Such is the variety and quality that a simple grilled fish or a few local goose barnacles served up on a Costa Vicentina beach becomes an exceptionally special experience. And then there are all the regional innovations in how best to cook these wonderfully natural ingredients including the brass cooking utensil the ‘cataplana’, the ‘caldeirada’ fish stews and other soups. And there are all the savouries and snacks ideal for recharging halfway through a day at the beach, on the golf course, or simply enjoying the good weather.
Try a few ‘carapau’, the local species of mackerel, or the traditional grilled sardines of Portimão, accompanied by a ‘mountain salad’ in Cacela and discover the joys of flavoursome simplicity. From the tuna steak of Tavira to the octopus of Santa Luzia, the Algarve excels in a menu that extends to delicious local cockles, ‘conquilha’ shells and razor clams.
And there are oysters from Baleeira, Alvor and the river Formosa with squid and cuttlefish also common across the entire Algarve. After all, this is a land of fishermen!
But the Algarve also has its hills with their own culinary traditions, such as the ‘cozido de grão’ bean dish. And the upper regions grow the fruits that produce the sweets. The almond, orange and fig that go into the ‘morgado’ and ‘dom rodrigo’ sweets that are to the temptation of all. And where the fruits do not serve for dessert, they go into flavouring regional liqueurs and spirits. Try the ‘medronho da serra’ grape based spirit or the almond liqueur ‘amêndoa amarga’, ideally served deeply chilled.
Every possible ingredient for a romantic evening as the sun settles its way over the horizon.