Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Heranças esquecidas -Forgotten legacies


Pork and clams with ginger noodles
They say the way to a man´s heart is through his stomach.There are thousands of tourists out there who are looking for new culinary sensations - not just that tired old trick of pulling the chicken piri piri out of the bag.In the current economic climate it´s the well run and efficient restaurants that are the survivors. It´s become interesting to see how the real professionals are being sorted from the amateurs and the just plain lazy.If this is the case and there is money to be made why aren´t all restaurants pulling out the stops.There is a simple way to win more tourists -and here lies the Algarve´s trump card,it´s through their stomachs.
Packages discounts and meal deals are being offered but, particuarly with the enormous hike in IVA on restaurant bills, no one can afford to sit back, twiddle their thumbs and wait for the clients to come.Algarve restaurants are sitting on a hidden gold mine.The Algarve is still a great value destination.Flights from Northern Europe are cheap and last year was a record year for tourism.Our restaurants have so much potential, but in most cases an untapped potential.So if visitors are spending less we have to think of ways to get the punters to the area and into its restaurants.Algarve Restaurateurs and managers have got to get their heads round learning how to promote and sell the latent culinary product they are sitting on.In terms of gastronomy the region has so much to offer; there is a wealth of traditional recipes that have not seen the light of day commercially, dishes that have not been cooked for years. If these recipes were resurrected it would raise extra revenue as a result of bringing tourism to the area.The task is simple, rescue these wonderful long forgotten traditional dishes and flag them up as such on menus.Secondly,chefs should look at current food fashions and update the Portuguese culinary heritage accordingly.This is already being achieved by Michelin starred chefs Henrique Sá Pessoa and Luis Baena in Lisbon,Luis Americo in  Porto and in smart resorts like Vila Joya,Dieter Koschina,and at Monte Rei Golf Resort by Jaime Perez.I am not suggesting every chef should attempt to become a "Michelin man" and this style of fine dining with a lot of extra fannying is most certainly not to every travellers taste, but with a little research and imagination in the area of fine dining the Algarve can achieve a sensible balance even without these forced accolades.Exquisite and delicious traditional food can be served with creativity,cooked from heirloom recipes with passion and finesse.Sourcing the best quality, local, fresh ingredients from the markets of the Algarve teamed up with the freshest seafood from the Atlantic can be the challenge that will attract the tourists to the region and offer an all new modern mouth watering Algarve.

Seafood açorda no pao Pezinhnos n´areia, Praia Verde
Far from the madding crowds in the hils of Umbria there is O Monte Velho. Down by the riverside in Vila Real de Santo Antonio there is Dom Petisco and along the boardwalks to the best East Algarve beaches at Manta Rota and Praia Verde we can find Cha com Agua Salgada and Pezinhnos n´areia.You would be hard pressed finding a restaurant serving more authentic regional cuisine in the East Algarve than Noélia e Jerónimo in Cabanas.Noélia is a traditional Portuguese cook and that means that all the meals that come out of her kitchen are just like momma used to make!!

Our friends at  "A portuguese dish" are on a mission to find the very same tradition that I am trying to encourage out of the closet.Through their blog they share wonderful stories of their gastronomic discoveries, told through the owners and families behind the restaurants they have visited.Last winter they visited the Algarve and brought us some long lost dishes from Olhao, S.Bartolomeu de Messines, and Vilamoura

Some Old Portuguese recipes that I feel should be revived

Coelho com Poejo
Coelho bravo frito com tomilho
Cozido de grao com perdiz
Polvo assado no forno com batatas
Polvo panado com arroz de feijao
Arroz de lingueirao
Salpicao and rocket salad
Polvo alagareiro
Lulas recheadas
Arroz de polvo a moda santa Luzia 
Javali estufado
Batatas a murro
Ensopado de veado
Bolo de bolacha Maria

Come on Algarve - Restaurateurs and proprietors  alike - lets make the East Algarve a culinary tourist destination. Lets put that wonderful legacy where their mouth is.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more,tradition and concentrating on whatever is unique to the area a winning recipe :)

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