Category Archives: Fairs, Festivals & Markets

Feira da Sopa in Rogil

We’ve attended many fairs and festivals in Portugal, however this has to rank as not only the most interesting but the most humbling lesson in social integration and how welcoming a small community can be.

The day of the “Feira da Sopa” (Soup Fair) dawned cold, damp and miserable. In fact, it was the sort of bleak February day where you could quite happily stayed at home curled up in front of a roaring log fire with a good book and not travelled miles to visit a soup fair.

My favourite Sopa do Mar at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil

My favourite Sopa do Mar at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil

When we arrived black clouds loomed ominously so you can imagine our relief when we discovered the event was held in what can best be described as the village community centre. Not knowing what to expect we tentatively entered the hall where a throng of people had already gathered and were all talking at once. If you are unfamiliar with the area, Rogil is a typical farming community in the Western Algarve. Families have lived there for generations, and as such, are a very close-knit community. The atmosphere, although welcoming, reminded me of a large family wedding, and us neither guests of the bride or groom.

Tables and chairs were neatly arranged round the edge of the room with a large space set aside for dancing. We made ourselves comfortable and “people watched” as we waited patiently along with all the other spectators. The organizers arrived, set up displays, tested the microphone and generally stood around clutching clipboards and looking important (busy).

According to the poster advertising the event it started at 15.30 hrs, but of course it didn’t. The trouble is, being typically English we have this fixation about punctuality and we can’t seem to grasp the simple principle that NOTHING in Portugal EVER starts on time. Honestly, you could train your pet dog quicker!

Fortunately, the bar did open on time so armed with large plastic cups full of rustic red wine (aka courage) we mingled with the locals trying to discover exactly what was happening, or going to happen. Now in a country where you speak the lingo this is easy, but not when you don’t. I soon realised, as my friends looked at me expectantly, that the boundaries of my pidgin Portuguese just did not extend to the finer points of a “Feira da Sopa”, especially without any previous frame of reference to draw on. The only facts I knew for certain were: there was soup (maybe free), music and dancing. However, it soon became clear as we “mingled” that we were strangers and the only non-Portuguese speaking people in the room.

People arrived, carefully carrying large soup pots of various shapes and sizes, and directed to a long table. We watched proceedings with curiosity as each pot had its own dedicated space and a sign describing the soup along with a list of its ingredients. I take numerous photographs, and thanks to my exceptional powers of deduction, I concludethere are two types of soup – Sopa da Terra and Sopa do Mar – I translate these to mean “ Soup of the Land and Soup of the Sea. So far so good, but what did we do? We are still puzzled.

Waiting to be judged

Waiting to be judged

We then discovered a stall selling terracotta commemorative soup dishes so keen to support the event we bought one each. Besides, how else would we eat the soup?

While mingling and taking photographs my friend fortunately met someone who spoke English and the missing pieces of the puzzle finally came together. This was Rogil’s first “Feira da Sopa” which is actually a soup competition. Suddenly as the mist of confusion lifted we looked at each other in one of those special “ah hah” moments! Apparently, each competitor cooks a soup which is assessed by the panel of judges. Once the judging process is complete, the public, that’s us, can try all the different soups free. Now I know why there were so many people standing around with clipboards – they are the judges waiting for all the competitors to arrive with their soup.

As the judges tasted the various soups, pulled faces and made notes the competitors looked nervous, and I felt nervous for them.

Judging at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil

Judging at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil

A crackling noise from the microphone, followed by a high pitch whistle of feedback demanded our attention; one of the organisers was on stage and about to make an announcement. As he spoke with joviality his words accentuated by vigorous shoulder shrugging and expressive hand waving, I tried desperately to translate. Our friends looked at me expectantly; almost willing me to understand as if by praying for divine intervention, I would miraculously understand. However, there was no divine intervention, and no miracle. My limited grasp of the Portuguese language left me feeling frustrated and inadequate. Why, despite extensive study, do I seem to have such a mental block with languages?

