This week I am continuing the personal A to Z of Portugal that I began last week. Today, I present you with letters D to F:
D is for Dona Barca:
Dona Barca in Portimao is one of our favourite Algarve restaurants. We found it thanks to a guidebook whilst on holiday, long before moving here. The place has changed a fair bit since we first visited. It’s fame and popularity amongst tourists and locals alike has led it to expand into a larger area in the pretty square of Largo de Barca, and corporate touches like postcards and logoed uniforms have crept in.
It’s still the same place though, offering wonderful fresh fish (especially sardines), great house wine in generous carafes, and low prices. For more details, you will find a review of Dona Barca on my Food and Wine Portugal blog.
E is for Espanha:
Now I realise that Espanha may seem a strange choice for a Portugal A to Z, but it feels right to include it amongst my personal choices.
When we first moved here, I used to find it tremendously exciting to see “Espanha” on the road signs. After living in the UK, being somewhere where you can just set off in the car and keep driving until you are in a whole different country gives you a wonderful sense of freedom (and I know that we could have always driven to Wales or Scotland – it just doesn’t feel the same, somehow).
We often head to Spain for weekend breaks, when we would previously have headed for Cornwall or Norfolk. We have enjoyed cheap weekends in Seville, Marbella and Cadiz already, and are soon off to see what Jerez is all about. Espanha, being only 20 minutes away, is also our go-to destination for taco shells and Iberico ham (Carrefour), tealights and furniture (Ikea), and langoustines by the sea (Punta d’Umbria).
F is for Farturas:
The arrival of a van selling farturas and churros in Portugal usually signifies that some kind of local event or festival is about to happen. Farturas and churros are the southern European interpretation of donuts. Churros are essentially the same as a UK seaside donut, but they are squeezed into the hot oil with a piping bag and served as straight sticks, rather than rings.
Farturas are similar, but stuffed with a filling, usually a nutella-style chocolate sauce or something fruity. Visitors to Portugal should make a point of trying one of these sweet treats – but try to get them while they’re hot – a cold fartura left sitting on the counter for a while is not especially pleasant!
This time last year I was complaining in this post, about the chill in the Algarve air – which is interesting as I was doing just that when I spoke to my mother on the phone this morning. The headline temperatures do not tell the full story when you live in accommodation with only reverse-cycle air-conditioning to remove the chill from the air. Also back in January 2011 I had just discovered Brisa do Rio – probably still our favourite restaurant in the town of Tavira. It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago, given the amount of times we have eaten in there since!
Image Credits: Visit Portugal, Renata F. Oliveira.