Alto Alentejo, Unsung, But Not for Long

Alto Alentejo, Unsung, But Not for Long

 

(…) But for the epicures who have flocked to Alentejo in recent years, the region’s top draw is its cuisine. Its basics elements are wheat, olive oil, pork and certain fish, like cod which the local fry, bake and infuse with garlic and herbs in various glorious ways. Lamb and duck make luxurious appearances.

A perfect example of the Alentejo’s gastro-rustic cuisine is Restaurant A Maria, a small establishment in sleepy Alandroal, where the owner and chef Maria Monteiro serves exquisite local fare in a room decorated to look like a village square. Classics include queijo de Ovelha (an orange-crusted round of gooey sheep’s milk cheese), pato em molho de vinho tinto (duck in red wine sauce) and migas à Alentejana (fried pork with bread soaked in pork fat. Culinary award plaster the walls near the entrance, and there is a seriousness about the diners that is in keeping with the quality of the food. (…)

Rubrica ‘Next Stop’, in The New York Times, por Robert Goff