When you travel to the Algarve, luxury is the name of the game. And if it’s luxury you’re after, you’d do well to eat out in some of the top restaurants and try as much traditional Portuguese cuisine as you can. In the Algarve you will get a rich variety of delicious, exciting meals to set your taste buds on fire. The combination of pork, chicken, herbs, wild plants, garlic and onions, all subtly spiced with paprika, cinnamon, saffron and piri piri, creates a varied and delicious cuisine; and of course, you can never go far in the Algarve without encountering every variety of fresh fish under the sun. Here are a few dishes you should make it your aim to try during your trip to the Algarve.
Ameijoas na Cataplana
On your Algarve luxury holiday, if you’re after an authentic, traditional eating experience then you should start with Ameijoas na Cataplana, the most famous dish of all. The dish consists of baby clams and sausages combined with onion, presunto (cured ham), tomato, paprika, garlic and white wine. These are all cooked up in a kind of traditional copper pressure cooker called the Cataplana, which helps to preserve the flavours.
Carne de Porco a Alentejana
This is a very traditional pork dish that you should definitely try when you travel to the Algarve. Luxury cuisine in the Algarve is all about sticking to the delicious local dishes, and Carne de Porco a Alentejana is certainly that. It consists of pork marinated in white wine with herbs and spices, and then fried along with clams, potatoes and coriander to create a succulent, mouth-watering dish.
If you want to try a world-famous dish, then chicken piri-piri is a Portuguese speciality that you can find in the Algarve. Luxury travellers who like their food will find this a delight, and you can never find a better chicken piri-piri than in Portugal. Consisting of chicken marinated in a sauce of paprika, cumin, oregano, olive oil, lemon juice and, of course, piri piri, it is a fiery treat that is definitely a popular one to try.
Cozido à Portuguesa
This stew is mostly eaten during the winter, although you should be able to find it whenever you travel to the Algarve. Luxury sun seekers should find time to try this delight from the Beira region. The dish consists of a stew of different kinds of meat, including shin of beef, pork and sometimes chicken, all served up with vegetables and smoked sausages. It is nothing short of delicious.
There are hundreds of other traditional meals that you should try when you visit the Algarve. Luxury travellers will want to try as much as they can, and you won’t have to go far to find delicacies involving delicious fresh fish. Portugal has the highest consumption of fish per capita in Europe, and this is obvious when you visit the Algarve. The most common type of fish is bacalhau (cod), which is normally dried and salted then soaked before being cooked. However, pretty much every type of fish is on offer here.
Also be sure to try Sera da Estrela cheese - a delicious, soft cheese made from sheep’s milk. This is the most famous of Portugal’s fantastic cheeses and is always made by hand to strict specifications.
John Dixon is Managing Director of Prestige Holidays, a specialist travel company who have provided a wide portfolio of Algarve luxury holidays, as well as many other destinations around the world, for over 30 years.