Roasted apple (maçã assada) recipe

 

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A traditional Portuguese dessert is ‘Maçã assada’, roasted apple. It’s not difficult to make yourself! And it can be served cold, but I personally prefer a ‘roasted apple’ when it is still a bit warm.

The basic ingredients are always the same: apples, sugar, cinnamon. My recipe of maçã assada has a personal touch: I add Port – or even better ! – Ginja (a kind of sour cherry liqueur you can buy in the Óbidos-region or at airports). I am sure you will be overloaded with admiration if you serve your tableguests ‘maçã assada’ one of these days!

Ingredients
6 apples
6 tablespoons honey
6 teaspoons Sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
3 teaspoons cinnamon
Ginja or Port
Extra: cinnamon icecream and whipped cream

And, of course:
Oven Dish
Oven
Apple corer

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Use the apple corer and put the apples without cores in a oven dish

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Pass the cinnamon sticks through the honey (put the honey in a small glass to make this easier)

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Press the cinnamon sticks in the wholes made by the apple corer. Cover the apples with what is left of the honey.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar and pour it over the apples. Fill the cores with Ginja or Port. Don’t be thrifty:  use the bottle and pour enough fine Ginja or Port in the apples and casserole. End with a spoon of water.

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Put the oven dish in the oven (200 degrees). As long as the apples are in the oven your kitchen smells deliciously (and attracts everyone in the house!). It takes around 40 to 50 minutes before the apples become puffy and softer.

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Serve the apples with (cinnamon) icecream and whipped cream. And don’t burn your mouth by being too greedy…

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A special thanks Esther Lankhaar from Esther Lankhaar Art and Illustrations. She made the lovely illustrated card with the recipe you see on top of and below this blog! You can start following her by liking her Facebookpage.

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Interested in the Dutch version? Please go to Esa Caldas – blog Zin in Portugal or like the Esa Caldas – Facebookpage

Vindima: grape picking season

The weather was particularly dry this year. Since the beginning of March it hardly rained, leaving farmers rather desperate. Those who irrigated the vineyards in August were able to save most of their harvest luckily.

Failed harvest

The grape picking season normally starts mid September and goes on to half October. At our family farm, ‘quinta‘ as we say in Portuguese,  we start picking grapes in one of the last weekends of September. But not this year. The grapes matured much earlier, so the ‘vindima’ was in the second weekend of September.

Grapes

Grape picking at our family farm is hard work, but the ambiance is gay and pleasant. Especially during lunch, of course! Working on both sides of the row helps a lot: it makes talking easy and we hear a lot of gossip and news while picking.

Franciso helps us harvesting every year. He is 80!

Grape pickers

But you have to be careful and pay attention not to make deep cuts in your fingers or in the palm of your hand. That’s why we tell friends and family who help us during the harvest not to start picking putting their fingers at the grape stalk. No, the best way to do it, is to hold the bunch with your left hand from underneath and to cut with your right at the top of the stalk.

Picking Alicante Bousquet

Some varieties of grapes leave your hands coloured as if they are bleeding. When I am picking the Alicante Bousquet it looks like I have been slaughtering a pig. I easliy fool my friends on Facebook showing my fingers!

Picking grapes

While the pickers on the field are filling one basket after another, a tractor collects full baskets bringing them to the ‘adega’, the wine grange. White grapes are pressed immediately. The juice goes into barrels, where later on the fermentation takes place.

Wine press

Sugar in juice

The success of the winemaking process depends greatly on the amount of sugar in the juice. So when we see a percentage of 14 before the juice goes into the barrels we feel quite happy actually.

Mouse drinking abafado

In the Silver Coast region farmers produce a kind of Port called ‘Abafado’. This little mouse (left on the photo) is extremely found of the Abafado in the oak barrel. She came out every night to enjoy drops falling from the tap. Little mouse was so addicted that she didn’t bother having people watching her.