We looked to the other spectators for inspiration. The judging complete, competitors served their soup to eager spectators and like lemmings we willingly joined the nearest queue. We tasted all the soups including fish, cabbage and a delicious pumpkin and curry soup which we later discovered won first place in the “Sopa da Terra” category. Emboldened by several glasses of “courage”, aka red wine, and several bowls of hearty Portuguese soup I quickly overcame my initial shyness as I attempted to make polite conversation in Portuguese, while I stood in the queue.

Dancing at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil

Dancing at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil

As the queues dwindled and dancing commenced I noticed all the women sat in groups, while most of the men loitered by the exit from the hall and entrance to the bar. So the women danced together while the men watched. Fascinated, I listened to the accordion player, picked up the beat of the music and studied the feet of the dancers. The dance did not look that difficult I thought, so in a moment’s insanity I pulled my friend on to the dance floor and we shuffled round with four left feet between us. The dance, almost like a galloping two-step with extra steps thrown in here and there for good measure, is harder than it looked. Hoping for inspiration we shadowed other dancers who encouraged and approved of our efforts with a smile and a nod. I don’t know whether my fitness was an issue or the elderly Portuguese women superhuman, but as the last bars of music played I gasped for breath and mopped my sweating brow with a tissue.

Suddenly the music stopped, there was a hushed silence and the microphone crackled to life once again. We turned to see what was happening; all the judges were on stage and a hushed silence enveloped the spectators and competitors. Various announcements ensued then enthusiastically received with applause as some competitors were summoned to the stage and presented with a plaque. Ah ha, they are announcing the winners!

Announcing the winners at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil, Western Algarve

Announcing the winners at the Feira da Sopa in Rogil, Western Algarve

We thoroughly enjoyed the Feira da Sopa and look forward to discovering more Feiras across the Algarve and Alentajo in the future. However, next time I will take my dictionary and swot up on some relevant vocabulary beforehand.

Article first published at ExpatFocus.com

Related Posts

Is Language a Barrier to Social Integration in Portugal?

Silves Medieval Fair 2012 – Feira Medieval Silves

Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais de Serra de Monchique

Silves Medieval Fair: 9th – 15th August, 2011

Festival da Batata-Doce de Aljezur

Boa Páscoa – Happy Easter!

Folar da Páscoa - Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

Folar da Páscoa – Traditional Portuguese Easter Bread

I don’t have any pictures of Easter Bunnies or Easter Eggs, so hope a picture of Folar da Páscoa will suffice.

I’d planned to drag Mr. Piglet along to a Folar da Páscoa festival today. However, as it’s being held outside and the weather is SO awful I will have to wait until next year! Mr. Piglet breathed a BIG sigh of relief! First time I’ve heard him cheer because it’s raining.

Related posts
Folar da Páscoa

BBQ’d Piglet on Market Day

Market day in Portugal is always an interesting and colourful experience...

Market day in Portugal is always an interesting and colourful experience…

Beginning to feel faint from the intense heat I paused in the shade of a large tree to people-watch. I smiled as tourists, oblivious to the scorching sun and their already lobster-red arms and faces, rummaged enthusiastically through the clothes stalls.

Brightly coloured tie-dye dresses and tops at just two for €15.00 were waved in tourists faces by sellers with eager smiles looking for a sale.

“Good price, you buy, you buy! Quinze eur-rosh. Muita Bonita.”

“Good price, Senhora, good price!”

I am not sure if the tourists eventually bought the clothes as a means of escape, or because they genuinely liked the unusual multi-coloured tie-dyed effect of the material. Either way, as I observed from a distance I was almost tempted to buy one of the fun dresses myself. That is, until I realized, the material was see through and I immediately lost interest. The outline of my posterior is definitely not sexy and would only detract from the dress so I smugly continued to observe proceedings from a safe distance as the tortured tourists parted with their money.

Serves me right for laughing – then the fun began!

