The best ever Culinary tour of The Alentejo in South Portugal, October 2024
Over the past few years, I have had the privilege of getting to know this remarkable part of Portugal called the Alentejo. It is an underpopulated area of beautiful fertile lands, producing exceptional wines, great olive oil and fabulous food. A culinary scene in Alentejo is only just emerging. Wine production is not limited by strict governing bodies; this attracts wine makers trying bold methods and producing wines that stand out. These include the indigenous grape varieties of Antão Vaz and Roupeiro for white wines, and Alicante Bouschet and Aragonez for red wines.
It has been exciting to discover more about the culinary offerings of Alentejo – although Portugal borders Spain, the differences are clear as soon as you cross the frontier. For example, Portugal has a different time zone (being one hour behind Spain). Coriander and watercress are used as liberally as parsley is used in Spain. Artisanal cheeses, breads, honey and olive oils are found in abundance as is Iberian pork, local beef and lamb and of course the renowned salt cod (bacalhau). More than a splash of Pasteis de Nata too! I like mine sprinkled with cinnamon. Sort of makes it healthy don’t you think?
It’s also noteworthy at Alentejo is responsible for a third of the world’s cork production. Inbetween the olive groves and the vineyards, you will behold acres of magical cork forests.
Under the bright blue skies of Alentejo, you will discover that this is a land that has not yet been given the attention it deserves…..sadly I do not think it will stay this unspoiled and undiscovered for long.
There are too many highlights of this tour to mention but for anyone who is fascinated by wine, great food and learning all about different aspects of the surrounding culture, this is a trip you should not miss. The schedule is full on, but you’ll have no decisions to make apart from “red or white?”