Tinta Roriz
The winemaking of the red grapes is different. Next harvest I will explain how we make red wine out of the Tinta Roriz-grapes . This grape variety is also called ‘Aragonês’ and related to the Spanish Tempranillo from which Rioja is made. I do hope you visit my blog again next harvest!

‘Do you like Portugal’is the English version of ‘Zin in Portugal’ (Dutch). Do you have a particular interest in Portugal? Wanting to visit Portugal?  Follow writer’s Esa Caldas blogs by subscribing (right, in the corner you see a ‘follow/volg’-button). And no, you won’t get any spam.
Or like 
‘Do you like Portugal’ or ‘Zin in Portugal’ on Facebook. So you won’t miss any new tips, stories or places to see and to stay in that lovely country in Southern Europe: beloved Portugal!

Why don’t you go to Mafra?

Everybody goes to Sintra. But why don’t you visit Mafra? From Lisbon Airport it’s only a bit more than a half an hour drive. And by the way, Mafra is close to Sintra. So go to this little town! Mafra welcomes you with a breathtaking view of a huge palace.

Mafra Palace

Bride in Mafra

Besides that, in Sintra it’s overloaded with tourist, in Mafra you walk through the palace like you are the king and queen yourselves, without having to share the rooms with tenths of others. I particularly enjoyed the many photo-opportunities in the Royal Palace and Convent of Mafra.

Mafra Palace

Mafra Palace

Mafra Palace

Mafra Palace

The baroque building accomodated not only kings and queens, but monks, as well.

Royal Concent of Mafra, infirmary

Many Franciscan monks lived and died in this Royal Convent. Luckily the areas, such as the infirmary, kithchen and pharmacy are open to the public.

Infirmary
Infirmary
Royal Convent of Mafra; kitchen
Kitchen

The royal convent : pharmacy

But the most impressive part of the Royal Convent is still to come: the magnificent library. The monks possessed over 36.000 books.

The Royal Convent of Mafra

Wandering through the palace and convent you understand why I recommend Mafra vividly. Sintra is just a smaller sister. The massive building of Mafra with 1200 rooms, 4700 doors and windows, 156 stairways and 29 inner yards and courtyards left me astonished. And I am not the only one. Nobel Prize -winner José Saramago wrote “Memorial do Convento”, explaining the origin  of this eighteenth century building. “Memorial do Convento” became “Baltasar and Blimunda” in the English version. The love story of Baltasar and Blimunda is set in a period Portugal suffered severely from the Inquisition.

Mafra

But nowadays nothing reminds us of the pain the Inquisition inflicted. Mafra is a lovely town with rows of pastel coloured and tiled houses.

Mafra

Mafra

In front of the main entrance of the palace you can have lunch at the square. The bakery on the corner, Polo Norte, has excellent pastry, bread and a simple lunch menu (sandwiches, quiche, soup). Try also the ‘macarons’. They are delicious!

Polo Norte, Mafra

Close to Mafra you will find a 800 acres wildpark: Tapada de Mafra. In ancient time Portuguese kings used to spend days hunting in the forest. Nowadays visitors run, walk, bicycle in the park. And if you want to become a falconer, you follow a workshop learning how to train a bird of prey.

Safira
Meet the boss: eagle owl Safira.

But perhaps you are not interested in falcons, but in bees. In that case,  you choose the apiculture-workshop and learn all about bee-culture. Or you rather want to learn to shoot like a medieval warrior? Then go to archery. Horselovers perhaps want to explore the park on the back of a horse. Possible, as well. And in case you are thinking of getting married: the surroundings are magnificent for a wedding. Wanting to leave the urban stress and sleep in a forest? Rent one of the rooms and wake up in the park.

Still not convinced? Stay in Sintra and don’t go to Mafra…

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Important information:

Palácio de Mafra 

Opening hours:
9.00h -18.00h (latest entry 17.00H)
closed on Tuesdays!