My market “experience” continues over at Expat Focus. If you found my experience amusing please like, tweet and leave your comments there.

Silves Medieval Fair 2012 – Feira Medieval Silves

The Medieval Fair held in the historic town of Silves is our favourite event of the year. In fact, we enjoy it so much it’s always the first social event flagged, in advance, on our Calender. If you live in the Algarve and have never been to the Silves Medieval fair you must go once, to at least savour the experience. And if you are on holiday it’s definitely worth a visit. Our family members from the UK book their annual holiday in August to coincide with the fair so they can enjoy the ambience and festivities.

The steep cobbled streets in Silves are lined with a great variety of stalls selling amazing handcrafted jewellery, wooden toys, wooden masks, unusual clothes and costumes, dried fruit and nuts, armour, candles and liquors to list just a few of the items on offer. There is also a host of street entertainment throughout the evening.

We arrived about 18.00, so we were in good time to see the opening procession.

After the procession we took a leisurely wander round the stalls armed with mugs of Sangria, purchased en route! You are charged for the pottery mug so hang on to it as there are several stalls selling Sangria and you then only buy refils. The rustic terracotta mugs also make a great keepsake – I now have several in my collection.

As you can see from the photographs the best time to look round the stalls is before the crowds arrive. Later, sharp elbows are needed to edge your way through the throng to see the stalls! There are plenty of bargains to be had, so take courage and haggle on price. You may not always be successful, but our son saved over €10 on his purchases.

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Several Sangrias later we walked down to the arena to watch the jousting. It was not jousting as we know it in the UK, but was fun nevertheless. The horsemanship was amazing! Here is a short video.

And my favourite photograph!

Jousting at Silves Medieval Fair, Algarve - Portugal

Jousting at Silves Medieval Fair Feira Medieval Silves, Algarve – Portugal

Hungry after the jousting we walked back up the hill to buy something to eat from one of the food stalls. I personally wanted the comfort of a restaurant rather than sitting on spikey straw bales. However, Mr. Piglet and son wanted hog roast and a more “rustic” ambience. Hmmm nice, not! Next year I choose!

Tip: Never mind dainty fashion shoes, the streets are steep and the calçada (cobbled stone) is like black ice and extremely slippery – wear something flat and practical with a non-slip sole.

Related posts:
Silves Medieval Fair: 9th – 15th August, 2011
Silves Medieval Fair 2010

A Visit to São Teotónio Market

I enjoy going to the country markets and one of my favourites is the market at São Teotónio near Odemeira, in the Alentajo. I refer to the term “country” because I’m not so keen on the markets held in the tourist towns of the Algarve. These are usually full of the rip-off-tat such as fake designer clothes, watches, sunglasses and general toot (slang for rubbish). To be fair, there are also many useful items for sale as well, but when I can buy these from local shops and supermarkets for the same price or even less, and the stall holders won’t negotiate what’s the point?

You also have to contend with the over-eager gypsy sellers who thrust their wares in your face while clinging to your arm to detain you in a desperate attempt to make a sale – they make my skin crawl!

Mr. Piglet says I over react. My body language resembles that of a cat warning a dog not to approach. If you close your eyes and picture the way a cat’s hairs stand on end with hostility as it spits and snarls in warning at a dog, that’s me! Or perhaps I resemble the Rooster below?

Make my day!

Make my day!

I know stall holders have to make a living but if they allowed people to look without accosting them surely they would stand more chance of making a sale?

Anyway, I digress! (I think you can tell they rile me)

One of the reasons I love the São Teotónio Market is because it has a separate area where many of the stall holders are genuine producers and you can buy anything and everything from rabbits, chicks, roosters and ducks, to local honey, meat and cheeses. Plus all the vegetable seedlings, plants and trees I need for my garden. I’m not keen on the imported toot from China. Actually thinking about this statement EVERYTHING seems to be made in China now! Yes, OK, I’m a market snob!

