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Just like all over Portugal, The Algarve offers its own traditional gastronomy, strongly influenced by the cuisine and Mediterranean culture.
Algarve is divided in three distinct geographic and gastronomical areas:
- The Coast (with fish and seafood dishes especially dishes with tuna and octopus).
- The inland areas of the Barrocal (with simple dishes of fresh vegetables and sausages).
- Algarve mountains (with heavier dishes with chicken and pork stews).
Olive oil is the preferred and used for both, seasoning and for cooking, along with onions, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and fresh herbs such as parsley and coriander.
Desserts and sweets are strongly influenced by the almond, the fig and carob trees that are all native to the region together with the old traditions of the Alentejo province showcasing interesting artistic preparations with eggs, almonds and figs.
Faro Specialty Dishes
Faro and its restaurants, just as with other municipalities in the Algarve region offers a rich traditional cuisine.
Most of the of the region’s cuisine can be traced to ancient times such as the Roman and Arab cultural influence in the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula.
The cuisine in Faro combines such traditional influences with its geographical location inside the protected natural water reserve of “Ria da Formosa” . That fusion is the basis of ingredients that reflect the fresh flavors of the sea with clams and small fish still being harvested today as they were 100’s years past.
Faro depends on the hills and the fields to the north for the warm flavors of the country bounty.
Vegetables, spices and meats close the circle that exerts the wonderful flavors you get from your plate when sitting at your table at most regional restaurants with a glass of red Algarve or Alentejo wine.
In late July and early August, Faro celebrates the Ria Formosa Festival where the city and restaurants in Faro place emphasis on local shellfish promotion with a large selection of shellfish cooked in the traditional way.
Typical local and regional dishes:
From the sea,
Carapaus alimados, Stuffed Squid Algarvian, Octopus in the oven with entrecote, Tuna steaks with tomato sauce, Chicken soup with cockles
From the fields and farms:
Leg of lamb in the pan, Pork with Clams, Corn Papas known as Xarém, Peas with eggs Algarvian style, Partridge stewed, Fried Rabbit, Cooked grain (grain little dinner), Broad beans stylish Algarve, Chicken soup with cockles, Garlic Gazpacho, Preserved carrots Algarvian style
Local and regional deserts worth a try:
- "Cheeses" of fig and almond
- Fruit / almond paste animals
- Mimoso Cake
- Fig and almond Stars
- Easter cakes
- Orange Pudding
- Don Rodrigo
At this time you can savor some of the regional liquors created with local figs, almond, honey and arbutus berries brandy - (Aguardente de Medronho)
- Top 10 local dishes that can be found at many traditional restaurants in Faro as showcased in this tasteful blog
Traditional delicacies you will find in most regional restaurants.
Cataplana -a very tasty seafood stew made with fresh catch of the day seafood or fish from the local fish market.
Filled Squid The squid is traditionally filled with prosciutto, chorizo (traditional dry sausage), olive oil, onions, parsley and tomato served with potatoes and salad
Conquilhas- (type of clams that live buried on the sand and can be found at the water edge of most beaches in the Algarve and along the Portuguese coast. ) opened in a pan with olive oil, garlic, coriander, lemon and pepper. A great appetizer.
Tuna with onions- Fresh tuna steak marinated in vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, onions, salt and pepper and served with boiled potatoes.
Octopus Rice - The octopus, marinated and prepared with red wine, onion, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, red or green peppers, salt, hot chillis (piri-piri), Stewed over fire or in the oven with rice in a beautifully flavored tomato sauce..
Sardines- Charcoal barbecued fresh sardines served with potatoes, red peppers and potatoes. Salad on the side; either lettuce or a delicious tomato and onions salad with grilled green peppers, oregano, olive oil and vinegar. Sardines are best between June and late September as they are fat and delicious.
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