Address:
Terreiro D. João V, 2640 Mafra, Portugal
Telephone: +351 261 817 550

Free parking in the neighbourhood of palace

Do go to the site of Palácio de Mafra for up-to-date information about festivals, opening hours etc.

Website:  Palácio de Mafra

Wild park Tapada de Mafra

Opening hours:
9.00h – 17.00h
as far as I know, open all week

Address:
Tapada Nacional de Mafra
Portão do Codeçal
2640-602 Mafra

38.964797, -9.302733
N 38º 57.884, W 009º 18.162

Telephone:
Offices – +351 261 817 050
Reception – +351 261 814 240
E-mail: geral@tapadademafra.pt

Website: Tapada nacional de Mafra

In case you want one of the workshops: make a reservation in advance! Other activities (like exploring the park on the back of a horse) are scheduled as well. At the site Tapada Nacional de Mafra you can find this information.

View from a window at Hotel Borges
View from a window at Hotel Borges, Lisbon


‘Do you like Portugal’is the English version of ‘Zin in Portugal’ (Dutch). Do you have a particular interest in Portugal? Wanting to visit Portugal?  Follow writer’s Esa Caldas blogs by subscribing (right, in the corner you see a ‘follow/volg’-button). And no, you won’t get any spam.
Or like ‘Do you like Portugal’ or ‘Zin in Portugal’ on Facebook. So you won’t miss any new tips, stories or places to see and to stay in that lovely country in Southern Europe: beloved Portugal!

Where to eat near Caldas da Rainha and Foz do Arelho?

People keep asking me all the time: “Do you know a good restaurant?”. As a matter of fact, I do.

We spend a lot of time in restaurants, so we know quite a few nice places where they serve a decent meal for a reasonable price near Caldas da Rainha and Foz do Arelho in the Silver Coast (Costa de Prata) area.

restaurant

In Portugal people tend to start the day sipping a ‘bica‘, a strong espresso, and eating a freshly baked ‘pastel de nata’ (custard tart). Or something else, as long as it is sweet. There is so much choice for gourmands!

Portuguese peolple are used to have a warm meal twice a day: the first one between noon and three o’clock in the afternoon and the second between seven and ten o’clock at night. Besides these meals they they kill their hunger around five o’clock with a ‘lanche’, a snack, usually some pastry, biscuits covered with butter or a small sandwich.

Pastel de nata

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The nicest Pastéis de Nata by far you find in the alley Bêco do Forno in Caldas da Rainha!
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Turn right in the small street. You will find a special bakery selling excellent pastéis de nata and various kind of bread, for instance spelt flour bread!

No wonder there are lots of ‘pastelarias‘ (pastry shops) and ‘padarias‘ (bakeries) where you can buy cups of coffee, sandwiches, pastry, freshly baked bread and during lunch break a small bowl of soup or a light meal.

Portuguese employees use to get a small lunchcompensation from their employer. That’s why at lunchtime many restaurants and pastelarias offer a decent meal for prices far below ten euros. Lucky us!

Restaurants and nice places in the surroundings of Caldas da Rainha (Costa de Prata)

A Lareira

During quite a while A Lareira (the ‘Fireplace’) has been out of favour after an unpleasant experience . But at the beginning of May 2015 we rediscovered this restaurant in Alto do Nobre, near the villages Foz do Arelho and Nadadouro. 

A Lareira

Nowadays, during weekdays you can enjoy a lovely meal for 8,50 euros (weekends 12,50 euro). And that’s not much for what you get: an ‘amuse bouche’, nice bread, appetizer, a decent mean course (fish or meat) and dessert. Besides that, the wine accompagning your meal is excellent and doesn’t cost a fortune (1,50 euro a glass).

In case you like to know: the owner is also responsible for the selfservice restaurant in the excentric Garden of Peace, also called Buddha Eden and Quinta dos Loridos, near Carvalhal – Bombarral.

