“This is a defining moment for what is the development strategy of the municipality of Castelo Branco. This is a new concept [Portugal Cheese Festival] of economic dynamism and affirmation of the village of Alcains and the municipality of Castelo Branco, at national and international level”, said the president of the municipality of Albicans, Leopoldo Rodrigues.

The Portugal Cheese Festival takes place in the village of Alcains between the 5th and 7th of May and is jointly organised by the Castelo Branco Council, the Alcains parish council, the Centro Agroindustrial Cluster Association (InovCluster) and the Agro-Food Technological Support Center in Castelo Branco (CAATA).

This new project aims at the strategic affirmation of the cheese sector, on a national scale, and the promotion of the territory internationally.

However, it is inspired by the emblematic Feira do Queijo, which for 17 years was held in the village of Alcains.

“Unfortunately, in recent years, producers [Alcains cheese] have been losing size. Today that number is small and falls short of the interests of the region. It is time to take a step forward and in a different direction”, said Leopoldo Rodrigues.

“With this festival, we want much more than a fair where cheese is sold. We want it to be a space for debate and intervention on the sector. In this sense, we made three decisions: giving an international dimension, changing the location and changing the date of the festival”, he stressed.

The president of the parish council of Alcains, Milena Santos, stressed that it was imperative to grow, giving a new dynamic and perspective to the event.

“We cannot stand still. On the consumer side, we would be just a cheese fair. It will not be a fair, but a festival”, she underlined.