Lucky enough to visit Portugal for half term and gaining the true taste of the Algarve with some great food and wine.
We explored lots of beautiful villages and towns. We stumbled across the Adega Vila Lisa in Mexilhoeira Grande which after dining there we realised was listed in a few of the guidebooks and highly recommended. What a discovery! It was a different experience for us as a family as we sat down on long benches and were immediately greeted with no menu but food and drink. It was a set menu which changes daily. The starter or tapas was a plate with Ricotta cheese, black sausage, potatoes cooked in garlic and a tomato pureed sauce. Next we had clam and rice soup which was very tasty, too much bread that I ate though! Then it was a cuttlefish and sweet potato dish, next lamb shank with roast potato, and lastly oxtail soup with chickpeas. For desert there were fig and almond bites and almond biscotti with coffee. It really was a feast….
For me its all about the seafood, I had gorgeous octopus salads, huge prawns and tuna. One of the highlights was golden bream cooked the traditional way with olive oil and sliced potatoes baked in the oven. If there is one dish synonymous with the Algarve’s rich ocean harvest, its Ameijoas na Cataplana. Fresh cockles are sealed in a cataplana, a rounded copper cooking vessel resembling a wok. Allowed to cook in their own steam with a combination of cured ham ‘presunto’ sausage ‘chourico’, tomato, lemon, olive oil and garnished with coriander and garlic, the result is a succulent seafood stew, enjoyed with a glass or two of chilled white or rose wine.
Back home and the regime starts, sign of a good holiday!