Interieur A Lareira

If you want you can always eat ‘à la carte’. Then you spend around twenty or thirty euros a person.

Voorafje bij A Lareira
Appetizers at A Lareira

Amuse

Contact:
A Lareira
Rua da Lareira 35
village Alto do Nobre- parish Nadadouro – city Caldas da Rainha
T: (00 351) 262 823432
W: www.restaurantealareira.com

Sana Silver Coast Hotel of het oude Hotel Lisbonense

In former days the king and his entourage liked to dine in Hotel Lisbonense while visiting Caldas da Rainha. You will still find the menu and what he was served in the glass displays of the hotel.

Hotel Lisbonense

Nowadays a big hotelchain (Sana Hotels) is in charge of the hotel and restaurant. Unfortunately locals tend to find the hotel a bit snobbish. Just as every Portuguese I like a plate covered with nice food. Yes, perhaps you get less quantity, but I have never left the Sana Silver Coast restaurant with an empty tummy. And to say the truth: we always wonder how it is possible to lunch so well for around twenty euros. Elsewhere in Europe you pay twice as much for less quality food.
And not in the least important: the ‘house’ wine is excellent.

Hotel Sana Silver Coast

Hotel Sana Silver Coast

Hotel Sana Silver Coast

Contact:
Sana Silver Coast Hotel
Avenida Dom Manuel Figueira Freire da Câmara
Caldas da Rainha, Portugal
T: 351 262 000 600
GPS:
39.4013, -9.1363
39°24’05″N 9°08’11″W
W: www.silvercoast.sanahotels.com
E: sanasilvercoast@sanahotels.com
Parking is for free in the car park under the shopping mall (be aware to get the right ticket!)

The Sana Silver Coast Hotel is a great place to stay for a holiday in Caldas da Rainha or Obidos. It’s located opposite the citypark, not far from many shops, near the old city centre of Caldas da Rainha and close to several museums. By car it doesn’t take long to get to medieval Obidos or Foz do Arelho-beach. Besides, the hotel is on a walking distance of the bus- and railwaystation of Caldas da Rainha.

Great idea: spend Carnival or Silvester (New Year) at the hotel!

Solar dos Amigos

Solar dos Amigos is extremely popular. Come early or make a reservation, otherwise you will have to wait, especially on Sunday during lunch.  Portugual is a country of meat lovers. At Solar dos Amigos in the little village Guisado they serve giant steaks. So no wonder it’s crowded inside!

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When you don’t want to eat too much, choose the ‘bitoque’. But if you want to have the full treat order ‘cascos à casa’ or ‘costeletas de novilho’. All grilled. You will be astonised by the size. Normally the waitresses try to temper your enthousiasm, saying one portion can easily fill the stomachs of three people.  Listen to them! If you don’t like meat, try the ‘bacalhau’. After dealing with the main course they let you choose out of a tray full of deserts. And they are so tempting that you want to have them all…

Contact:
Solar dos Amigos
Rua Principal 49
village Guisado – parish Salir de Matos- townCaldas da Rainha
T: (00351) 262877135
W: www.solardosamigos.com
Only cash, no cards accepted!

Delhi Darbar

Why eat Indian food when there is so much nice Portuguese food to taste? Well, Portuguese people like to eat something exotic as well. Besides, Goa has been an old Portuguese colony in India, so it doesn’t seem very odd that a restaurant serving curry and tandoori opens in Caldas da Rainha.

Restaurant Deli Darbar

It took quite a while before locals and foreigners discovered Delhi Darbar. But nowadays on Tripadvisor the restaurant is recommended as being the first or second best in Caldas da Rainha.

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Vegetarians can have a hard time in Portugal. But at Delhi Darbar you find many dishes without meat (and fish).  We love number 74: navratan korma. It’s a vegetarian curry I highly recommend.

