Sunday, 8 August 2010
Mertola- where two rivers meet
What to do on an overcast humid day in August. Mertola lets go!! 72 kilometres north of Casa Rosada we found ourselves in a sleepy old town full of discoveries - culinary and otherwise.O cozinheiro´s eyes soon caught sight of the mercado municipal, filled with lovely fresh produce including cheese, honey, fruit, vegetables and sachets of medicinal herbs. After engaging in an initial chat with the charming stall holder, I promised I would return after lunch to purchase claudia rainha (greengages), plums, juicy fat lemons, local cheese and cured sausage of porco preto( the black pig of the Alentejo). Mertola´s specialities are javali ( wild boar )and the regional pork dish Migas. There is a restaurant of the same name in the town serving serious Alentejan specialities, such as aromatic coriander-packed river bass soup. Migas is not perhaps a dish to choose on an over humid day in August ,before ascending steep winding cobbled streets. We will keep this culinary treat for our next visit, when the weather is cooler. .We discovered Terra Utopica, offering a mediterranean themed menu in a quirky interior of mismatched eclectic decor and, after initial apprehension, we settled into a delicious lunch of Jambalaya, grilled prawns and mushroom tagliatelle, washed down with large ice cold beers and glasses of exceedingly coiffable house wine. What a wonderful day out. I am longing to return and discover more of this fascinating old town.