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The Alentejo Festival of Food & Wine

28th April 2014 Print

The Alentejo is a beguilingly beautiful rural region of diverse landscapes, from sweeping plains, cork forests and rocky hills, to sandy coves, olive groves and vineyards.

The food is a delicious reflection of this rustic part of southern Portugal, otherwise known as the country’s gastronomic soul, and is now showcased via a new year-round celebration of authentic restaurants and local producers – the Alentejo Festival of Food & Wine.

Each restaurant participating in the Festival of Food & Wine has created a special three-course lunch and dinner menu (with English translation, Portuguese not being the easiest of languages for British ears to grasp). These menus feature the best of the region’s gastronomy, with accompanying wine, at excellent value-for-money prices. Each establishment will display the Festival of Food & Wine logo clearly at its entrance so that you know you’ve found the right place and, by visiting any of these restaurants, you’ll experience a mouth-watering slice of the Alentejo’s cultural heritage with minimal food miles involved.

On your journey across the Alentejo, savour a wonderful array of regional delicacies and traditional dishes, from sheep’s milk cheeses, acorn liqueur and organic asparagus, to Alentejo black pork, salt cod and egg-based desserts. The region is known as the breadbasket of Portugal, holds traditional food events all year round in celebration of the wealth of its organic wares and produces almost half of Portugal’s wine, much of it award-winning.

Book a trip to the Alentejo with Sunvil Discovery and you’ll receive a special Festival of Food and Wine booklet, complete with restaurant contact details, menus and prices. You’ll be able to plan your personal tour of the gastronomic soul of Portugal, choosing a variety of places from which to sample restaurants and to visit local producers. Even better, many of Sunvil’s carefully-selected accommodation providers are within walking or cycling distance of the recommended restaurants (or, if preferred, a short taxi ride).

Sample itineraries featuring Alentejo Festival of Food & Wine establishments include these ideas from Sunvil Discovery:

Savour local flavours in the northern Alentejo – from £581 pp
Explore the undulating, rocky landscapes of the Park Sao Mamede, home to the hilltop towns of Marvao (at 850m) and Castelo de Vide. In Marvao, visit local co-operative Terrius for tastings of wild mushrooms, asparagus and liqueurs, and savour an authentic Alentejo feast at the riverside Sever Restaurant. In Castelo de Vide climb the steep cobbled streets and explore the castle before dining on bacalhau (salted cod) and chestnut dishes in Casa do Parque restaurant. Seven nights’ accommodation at the Pousada Santa Maria in Marvao cost from £581 pp (two sharing) including B&B, flights (Heathrow) and car hire.

Back to basics: Tasting rustic fare and olive oils in the Alentejo – from £902 pp
Watch Portuguese farm bread, pao, being prepared by hand at an artisan bakery in Vidiguiera, where a traditional wood-fired oven produces a super-crunchy crust with fluffy interior. Taste it hot from the oven, drizzled with tangy olive oil and sprinkled with sugar, for a delicious doughnutty texture. Then learn how to distinguish the different flavours of peppery olive oils in Moura and try egg-yolk desserts made from ancient recipes in Beja. In July, seven nights’ B&B at Beja’s Pousada Sao Francisco cost from £902 pp (two sharing) including flights (Heathrow) and car hire.

For further information, visit