An "Eco Friendly" alarm clock

An "Eco Friendly" alarm clock

I am fascinated by the poultry and song birds for sale. Mr. Piglet considers himself fortunate we do not have a large garden because I’d be a real sucker and want to re home them all.

Chicks and ducklings

Chicks and ducklings

I love the local honey. Perhaps I should change my name from Piglet to Winnie the Pooh!

A great selection of local honey

A great selection of local honey

There was even a “still” for sale to make your own medronho (strong liquor).

Distill your own Medrohno

Distill your own Medrohno

The “feel” of this market is somehow different and more friendly. For example when I asked the plant stall holder for advice, in my hesitant Portuguese, several people gathered round to listen and offered advice. Despite the language barrier you realise there are as many opinions about how to grow a particular vegetable as there are people.

However, weeks later the plants have matured and it looks like I’ve ended up with five cucumber plants plus one “miscellaneous” instead of the four zucchini and the two cucumber plants I’d asked for! Something definitely got “lost in translation” somewhere along the way.

The sausage stall fascinates me with its selection of stuffed intestines available in a variety of shapes and sizes. They could be something else of course, but we won’t ponder on that thought too long. Moving swiftly on…

These could be unmentionables...

These could be unmentionables...

I was never keen on goat and sheep’s cheese, but my taste buds are definitely changing. However, I’m still yet to discover why some of the harder goats cheese resembles soap, both in texture and taste. Does anyone know why?

 I love the selection of cheeses

I love the selection of cheeses

As lunchtime approaches the air is filled with wonderful aromas. Our senses now on red alert we are unable to resist temptation and stop at one of the food areas for lunch.

Al fresco lunch at the market

Al fresco lunch at the market

Rustic no-frills BBQ’d chicken, chips, salad and a generous jug of red wine eaten al fresco as we people-watch, is perfect and absolutely delicious.

Delicious BBQ'd chicken and chips washed down with tumblers of red wine!

Delicious BBQ'd chicken and chips washed down with tumblers of red wine!

As we study passers-by it suddenly occurs to me that the majority of older Portuguese men wear Trilby style hats or flat caps.

Two most popular styles of hats - I much prefer these to baseball caps

Two most popular styles of hats - I prefer these to baseball caps

You can easily spot the Brits and Germans because they usually wear baseball caps. I keep threatening Mr. Piglet I’m going to buy him a Trilby or flat cap. I think he would look rather dapper.

The market at São Teotónio is held on the first Monday of every month and well worth a visit.

What do you like or dislike about the markets in your country?

Fair of Traditional Sausages ~ Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais de Serra de Monchique

We’ve been meaning to go to the Monchique sausage festival (Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais de Serra de Monchique) for years and today was the day we finally made it!

Earlier in the week I went to the Tourist Information office keen to discover more about the Feira. Unfortunately, they only had basic information such as date/time and that exhibitors included crafts, cakes, medronho, honey and of course, sausage! All this hand-written on a scrap of paper as no printed literature was available.  There was also going to be ‘Animation’ throughout the day and although I pressed for further information such as what it was and when it started – my request was met with a shrug and I was given the Camara Municipal’s website.

I managed to glean a little more information with the help of Google translate from the Monchique Camara Municipal’s.

It is one of the most important events in the South of the country and has more than 50 exhibitors. Want to publicise and promote artisanal Delicatessen serrana derived from black pork and produced using traditional methods in the region, as well as, provide a focal point for the dissemination and promotion of other products Sierra as the traditional grappa brandy made from Arbutus Berry, homemade sweets, typical of the region, honey, liqueurs and crafts.
The fair of Sausages develops around the pavilions of exhibition and sale of sausages and other traditional products and takes place at Municipal Heliport.

After a wibbly wobbly drive round hairpin bends and through beautiful countryside we arrive in Monchique. We find the Heliporto Municipal, park the car and walk to the huge marquee-style building.