During weekdays Delhi Darbar serves a meal for 7,50 euro: delicious naan bread, a curry of your choice, one beverage and coffee afterwards included. At night and during weekends you pay the normal price. In that case you spend around 15 to 20 euros a person.

Restaurant deli darbar, nummer 74
Our absolute favourite: navratan korma, number 74 on the menu.

Tandoori

Contact:
Delhi Darbar Caldas da Rainha
Rua general Amilcar Mota 21
Caldas da Rainha
T: (00351) 262 104526
W: www.restaurantedelhidarbar.com

Tip: this restaurant is a two minute walk from Sana Silver Coast Hotel. When you are with your back standing in front of the hotel, pass over to the park and go to the right. Keep walking straight ahead (in the direction of ‘Obidos’) till you see a flat with a staircase leading you down to the entrance of the restautant Delhi Darbar.

Chinese restaurant ‘Casa Shao’

My aunt likes to go to the Chinese restaurant Casa Shao. And to say the truth, they have lovely sushi and you can pick your own food. So, if you are a vegetarian it’s more likely to find here something to eat than in normal Portuguese restautants. The Chinese restaurant is close to the bus station of Caldas da Rainha. A meal costs 8 or 9 euros (drinks are not included).

Chinees restaurant
The Chinese restaurant is at the left corner, on the ground floor of the red building. The bus station is in the white building opposite. They have a large room for groups. In case you want to eat Chinese at home: take away is possible!

Wok Casa Shao

Wok Casa Shao

Contact:
Chinês Casa Shao
Rua Coronel Soeiro de Brito 25
Caldas da Rainha
Opposite Caixa Agrícola and one of the entries of the busstation of Caldas da Rainha

Fortaleza or Mercado de Santana

Restaurant Fortaleza is not far from Mercado de Santana, the huge farmer’s market on Sunday morning in Venda da Costa in the parish of Alvorninha (this parish belongs to the city of Caldas da Rainha).

In Santana you see many places where they roast chicken on a spit. It’s really a happening to sit there and enjoy a ‘frango piri piri’, or, my favourite, a ‘frango com limão’ (chicken covered with a little bit of  lemon sauce). In case you think ‘frango piri piri’ is very spicy, don’t be afraid. Normally it’s not too hot. If you don’t like chicken, choose a place where they roast ‘bacalhau‘ (cod fish). And don’t forget to order ‘migas‘ ( a kind of pap made out of corn bread, cabbage and garlick).

Mercado de Santana

If you don’t want to eat as a lot of locals do on Sunday at lunchtime, you go to Alto da Serra, Rio Maior. By car it’s a ten minute drive from Santana Market. During weekdays and on Sunday they serve at Restaurante Fortaleza an excellent buffet. All tables are nicely covered with tablelinnen. Lunch during weekdays costs 8,50 euro and on Sunday 12,50 euro. One drink and coffee afterwards included.

Attention: there is another restaurant in Alto da Serra. For Restaurant Fortaleza you have to climb the hill!

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Zoutpannen Salinas (bij Rio Maior)

In summertime you can combine a lunch at Restaurant Fortaleza with a visit to the saltpans of ‘Salinas-Rio Maior’. From the car park of restaurant Fortaleza you can see the saltpans in the distance.

Contact:
Mercado de Santana
Village Santana/ Venda da Costa – parish Alvorninha- city Caldas da Rainha

Restaurante Fortaleza
Alto da Serra – Rio Maior
T: 243 991165
W: Restaurante Fortaleza

Looking for a special place to spend the night? The owner of Restaurante Fortaleza has some old Portugues mills in the natural park opposite the restaurant. An ideal spot!


Pousada de Obidos

A royal dinner? Then go to the “Pousada de Obidos”. But the truth is: my experiences are variable. Of course, the setting is great, specially if you manage to get the table at the window, but the food hasn’t left me that enthousiastic by times. Nevertheless, for a romantic dinner it’s the place to be. Count on spending around 30/40 euros a person (which is a lot, keeping in mind what I normally spend in the neighbourhood of Óbidos).

