5 foodie souvenir tips

Looking for a typical Portuguese present for friends or family abroad? You could of course go to the nearest China-shop and spend €1.75 on a Portuguese flag or a plastic fridge magnet showing the rooster of Barcelos. You could also purchase a souvenir that’s actually made in Portugal. Don’t know what to get? Food is always good. Here are five ideas. Bonus tip number 6: Portuguese sea salt.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine June 2017


1. Sausages

What? Enchidos or chouriços are an unmissable part of the local diet. In Portugal, sausages are predominantly made of pork meat. Keep an eye out for the Iberian black pig, a.k.a. porco preto, which is supposed to be the most flavoursome.

For whom? Everyone apart from your veggie friends.

Where? Want to get close to the source? Head inland, especially the Monchique region where a lot of porco preto are held and visit a farm shop (or visit Monchique’s Feira dos Enchidos Tradicionais in March). Towards the end of January, get them at the sausage festival in Querença (pictured). Otherwise, any local market will do.

Read more: about porco preto here and find out all you’ve ever wanted to know about Portuguese sausages here.


2. Honey

What? Some beekeepers in the Algarve still produce their mel the artisanal way. This raw honey is unheated, unpasteurised and unprocessed and thus contains all the antioxidants. Dare to be different and go for mel de tomilho (thyme), laranjeira (orange blossom) or alfarroba (carob bean) instead of the usual multiflora.

For whom? Everyone who can use a little sweetness in their life.

Where? Because of the diversity in flowers, the best honey in the Algarve comes from the serra. Get it directly from your local beekeeper or buy it on a nearby food market. Flying with only hand luggage? Good luck trying to take a decent-sized pot. Maybe freeze the honey so it isn’t technically liquid anymore? Try at your own risk!

Read more: about honey production in the Algarve here.


3. Olive oil

What? Essential in the Portuguese kitchen. A meal without azeite de olive is like a birthday without cake – unthinkable.

For whom? Everyone who can appreciate a good extra virgin. That includes salad eaters, kitchen snobs and people who read cookbooks.

Where? A deli that focuses on traditional Portuguese food is your best bet (they can be found in any reasonable sized Algarvian town – or try Loulé’s Mercado). It’s also possible to buy it directly from an olive oil producer. In a supermarket, look for cold pressed extra virgin oil and get one with a fancy label instead of the store’s own budget brand (it’s a present after all). Flying with only hand luggage? Pour your litre into ten 100ml sized bottles. Make sure to keep the pretty original bottle to pour it back again after the flight.

Read more: about olive oil production in the Algarve here.


4. Medronho

What? Firewater. Made from the fruit of the Arbutus unedo, Medronho is Portugal’s traditional fruit brandy. But there’s also ginja, port and Licor Beirão to name just a few. Alternatively, be creative and make your own Algarvian liquor.

For whom? Basically everyone who drinks alcohol. If they’re normally into schnapps, get Medronho; if they usually prefer wine, get port; and for all those who like it sweet, buy ginja or another liquor.

Where? Anywhere. But if you’re flying with only hand luggage, make sure to buy it in duty free at the airport. Actually, forget that. Just buy loads of bottles somewhere else and check in a suitcase. It’s probably cheaper and you’ll have presents for all your friends in one go.

Read more: about Medronho here.


5. Canned sardines

What? Originally only seen as a way to preserve the fish, now canned sardines have gone gourmet. Not only sardines can be found in a tin, also horse mackerel, octopus, tuna, etc. etc.

For whom? Fish fanatics who fancy pretty packages. (Those vintage-looking boxes are definitely Instagram-worthy).

Where? Any self-respecting deli or gourmet shop will have a variety of canned sardines and other fish on offer. Olhão’s market is a paradise for fish lovers, but don’t be tempted to take fresh sardines abroad as they won’t survive the journey. (Don’t want a present in a can? Alternatives are fish paste or atum muxama (dried tuna)).

Read more: about sardines here and click here for more about fishing in the Algarve. Want to learn more about the canning industry? Visit the Arquivo histórico Municipal António Rosa Mendes in Vila Real de Santo António (pictured).


See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine June 2017

Posted in 5 algarvy things, Food.