As we enter the Heliporto I immediately spot and make a bee-line for a stand with the producer selling one of my favourite liquors; Aguardente de medronho, o mel e o limao (Medronho with honey and lemon). I’ve looked for this particular local brand of medronho for ages without success.  I could never remember the name ‘Monte da Lameira‘ only its distinctive label. We tentatively approach the stand and I’m delighted the woman  spoke English which is great! Now I can not only ask more in-depth questions but also understand the answers!  She plays us their video and explained how Medronho is distilled – we are fascinated.

It takes 15kg of berries from the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo L) to produce 1 litre of Medronho!

It takes 15kg of berries from the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo L) to produce 1 litre of Medronho!

It takes 15kg of berries from the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo L) to produce 1 litre of Medronho!

It takes 15Kg of berries to produce just 1ltr of Medrono!

It takes 15Kg of berries to produce just 1ltr of Medrono!

Unfortunately, they do not have a website only a card with their name: Monte da Lameira~ Aguadente de Medronho, mobile phone number and email. The video is also not available on YouTube – a great shame because I would love to share a link to the video in this post to help promote their Medronho.

Aguardente de medronho, o mel e o limao (Medronha with honey and lemon)

Aguardente de medronho, o mel e o limao (Medronha with honey and lemon) produced by Monte da Lameira

I purchase the Medronho and am also given a leaflet promoting a shop in Monchique called LOJA do MEL e do MEDRONHO (Honey and Firewater Medronho’s Shop).The shop sells the produce of local producers and is situated in the central square near the restaraunte “Fonte dos Chorões”

When I return home I study the leaflet only to discover there are no basic details such as opening times or contact details. A great shame because it’s a long way to drive on a wing and a prayer that the shop will be open! Such simple useful information which should be included – I wonder who is responsible for their marketing?

As we wander round the Feira I’m amazed by the number of stands selling Medronho distilled in Monchique! I am tempted to “try” them all, however common sense overcame this temptation and I resist. Medronho is extremely potent and is aptly named “Fire Water” for a good reason!

My next purchase, some local honey, tastes so different to the mass-produced product we buy in the supermarket. I might be Piglet but like Winnie the Pooh, I love honey. Although I look at the tempting displays of delicious cakes I resist because I have just made my first Chocolate Chouriço (Salami).

We pause at one stand fascinated by an elderly man carving and selling handmade wooden spoons. He is delighted to show us his craftwork and it gives me a great opportunity to (try)practice speaking Portuguese. We get by, sort of,  and had a half decent conversation about his one and only trip to England twenty years ago. I try to discover the type of wood he uses for the spoons. It begins with O sounds like “osso” and is not olive.  Any ideas?

Finally, we arrive at the sausage producers’ stands and I try several different types of sausage before deciding which one to buy.

Monchique Enchidos e Presuntos Tradationais

Monchique Enchidos e Presuntos Tradationais

My favourite is black in colour and contains rice. I’ve not seen this before and wanted to buy one. However, Mr Piglet is not impressed and not wanting to eat a huge black sausage on my own I conceded defeat. However, I struck lucky with the Chouriço sausage and found a woman ready to go “halves” with me.  In hindsight I should have asked her if she fancied sharing the black sausage with me as well.

There are many stands including crafters such as a woman weaving. I could have spent a further hour just wandering and chatting to the stall holders who were not busy. But with no sign of “Animation” I felt Mr Piglet was listless and ready to drive back down the mountain and home.

Would we go next year? Yes, most definitely!

For further details of future events in Monchique you may find the Calender of Festas, Feiras e Romarias in Monchique 2012 of interest.

For information on events throughout Portugal visit the Portugal’s Official Tourist Information Website
www.visitportugal.com

Related posts
Sweet Potato Festival – Festival da Batata-Doce de Aljezur
Silves Medieval Fair: 9th – 15th August, 2011

Silves Medieval Fair: 9th – 15th August, 2011

A note for your diaries!