Pousada de Óbidos
Restaurant Pousada de Óbidos

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Contact:
Pousada de Obidos
straat: Paço Real
Óbidos
T: 00 351 262 955 080
Website of all pousadas in Portugal: www.pousadas.pt

Restaurante Mimosa

My aunt lives on a comb in a tiny village between Caldas da Rainha and Rio Maior. Every day a baker drives through the little villages selling fresh bread and pasty. My aunt, a widow, is always very happy to see the baker. He goes everywhere and has a lot to fresh stories to tell.

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So the baker told my aunt there was a nice restaurant at the former Fish Market in Caldas da Rainha (also known as Praça 5 de Outubro) and I immediately got an invitation to have lunch there. The baker is right: food is good, the staff pleasant and attentive. I had a big sole and my dishmates enjoyed grilled salmon. So far so good, but asking 4,50 euro for a mango as dessert is way too much in our surroundings…

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Contact:
Restaurante Mimosa
Praça 5 Outubro number 37
Caldas da Rainha
T: 00 351 964435165


Restaurante Lisboa

In case you think: this restaurant is in Lisbon. No, you’re wrong. The owners surname is Lisboa. That’s why this restaurant – in the Industrial area between Caldas da Rainha and Foz do Arelho-  is called Restaurante Lisboa.

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By far my husband’s and his friends’ favourite. A buffet where you can eat all you want for only 10 euros (on Friday/ Saturdaynight and on Sunday lunchtime 13,50 euro).  And there is a lot to choose. Ideal for children and vegetarians. If you don’t want a main course you can enlight your stay eating as many desserts you like. Or salads…

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Contact:
Restaurante Lisboa
Rua João Reis, Zona Industrial
Caldas da Rainha
GPS: 39.4220848,-9.1637592
W: www.restaurantelisboa.pt

The restaurant is located in the industrial area between Caldas da Rainha and Foz do Arelho, in one of the side streets of the Avenida Atlântica (the quick way to the beach of Foz do Arelho). An ideal place to stop before or after going to the beach!

A lot of families celebrate birthdays in this restaurant. In Portugal it’s normal that you bring your own birthdaycake to the restaurant. I remember nights we sang twice or three times “Happy Birthday” for groups having a birthdayperson in their middle. Very funny!

Nice to know: free wifi for guests!

Restaurante Ceia

At equestrian center CEIA in Alfeizerão they serve meals, as well.
Toetje bij Ceia

Every day at lunchtime the restaurant offers a meal for 8 euro (weekends 13,50 euro). Overlooking the sandy outdoor area you are served soup, a main course (meat or fish) and dessert. On Sunday there is a well attended lunchbuffet. Be sure to come early on Sunday, otherwise it’s difficult to find an empty table.

Contact:
Ceia – Centro Equestre International Alfeizerão
Estrada Nacional 8, km 89
Vale de Maceira
Alfeizerão
T: (00351)262 980048
W: www.ceia.pt

Only lunch, but during the weekend also dinner.They organize fado-concerts on a regular basis. And, of course, you can do some horseriding, as well.

Escola da Vela at the Lagoon of Obidos

Lovely spot to have a simple meal (hamburger, omelette, salad) and to enjoy the beautiful panorama.

Escola da Vela

A lot of outdoor sportlovers come here to (kite)surf or sail. In wintertime it’s nice to spend the afternoon on the terrace, drinking a coffee or two.

Escola da Vela

Contact:
Escola de Vela da Lagoa
Rua do Penedo Furado
Nadadouro (at the Lagoon of Obidos – Lágoa de Obidos – )
T: (00 351) 262 978592
W: escoladeveladalagoa.com

It’s also the place to be in case you want lessons (kite-surfing, sailing etc.) or to rent material.

