Algarve information guide
The sun-drenched Algarve has a sub-tropical climate which allows growth of a wide range of fruit and vegetables, many of which cannot be grown in Northern Europe. The Algarve is also renowned for its variety of fish dishes, many of which will be familiar to tourists, but there are also less known dishes based on the traditional home cooking of the interior Algarve regions. There are many traditional Algarve dishes which are very easy to cook, and here we have reproduced the recipes for some of these.
Algarve food is based on fresh ingredients, and because of the favourable climate there are many more varieties of fruits and vegetables available than in Northern Europe. There is plenty of sun, but also a reasonable amount of rainfall due to Portugal being situated on the Atlantic.
Of course fish is in abundance in Portugal due to the largely unspoilt Atlantic coastline which surrounds the western and southern shores of Portugal. On dry-land Portugal has the perfect climate for growing fruit and vegetables. Many local dishes are based around a variety of bean stews which grow well in Portugal such as broad beans (favas), white beans and lupine beans. The stews are often embellished with ham or Chorizo (Chourico). The local markets such as the renowned indoor market in Loule are an excellent place to obtain the fresh ingredients that characterise the food of the Algarve.
Portuguese markets such as the one pictured above in the town of Loule sell a fantastic range of fresh fish, meat, fruit and vegetables. Typical produce of the Algarve includes citrus fruit, olives, almonds, figs, dates, seasonal mushrooms, peppers, tomatos, lettuce, garlic, onions and cucumbers.
The all year round sun and higher light intensity produces fruit and vegetables which look and taste different to those in northern Europe. Click on the links at the side of the page to view some traditional Algarve recipes, including a new one for a traditional Algarvian Pineapple Sponge Cake.
The Algarve has a fantastic selection of cakes and breads sold at local bakeries or "pastelarias" as they are known locally.
The pastelarias also sell strong Algarve coffee such as the "abatanado" which is a single shot of coffee, but with less water than an Americano.
The Algarve is also famous for its sweets and biscuits - most small local markets will have at least one stall selling home-made Portuguese sweets and biscuits like the ones shown in the photograph on the right at Loule market.
The Portuguese Food Company have a range of specialised produce from various regions of Portugal.
Growing vegetables in Portugal Site has some nice photos of a variety of home-grown vegetables.
Portuguese Cooking.com Great resource for everything you need to know about Portuguese cooking.