally-reared lamb and beef and the world famous ham from black pigs fed on acorns from the cork trees. The area is known as the bread basket of Portugal and boasts vast fields of wheat and other grains.

Like all world-beating cuisine, the food of the Alentejo developed out of limited resources. A land suited to growing wheat and grain provided the perfect environment for baking breads and rearing pigs. Consequently, the region produces a wealth of traditional Portuguese presunto, chouriço, blood sausage and the famous Alentejo black pork, offering the foodie-explorer a feast of cured delights. Grain is used to create a range of breads, perfect for dipping in fruity local olive oil, but even better put to use in the traditional Açorda sauce, the base for a number of regional specialities. Dishes such as Carne de Porco à Alentejana – pork and clams marinated in garlic, coriander and white wine – or Ensopado de Norrego, a lamb and Açorda dish – provide a unique culinary experience.

Alentejo is famed for its sweets and cakes Alentejo is famed for its sweets and cakes

Not to be missed are the creamy sheep’s milk cheeses of Serra, Niza and Evora. Try the buttery descendent of the traditional Queijo da Serra, a sweet and versatile cheese which is served as a dessert as often as it is an appetiser. For the fan of a stronger, more mature cheese, the semi-hard Queijo de Evora delivers a mouth-wateringly peppery taste; both are ideal with a glass of spicy Alentejo red. If local wines excite you, take a look at the Alentejo wine routes information.

The best-kept secret of the region, however, is the glorious range of traditional sweets – many of which you won’t believe exist until you try them. Named after saints and heavenly graces and made from egg yolks, bread and almonds, sweetened with sugar, honey and cinnamon, the recipe for each traditional sweet can be traced back to convents dotted about the region. From one sweet to the next, each varies in its preparation; be sure to try Elvas da Sericá, baked on a traditional tin plate and served with ripe plums, or Pão de Rala, a cake made with almonds and pumpkin, originating from the nuns of St Helena do Calvário.

The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

16th April 2018



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

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