The annual Silves Medieval Fair (Algarve) is held in the narrow cobbled streets which lead up to the ancient castle. The streets and squares are transformed into a medieval market place as stall holders and even several of the visitors dress in medieval and arabic costumes. There is a tent where you can hire costumes plus if you really want to embrace the medieval “mood” you can also change your euros into the old currency to use at the stalls.

There are several food stalls where you can buy hog roast, barbecued chicken, crepes, sweets, cakes etc You can even buy mulled wine in rustic terracotta cups as you wander the streets or sit on straw bales while you eat, drink and enjoy the ambience.

If you do not fancy eating on the “hoof” there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the area.

There are many events throughout the evening including jugglers, dancing, jousting and more!

The Fair opens at 18.00 and closes at 1.00.

If you have young children in pushchairs please note the fair becomes extremely busy later in the evening which may prove difficult to push the little one through the crowds and up or down the steep cobbled streets. We usually arrive to watch the opening processions and browse all the stalls before the crowds arrive!

I have written to the organisers to enquire about disabled parking and facilities and will update this post once I receive a reply.

Locals tip: Wear comfortable flattish shoes with a good grip. The cobbled streets are extremely slippery in places.

Useful links
Event organiser:
www.cm-silves.pt/portal_autarquico/silves/v_pt-PT

Portugal tourism website
www.visitportugal.com
VisitPortugal is the official web resource for travel and tourism in Portugal

Pictures of Silves Medieval Fair 2010

Silves Medieaval Fair 2010 - Opening Procession

Silves Medieaval Fair 2010 - Opening Procession

Silves Medieval Fair - Stall selling armor!

Buy your own medieval armor!

Silves Medieval Fair - View from the Castle

Silves Medieval Fair - View from the Castle

Silves Medieval Fair - stall selling shields

Silves Medieval Fair - stall selling shields before the crowds arrived!

Silves Medieval Fair - before the crowds arrived

Silves Medieval Fair - before the crowds arrived

Silves Medieval Fair - Stall selling Ginja - a popular Portuguese liquer

Stall selling Ginja - a popular Portuguese cherry liquer

Silves Medieval Fair - Opening procession

Silves Medieval Fair - Opening procession

The atmosphere changes as darkness falls and the streets fill with throngs of people. It has a real party feel and a great buzz, but a little difficult if you are trying to maneuver a pushchair.

Silves Medieval Fair - Dancers and jugglers entertain us!

Silves Medieval Fair - Dancers and jugglers entertain us!

Silves Medieval Fair - There are many stalls selling delicious food!

There are many stalls selling delicious food!

Magical meal at Cafe Ingles

Magical meal at Cafe Ingles as darkness falls

Silves Medieval Fair - Night falls and the streets packed

Silves Medieval Fair - Night falls and the streets packed

Silves Medieval Fair - Wooden African Masks

Silves Medieval Fair - Wooden African Masks

Silves Medieval Fair at night

Silves Medieval Fair at night

Video of opening Procession

If you have been to the fair or are planning your trip to the Algarve please don’t forget to leave a comment!

Alternatively, if you are not in Portugal I would love to hear about your favourite local event – you never know it may attract some extra visitors!

This Little Piggy went to Market…

Some people are suckers for homeless dogs and cats, me it's pigs!

Some people are suckers for homeless dogs and cats, me it's pigs!

I went to the local flea market on Sunday; I needed to buy some
English books and Broadbean seeds. However, I was immediately
distracted from my “mission” by a couple of piglets which an old Portuguese farmer was trying to sell. They do not normally sell livestock at this market so I was really surprised. Intrigued, I wandered over to investigate.

Some people are suckers for homeless dogs and cats, me it’s pigs – hence my name “Piglet”.

They were so cute! One piglet was a bit on the grumpy side and turned its back on me but the other was absolutely adorable. It was love at first sight! Black in colour with a cute little scrunched up face and sad eyes it stood about 12 inches high. It made me smile because despite shaking from snout to trotter with fear it still rooted around the bottom of the cage looking for food. Have you ever stood in front of a caged animal, looked into its eyes and just for a moment you connect?

