All posts filed under: Food talk

Sea delicacies you must try in the Algarve

Algarve region has taken advantage of its position towards the Atlantic for a long time. People gained a lot from the close relation with the ocean and to what it was able to provide to them. It is only normal that here, and in Portugal in general, there is more fish consumption per capita than the European countries average. We would be crazy if we would not do it, right? This long and intricate coastline is full of different varieties of fish and seafood to choose from. Also, up to these days, many typical dishes in the region are prepared with the same processes and elements that they once were. Each ingredient was and should be respected and the waste avoided to the maximum. This list contains some of the sea delicacies that most of the locals appreciate to have on their tables. This is not an exhaustive list, but I tried to go for a representative selection, moving from Algarve’s West coast towards the East coast. Gooseneck Barnacles (Percebes) Gooseneck Barnacles, in Portuguese, Percebes, are the gold of the …

Easter in Algarve & the Folar Workshop at Casa Modesta

This year my Easter vacation and arrival in the Algarve started in the best way possible, with a Easter Folar workshop at Casa Modesta. Casa Modesta is a charming rural hotel that opened a year ago in Quatrim do Sul, near Olhão, just in front of a salty lagoon from beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park. The house is a family project founded by brothers Vânia Brito Fernandes e Carlos Fernandes that decided to transform their grandparents pre-existing house in a new chapter of family memories. The old house gave place to a pair of beautiful modern buildings, but the main Algarve architectural traits were maintained, like the white colours, the straight lines, the wood oven, and the typical roofs, that go by the name of açoteias, once used to dry figs, almonds and even fish. Carlos was the one to warmly welcome us to Casa Modesta that afternoon, as his family members were finishing the preparations for the baking afternoon.  In the meantime, he told us all about the story behind this family house and the project while giving us the tour …

The Fado of Portuguese Food

Since I moved to Italy, slightly more than two years now, one of the things that really impressed me from the start was how Italians, in general, have a good food culture and how they are proud of it. It is a spirit that I really admire and I think that this is one of the main reasons why Italian food became so famous.  That recognition worldwide elevated the Italian language to one of the official languages of gourmet, just like it had happened in the past with French food. In Portugal, people are also very into food, especially lately with so many cooking shows and food channels on television. Everyone knows what is to confit and it is trendy to serve gourmet and well composed dishes when you have people over. But even with this spirit it seems that Portuguese food never reached a big visibility worldwide. Our food it is still a niche in the international food scene, and this, in my opinion is connected to an interaction of geographic, political and historic factors. Portuguese …

My 10 favourite quick foods in Lisbon

Did I mention that Lisbon is a city that has a very special place in my heart? I guess so.. I’m getting repetitive here. I miss that light from Tejo river, the hills, the architecture, the colours, the light, the belvederes, the azulejos and the calçada all the time. But is not only the city itself and the people I miss, I also miss some particular foods that I can only find there, at least as good as those. These are the foods that are always part of my mental food checklist as soon as I land in Lisbon airport. Of course, most of the times I don’t get to eat them because I usually can’t manage to eat all that goodness in such limited amount of time. I seriously hope this list comes handy to you. Meat filled yeast dough pastries – Frutalmeidas Frutalmeidas in Avenida de Roma is a hidden treasure in a residential neighborhood. It is a unpretentious caffè/ fruit market where you can choose from a big selection of natural fruit juices, soups, light …

Bologna, living up to the red and the fat

  The last time I took the airplane from Lisbon to Rome, I saw a really nice article on TAP Up Magazine about Bologna. I had been wanting to visit this city for a while, but the chance never came up. Reading the article that day really made me put it on top of my travel priority list. Last weekend all conditions were reunited and so I headed north to visit Bologna and to meet my good friend Giulia. Bologna is the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region and it is known as ‘la dotta, la grassa e la rossa’, which means ’the wise, the fat and the red’. The wise, because of the oldest existing university, dating as far back as 1088. The red, because in history, Bologna has been politically associated with left wing parties, also, coincidentally or not, the matching red tones that are really prevalent in the roofs, walls and curtains. The fat stands for its rich and abundant cuisine, which is considered by many to be Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure. I personally think that a country’s gastronomic greatness lies in …

9 Simple Tips that Will Take Your Pasta to the Next Level

Have you ever wondered why pasta is always perfectly cooked when you are in Italy? What are most Italians doing differently from the rest of the world (in general terms) when cooking pasta? These simple tips helped me a lot in improving my pasta cooking skills, I hope they will do the same for you too. 1. Good pasta and shortcuts are not part of the same equation If you want to make a pretty good pasta you can’t be in the shortcut state of mind. When you start avoiding things like the caulender to drain the pasta or chosing a small pot just to save some dishwashing work afterwards, you know that you are heading in the wrong direction. Please, try to snap out of it! 2. Always use a big pot to cook pasta Give the pasta room to move, this will contribute to it not sticking to each other. And remember, don’t even think about adding oil to avoid the sticking, it will only ruin your pasta and it will only keep your sauce from …

10 food habits that mean you have been living in Italy for too long

I have been living in Italy for more than a year now and I must admit that when you are living abroad for a while you start noticing that some of the place’s habits slowly grow on you. I find myself from now and then picking some ways that at the beginning I found strange or even made me laugh. I guess it is only normal, even if you fight these ways, sooner or later you will have to accept them. I made a list of food related habits that are a sign that you have been living in Italy for too long, but these same habits can be applied as guidelines if you are visiting/staying in Italy and don’t want to be spotted right away as an outsider. You know when you have been living in Italy for too long when… 1. The day doesn’t really start until you have your espresso/cappuccino For 99% of the Italians the day only starts after they have the first espresso. Without this first espresso people wouldn’t manage …