In spite of the dull unseasonable weather, the stunning views of rolling countryside and distant mountains could still be appreciated.

This lunch provided the opportunity to sample the culinary philosophy and skills of the newly appointed young Portuguese chef José Lopes, who is one of the rising stars of a new generation of chefs.

The group was served a colourful dish of cucumber gaspacho with squid and spider crab as an amuse bouche, followed by prawn and Chef José´s interpretation of the traditional Portuguese caldo verde. Redfish with fennel and curry was served as the fish course followed by another of Chef José´s twist on traditional Portuguese dish of black pork and clams, pork à Alentejana as the meat course. A refreshing tangy citrus dessert rounded off the meal.

The dishes were complimented by wines which had been selected by Maître Restauranteur Nuno Diogo from his extensive wine cellar. Commencing with a white from the Minho area, Hundos Antigos Alvareinho and followed by a Tejo wine from the wine estate Quinta da Lapa which has been producing wines for over 300 years. The third white wine, the oldest white, was produced in 2011 at Quinta dos Currais in the Beiras region and was followed by a red Douro, Quinta do Frifo Grande Reserva 2015. The final wine, which complimented the citrus taste of the dessert, was Lagoalva Espirtito Unico late harvest.

At the end of the lunch José Lopes, his brigade and host Nuno Diogo were thanked by Dr. Jean Ferran, acting Bailli Algarve, for providing the group with such an inspirational event. Valerie Lantau