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.