At this point I was having a mental argument, my mind in torment. Two voices debating within me – Heart versus Common sense.

Heart “It’s so cute I want to take it home”
Common sense “Where on earth are you going to keep it?”
Heart “In my new raised vegetable garden”
Common sense “What do piglets eat”
Heart “If it’s like me usually anything, hmmm disclaimer on chickens’ feet, snails and unmentionables”
Common sense “Who’d feed it when you’re on holiday?”
Heart “Oh dear, my friends aren’t into farm animals”
Commons sense “How big will it grow?”
Heart (now beginning to see common sense) “Ponderous, because if it’s not a Vietnamese Pot bellied Pig – probably HUGE!”
Common sense…silence, let the implications of last sentence sink in.
Heart “Oh, but it’s so cute I can’t possibly leave it here. It may end up served as a Leitaõ (Suckling Pig) roast dinner”

As more people gathered round and children began to poke it through the bars of the cage the poor little piggy was terrified and began to tremble visibly. I tried to make soothing pig-like noises. It looked at me with pleading little eyes and was probably telling me to stop snuffling as I was the one drawing the crowd, not him.

Negotiations for “Grumpy” piglet were now underway with a stocky, roughly dressed Portuguese man. He was fiercely negotiating a keen price and delivery with the seller. After much arm waving and shoulder shrugging an agreement was finally reached, a deal struck and then sealed with a vigorous handshake. I desperately hoped it was not going to end up as Leitaõ (Suckling Pig) for next Sunday’s lunch.

The fate of this little piggy was in my hands. I had to make a decision!

What would you have done?

Merry Christmas – Feliz Natal!

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Sweet Potato Festival – Festival da Batata-Doce de Aljezur

We went along to the FESTIVAL DA BATATA-DOCE in Aljezur last weekend and it was really enjoyable!

Delicious Sweet Potato Cakes!

Delicious Sweet Potato Cakes!

Organic Sweet Potatoes - Espirito da terra, Rogil

Organic Sweet Potatoes - Espirito da terra, Rogil

Although the event focused on the Sweet Potato (Batata-Doce) there were lots of other stands selling local crafts and food. These included cakes, herbs, liquors, local wine, honey, the famous Monchique Sausage, and of course several different Sweet Potato cakes (Bolos da Batata-Doce) etc Hmmm Delicious!!

We sampled many delicious liquors

We sampled many delicious liquors

Famous Monchique sausage

Famous Monchique sausage

A wonderful selection of cakes made from "Batata Doce"

A wonderful choice of cakes made from "Batata Doce"

Dried fruit and nuts

Dried fruit and nuts

Dried herbs

Dried herbs

There were also various cookery demonstrations presenting recipes using sweet potatoes. I could not understand a word but we sampled one dish, bacalhau with some concoction of sweet potato and various other ingredients. It tasted great, but unfortunately I lost the recipe sheet so I am still none the wiser as to what it was!

Batata-Doce "roots of reddish skin and yellow flesh”

Batata-Doce "roots of reddish skin and yellow flesh”

The municipality claim that the famous “roots of reddish skin and yellow flesh” plus the great taste of the Batata-Doce de Aljezur, is down to the quality of the land, water, clean air and climate along with the agricultural techniques. Further research revealed that the Batata-Doce de Aljezur, is actually a certified regional product (IGP – Indicação Geográfica Protegida)

Caught up in the moment and eager to try some new recipes I bought a whole sack of these potatoes. Hmmm… I hope they freeze well otherwise we will also be eating them for breakfast. Sweet potato and cornflakes I wonder if that’s a first?. Apparently, the sweet potato is extremely versatile and can be baked, boiled or fried and used in either savoury or sweet dishes. The search is now on for some interesting recipes!

Sweet Potato Mash
HELP! I need inspiration please share your favourite recipes…