Bread making, Alentejo Bread making, Alentejo

The Alentejo is widely known as the breadbasket of Portugal. My impression of the region is coloured by endless fields, dotted with cork trees casting small shadows under their broad canopies in the scorching sun. I visited first during a rainy week in spring and then again in late summer, when the earth was scorched dry and the thermometer in the rental car rarely went below 35C. At first glance it’s hard to imagine the land producing much in the way of fresh produce, and yet the dinner tables in the guesthouses and hotels we stayed at offered proof of the richness of the harvest.

Thanks to the almost guaranteed abundance of hot summer sunshine, the fields of the Alentejo are well-suited for growing wheat and grain. This is reflected in the variety and quality of the bread on offer. Stop by a traditional kitchen and you may see freshly baked bread being lifted from a wood-fired oven, in a process which has changed little over the generations. I remember the bread we were routinely served at the table for its tasty crust. The best way to eat is to dip it in locally produced olive oil; you’ll never want to go back to butter again. Açorda is a soup made with stale bread. Don’t be put off though; it’s perfect for thickening sauces, stews and in this case, soups. There are an infinite number of recipes, and typically it’s been a case of adding what’s available to flavour the soup. You’ll find seafood and meat varieties, and it’s a perfect dish in the cooler months.

Pork is another staple food here, and along with the highly prized black pork which you can find on many menus, there are some imaginative flavours of sausages and stews. Carne de porco à alentejana is a stew made with pork and shellfish, soaked in white wine, and accompanied by healthy quantities of garlic and herbs. A very popular accompaniment to the region’s main dishes is wild asparagus. It’s served as a stand-alone side dish, or can be mixed with pork fat and stale bread (there’s a theme here; nothing is wasted), to make asparagus migas, a local speciality and a classic comfort dish.

The coastal part of the Alentejo offers lighter, less fatty fare, but based on my own experience I wouldn’t expect to by any less full when you leave the dinner table. Cataplana de Peixe is a rich, tasty stew cooked and served in a large metal dish. Along with clams, prawns, and fish you’ll find varying amounts of tomato, garlic, coriander, peppers and potatoes. My advice is to order a bottle of wine (local of course), make sure you’re not in a hurry, and take as long as you need to enjoy the more-than-generous dish and do it justice. If you have a smaller appetite, don’t miss the fresh sardines which are grilled in pretty much every restaurant along the coast.

The 7-night ‘Discover the Gastronomic Soul of Portugal‘ itinerary offers wine tasting, fresh seafood and plenty of encounters with traditional regional favourites. And with the Euro weaker than it has been for many years, the prices of restaurant meals for British visitors are very reasonable.

by Andy Jarosz

The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

15th July 2015



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

Sunvil's holidays are designed by passionate travellers just like you. Our reservations experts and product teams, many of whom have been with us for many years, are passionate about our destinations and, through their personal, first-hand knowledge can answer any questions that you may have. They are well qualified to advise and recommend, based on your own holiday criteria. We can point you to those special, little-known places, some not found even in guidebooks.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8568 4499

We're open tomorrow at 9:00 AM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Details

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Preferred UK departure airport *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account


Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close