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?

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42 responses to “A Visit to São Teotónio Market

  1. Thank you for the tour round that market, it was fascinating and certainly different from any market I’ve ever been to!
    I love the description of your body language resembling that of a cat when approached by a dog – I can see your reaction exactly when trying to get away from an over-eager vendor! 😀

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    • Hi Barb,
      I love looking around the markets. The best bit, even if I don’t buy anything is the simple lunch and watching the world go by. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      What are the markets like where you live? Do you go, I wonder how they differ…

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      • Your markets sound a lot more exciting than ours! We just have the usual stalls with bric-a-brac, lots of food stalls etc. I guess the only difference would be that we have stalls selling Aboriginal Arts and Crafts – they are my favourite!

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  2. Chubby Chatterbox

    This food looks about as fresh as fresh can be. Have a great week.

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  3. Loved the market…and I love to people watch as well. Thanks for the tour.

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  4. What a lovely article. Enjoyed the reading and the photos of the market.
    Thank you for the tour.

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  5. Wow – looks really fab!

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  6. The last time I was in “Poraland” was 2004, during Euro. There were several festas (can’t remember the spelling and the missus is not around)
    I loved them. Several of my wife’s relations;cousins, uncles etc, have local businesses around St, Joao de Madeira and always have a stall during market days.
    One relation,Uncle Pedro owns a shoe factory and he also makes hats and caps. I used to own a beige flat cap like the one featured in your pic.
    It went missing and for the life of me I have never been able to find it.

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  7. ailsa rodrigues

    Love your blog and I agree about the hats dont they look great and as for the chickens and that food……yummy

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  8. Beautiful rooster! Is he to be an alarm clock…..or dinner? I love those “English driving caps” that men wear. I don’t know what they’re really called, but very attractive.

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    • Hey Rose, judging by his harem of hens I don’t know. Be a bit tough for the pot. Not sure if the caps are Englis driving caps, but I think they are def dapper 🙂
      Not sure of the Portuguese name for the hats, it would be interesting to find out!

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  9. Loved this and the flat cap reminded me of my granddad who always wore one. Brown in the daytime and a white one when he played bowls! Markets here in the DR are nowhere near as pleasant. They are often indoors and full of flies selling meat, fish and veg. Definitely a good place to buy, but only for those with a strong stomach as they pong a bit.

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    • Hi Lindsay, all the older men wear them here. It’s the first thing I noticed.
      Markets here are totally different to those in Provence, France. I can only imagine the markets in DR from reading your blog. We ahve indoor fish and meat markets here. I am alsways dubious about buying fresh meat and fish from markets 😦

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  10. Great pictures and great food, thank you for the post,I so enjoy reading them and learning more about Portugal. I love Portugal and the Azores. I have been there a number of time. I have not been to that market.I will look forward to going there, when I next visit Portugal. Thank you and keep on with great information.

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  11. Great shots, PiP! That’s much larger than the market close to us . . . but there are larger ones we should check out. Our market focuses on veggies, honey, cheese, food cart vendors selling snacks, crafts, a sprinkling of plants, etc.

    I’m with you about sellers who are over zealous . . . they make me want to run the other way.

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    • Hi Nancy, this is a big market but I always head for the food products and plants.

      I’ve now developed the “look” for over eager market sellers now which always translates to “I’m about to eat someone alive, make my day if you dare”

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  12. Having lived in South Africa, I know the term “Porraland”, not sure how it started, but I always thought it had to do with the fact that Portuguese tend to say the word “porra” (a bit of a swear word) quite often!

    The Sao Teotonio Market looks interesting! I would also love some chickens, they just “poo” too much, so I don´t feel like having to clean up the garden after them. In Australia we also get a lot of chinese made stuff, of course cheaper but low quality, I can hardly ever find anything that is made here! Even the clothes designers, sell Chinese made clothing at exorbitant prices, with the excuse that they were designed in Australia, even though the cost of making them was half a dozen dollars probably! At least in the markets here you can find a lot of “pure” home grown veggies and fruit, a lot cheaper and tastier than in the supermarkets.

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    • Hi Sami,
      I’m thing I’m going to ask my Portuguese teacher what porra means. Hope she does not blush 😳

      The chicken pooh is good (once it is very well rotted) for the garden.

      The made in China drives me mad, especially the designer label clothing at rip off prices. I’ve even seen apples imported from CHina – WHAT!
      Australia make good beer though I’ve heard – is it Fosters?

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      • Ahhhhhhhhhh – Carole, WE don’t drink Fosters, it is horrible beer! 😆 We joke we just export it to the USA. Actually, I believe the Fosters “exported” to the USA as Aussie beer is actually now made in Canada, but I’m not 100% sure.

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  13. Hi I Love this post! It´s tipical Portugal Countryside market! Lovely article! Thank you for sharing!

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  14. Yours sounds a lot more relaxed than our Vic Market! I like the prices in our market – MUCH less than the supermarkets. I hate the crowds, especially on the weekends.

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  15. I’ve always called “Boina” to the the flat cap (it was what my grandfather called it).
    I know it’s very far from where you live, but if you want to “experience” the huge difference between the south and north of Portugal festivities do go to Viana do Castelo during Nossa Senhora da Agonia festivities http://en.lifecooler.com/lifecooleren/pilgrimage-of-our-lady-of-agony-festivities-323978-1.html; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1BHDMc2s08&feature=related

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    • Great website Fernanada, I’ve added to my page above. We are coming up to Porto in the next few months. It will be interesting to compare. My Portuguese is coming on slowly as my new Portuguese teacher did not show for my last lesson. Life is full of challenges. thanks for the Portuguese for the flat cap 🙂

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  16. I miss the old world markets … lots of interesting things to buy.

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  17. Pingback: April: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots | Piglet in Portugal

  18. Pingback: April: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots | The Blog Farm - A Growing Blog Community

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