As Marketing Manager for Four Seasons Fairways, I’m constantly reminded by visitors to our lovely resort how fortunate I am to live in the holiday paradise that is the Algarve. That’s why I was delighted to act as tour guide to “Lavender and Lovage” food blogger, Karen Booth, on her recent trip here.
I decided to show Karen some of the real” Algarve, with experiences she might not otherwise encounter, and to now share these with you.
Taking into account Karen’s interest in food, we started our trip at the Olhão fish market, open six mornings a week. Just a short drive from Faro, Olhão is the largest fishing port in the Algarve and the fish market reflects this with stunning choice and display. Once famous for its fishing and canning of tuna and sardines, this charming seaside town, set by the estuary of the Ria Formosa, is also the gateway to some of the most beautiful islands in Portugal, reached on one of the many regular boat trips departing from the sea front. Walking around the narrow streets of Moorish architecture, we followed the “tales path”, a selfguided walking tour that connects five of the main squares in the historical area. Each square has been given an original tale, perpetuating the town’s collective memory and a way to learn more about the past and its people. We had lunch at Restaurante O Bote, one of the many facing the Ria Formosa, and enjoyed the locally caught fresh sea offerings with monkfish and prawn skewers and the traditional “papas com conquilhas” (polenta with clams flavoured with garlic and coriander) – just like the
ones my great-grandmother used to give me as a child.
To continue the foodie theme, we then travelled to São Brás (18km north of Olhão) and visited a small artisanal cheese factory, “Portal dos Queijos” (portaldosqueijos.pt) located right by the market in São Brás. They make delicious local cheeses including “fresh”, cured, goat’s and quark cheeses, as well as artisan yogurts.
One of the highlights for me was the last couple of hours we spent at Dias de Aromas, an organic herb farm near São Brás. This unassuming farm exports its herbs internationally, such is their quality. The smell of the herbs was heavenly. We learnt about the growing conditions, how to team the flavours with different types of food and were allowed to pick what we wanted as we wandered through the herb beds. We also saw the farm’s 1,000-year-old olive tree.