Foz do Arelho boulevard

Foz do Arelho
The view is really breathtaking when you drive down from Avenida Atlântica to the beach of Foz do Arelho

Cais da Praia

At the beginning of the big car park leading to the Atlantic Ocean you find Cais da Praia. In summer and winter, a good place for a beer or a light meal.

Cais da Praia Foz do Arelho

Cais da Praia Foz do Arelho

Website: Cais da Praia

Sétima Vaga

Nice bar for cocktails. Or to spend a Saturdaynight. And beerlovers attention: they have Grimbergen. The whole day you can order a light meal (hamburger, pizza, toast or my favourite, ‘torrada‘, toasted bread with loads of butter, very simple and tasteful). Because of the lounge music and relaxed atmosphere this place is very trendy. Some people stay halve a day on the terrace, reading a book or socializing with friends. Having a Grimbergen, cocktail or  ‘bica‘ right in front of them.

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Ala Norte

At the far end of the boulevard you find Ala Norte. Also a nice place to spend some time. Some televisionmakers thought the same. Last year, the café and beach in front where used in the soap Água do Mar. Actors, stylists and filmmakers spent their breaks in Ala Norte.

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Ala Norte

Tip:

Going to the beach? In ‘pastelarias’ (pastry shops) or ‘paderias’ (bakeries) nice sandwiches are made for less than two euros. As for the bread, I like ‘pão caseiro’ the best. You can choose between  ‘papo seco’ or ‘pão caseiro’. A ‘papo seco‘ is light and white,  a ‘pão caseiro’ has darker flour and is heavier. Much more tasteful.

Sandes de queijo com/sem manteiga (cheesesandwich with/without butter)
Sandes de fiambre com/sem manteiga (hamsandwich with/without butter)
Sandes misto com/sem manteiga (chees- and hamsandwich with/without butter)

Or buy a bifana (meat sandwich) in a café!

Artikel bitoque of bifana 03


Chicken soup (canja de galinha):
Kippensoep

Surprise:

Canja

DUTCH VERSION: GO TO ‘ZIN IN PORTUGAL’

Butter more expensive than codfish during world war II

Luckily we don’t like to throw stuff away in this family. That’s why we still have  pricelists of 1943, 1944 and 1945. My greatgrandfather was a farmer with a small grocery shop in the Silvercoast area. During world war II food was rationed in Portugal, as well.

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Guideline for the distribution of essencial goods (rice, sugar, pasta and soap) in the first months of the year 1945

In the years of severe fighting throughout Europe (1939-1945), Portugal remainded neutral and therefore a safe heaven for many. In the Silvercoast area sites like Foz do Arelho and Caldas da Rainha are known to be places where refugees who escaped the horrors of war in northern Europe spent their days waiting for better times to come or hoping for a ticket on one of carriers heading from Lisbon to America. In a silent video kept in United States Holocaust Memorial Museum you can watch Jewish refugees in Caldas da Rainha attending a farmer’s market, washing clothes, enjoying coffee in café Bocage, which still exist on the top of the central square, and playing cards in fancy Hotel Lisbonense, nowadays Sana Silver Coast Hotel.

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Café Bocage
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Hotel Lisbonense, nowadays Sana Silver Coast Hotel

Advertising posters from 1943 on explain how food is distributed and what prices have to be paid in grocery shops. The price of butter ended up skyhigh in 1944. In fact butter was much more expensive than Portuguese traditional codfish. In January 1943 people paid 21,50 escudos for some butter while codfish was only 8,70 escudos. In March 1944, however, the price of butter went up to 29 escudos.

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January 21 st, 1943. Bacalhau = codfish; manteiga = butter
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October 16th, 1943
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March 17th, 1944

The last advertising poster we have in our possession is dated 1946. Probably there was no longer need to ration essencial foodstuff from 1947 onwards. Nowadays, in the part of the world I live in, there is plenty of everything. I can’t remember having spent one day with an empty belly. How extremely lucky we are!

