Travellers are increasingly looking for authentic travel experiences and the food of the region enables them to better understand and get a feeling for the culture of the destinations they visit. The travel boom in recent times has led to an increasing familiarity with different food cultures and a willingness to try new foods and ingredients that were previously viewed as exotic or unusual.
But food tourism comes in many guises and price ranges. Of course, there are those holidays which will take you to a culinary hotspot to learn to cook the food of the region, or on course where your diet will be restricted to certain food groups, normally for health reasons. Some foodie travellers will choose a destination where they can experience street food or dine with the locals. But much more commonly gastronomy tourists choose their hotel and destination by the type and quality of food and drink they can enjoy whilst they are staying there.
Everyone looks for something different in their holidays and for many, food and drink is a very big influencer. So, with the popularity of good food ever on the increase more and more people are looking to stay at hotels where they can indulge in the type of food that delights them.
Portugal is a less-known food and drink paradise and although its coastline meets the Atlantic Ocean, its food is heavily influenced by Mediterranean style cooking. Each region champions its own dishes using ingredients that are locally available and recipes that have been passed down through the generations.
The popular Algarve region of Portugal has many local specialities some of which are enjoyed throughout Portugal. Although as you would expect, there is a plethora of fish and seafood of all kinds most of which are served simply grilled with boiled potatoes and salad.
Some of the most popular traditional Algarvian dishes are:
“Cataplana” a Moorish influenced dish which uses a clam shaped copper pan to cook clams or a mix of fish and seafood, with spicy sausage, tomatoes, wine, garlic and herbs. One of the best places to experience this is in the Mirandus Restaurant at Vivenda Miranda. This stunning dish will be served to your table in a traditional copper pan bursting with flavour whilst you relax and enjoy delicious ambience of your location.
“Feijoada” is a thick bean stew with pork, bacon and sausage which originally came from Brazil and is commonly eaten in many Portuguese homes.
“Bacalhau” is probably one of the most traditional dishes that you’ll find in the Algarve. It is dried salt-cod, preserved in the same way as it was in the days of the great sea voyages of the Portuguese Discoveries.
“Frango piri-piri” is the world renowned piri-piri chicken, made famous by a certain chain of chicken restaurants, but each Algarve eatery will have its own traditional recipe. This spicy chicken features the bright red piri-piri chilli pepper, which is used to spice up many Portuguese dishes and is even used as a condiment too.
“Frango no churrasco” or barbequed chicken is a big favourite in Portugal as with an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year, and great all year-round weather there is a big tradition of outside cooking. The sister hotel to Vivenda Miranda, the country house Quinta das Barradas which lies in the countryside of the Alvor valley just a few kilometres outside of Lagos, hosts weekly “Churrasco” barbeques during the summer months. This is the ideal opportunity to taste the real flavours of a proper Portuguese barbeque which showcases the meats, fish, salads and vegetables of the locality in the lovely gardens of this beautiful rural setting. A truly authentic food experience.
You will find that the house’ wine “vinho da casa” in Portugal is usually local, great quality and good value. You can choose either “branco” white, “tinto” red or rosé which is the same in both languages. But unique to Portugal is “vinho verde” a young, green wine which is slightly sparkling and lower in alcohol so it provides a refreshing, lighter alternative. But the Algarve also produces its own wine mostly from the areas of Lagoa, Portimão and Tavira. You will find a great selection of the very finest local Algarvian wine served in the Mirandus Restaurant at Vivenda Miranda where you can enjoy wine paring and recommendations from our knowledgeable wine waiters.
Portugal also is famed for some of its pastries and desserts and you cannot leave without having tried the pasties de nata or Portuguese custard tart. These are simply divine! If you add to your tasting list the pudim flan or crème caramel, tarte de amêndoa, almond tart you will be in dessert heaven. Many of Portuguese desserts use local, seasonal fruits and produce such as figs, almonds, citrus fruits, honey and the amazing, low calorie chocolate replacement, carob! At the Mirandus Restaurant you will find that carob inspired desserts will regularly feature on the menu such as well as some delicious desserts that are low in sugar and vegan friendly!
So, why not come, stay a while and discover some of the best flavours the region has to offer amidst the natural beauty of the Algarve at the Boutique Hotel Vivenda Miranda!