and passion of the new generation embracing the time-old traditions of the past
generations would be shown both in the olive oil tasting and in the chosen menu
and its preparation.
were welcomed with a semi-sparkling wine from Vida Nova vineyard which was
enjoyed in the warm sunlit area besides the characteristic old oil press
buildings. Firstly there was a tour of the olive oil pressing facilities and a
pressing methods explanation given by the grandson of original owner who
started pressing Monchique olive oil in 1953. The olive mill, which still uses
the original equipment including syenite pressing stones, follows the cold
pressing and decanting method of extracting the oil from the fruits and is
operated by three generations of the same family. The unique Monchique water
combined with the carefully selected fruits produces a unique oil which is
favoured by several of the talented and inspired chefs who work in the
Algarve’s famous restaurants. Once the group had acquainted itself with the
production methods they were introduced to the characteristics of the different
European olive oils and learned to recognise different aromatic signatures,
both good and bad. Although the ambient temperature inhibited the oil aroma somewhat
all present were able to follow the expert advice and gain from the experience.
prepared on the traditional wood-burning stove by chef João Marreiros from
restaurant LOKI in Portimão. João runs his restaurant, which seats just six
guests, with a near-obsessive passion for sustainability and regional products.
He singlehandedly cooks and serves both food and wine. Although today’s group
was substantially more his usual six guests João cooked all the food
singlehandedly. The food was served on locally handmade and decorated plates,
each one unique. The wines served were from the Algarve area, a white from
Quinta dos Vales, Duo, and a red 2019 from Quinta do Francês, a family wine
estate in Silves.
was inspired by food João’s grandmother had cooked for him as well as by local
products. As Joao cooks by daily availability and does not work with a printed
menu it was an adventure to have him announce what the courses were as they
were presented to the table with João giving any background information
relating to the dish being served. First, course serve was cauliflower cooked in
three different ways with infused fish; the second course was an old strain of
rice with bruxa, an interesting dish with a crunchy texture. A dish from João’s
grandmother followed consisting of sweet baked potato puree served with
cuttlefish season in chorizo style and with orange. Wild boar was the fourth
dish to be enjoyed, deliciously cooked in the wood-fired oven with Monchique
chestnuts and rare black chickpeas and garnished with roots of the yellow
clover now flowering. An interesting fact about the black chickpea was that
the plants had been considered extinct until recently when some examples have
been found flourishing in a priest’s garden.
A new sweet
wine, once more from the Algarve from Quinta da Tor in the Silves area, was
served with the desert which was sugar-free and consisted of a barley crumble,
banana parfait, foam made by a fermentation process and carob mousse. Coffee
roasted locally in Aljezur and the Bailli’s medronho and melosa brought the
meal to an end.
Marie-Anne thanked Chef João for his hard work in producing this unique
tradition meal full of local flavours and textures.
wish to know more about the global fraternity of Châine des Rôtisseurs please
see their website www.chainedesrotisseurs.com
or contact Marie-Anne Ferran, Bailli of the Algarve at email@example.com