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Dutch version: go to Zin in Portugal
Link to video of Jewish refugees in Silvercoast area: Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Link to hotel: Sana Silver Coast Hotel

Holy Week in Portugal

In the “Semana Santa” before Easter many processions take place. Between the castle walls of ancien Obidos hundreds of people witnessed the burial of Christ on Holy Friday night.

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At Easter people offer eachother sugared almonds. This year the almonds were delicious: not only covered with sugar but with chocolate, as well.

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Besides almonds at home ‘folares’ are baked. A ‘folar’ is a kind of bread with an egg in the middle. Due to the use of anise the bread has a nice sweet taste.

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And of course: everywhere you can buy chocolate bunnies. I bet I gained some pounds eating all Easter sweets…

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Looking for the Dutch version? Click here.

Forget Port, start drinking Ginja!

About an hour by car north of Lisbon you find one of Portugal’s pearls: Óbidos. An old town surrounded by castle walls. And within: many romantic white houses with yellow, blue and red coloured stripes.


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Of course, nowadays many tourist invade pittoresque Óbidos in summer and during festivals.

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Don’t worry: keep away from the main street and you will find medieval calm streets full of beautiful views.

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If you are an adventurer you can climb the stairs to the high castle wall. Be careful though, there is no fence protecting you from falling down. Strangely enough having no fence has proved to be the best protection ever. I have never heard of a tourist falling down. People stay close to the wall out of fair. I do not recommend walking the entire wall, it’s a long walk. Just go up when you enter Óbidos through the main entrance. From there you have a splendid view over the roofs and the entire city. An excellent place for a photoshoot!

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Till 1834 Foreign princesses who married Portuguese crown princes received Óbidos as a wedding gift. Not bad, don’t you think?

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Today the Castle of Óbidos is turned into a Pousada, a chic hotel, as there are many on historic places in Portugal. You can dine royally in the restaurant overlooking the patio or the hinterland.

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In Óbidos you will not only find houses covered with bougainvilleas, blue-white tiled churches and many souvenir shops, but also a divine nectar: Ginja. For 1 euro you buy a small chocolate cup filled with Ginja. Ginja is a wild sour cherry picked in june. Good brandy, this special cherry and herbs make a divine liqueur. A small bottle of Ginja costs between 11 and 18 euros, because there are not that many sour cherries and producing good brandy is quite a job . In Óbidos good Ginja is sold everywhere. Farmers in the neighbourhoud produce Ginja, as well. I know where a top-Ginja is sold, but I am going to keep it secret as long as I can. So drive to Óbidos, explore the medieval town, make lots of pictures and enjoy Ginja!

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Festivals in Óbidos:
March: Festival Internacional de Chocolate or Óbidos Tourism
Easter: Semana Santa
Summer: Internacional Festival de Piano
End of July/beginning of August: Mercado Medieval/ Medieval Fair
Christmas: Óbidos Vila Natal

Hotels in Óbidos:
Pousada do Castelo
Estalagem do Convento
Josefa d’Óbidos (not far from the bus stop which brings you in an hour from Campo Grande metro/bustation in Lisbon to Óbidos)
Boutique Hotel Casal da Eira Branca

Bed and Breakfast in the country- on a driving distance- run by a Dutch couple
Quinta da Montanha

Ginja:
Oppidum
Vila das Rainhas
Mariquinhas
For a very nice local, estate bottled Ginja: mail to fadodistante@gmail.com

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Travelling to Obidos:
By car: high way north A-8 to Leiria, you pass Loures, Torres Vedras, Bombarral and  leave the high way at Saída 15 Obidos.

By bus in an hour : Rodotejo “Rápida Verde”: in  Lisbon metrostation Campo Grande; busstop is near highest building – in Óbidos the busstop is in the street in front of Hotel Albergaria Josefa d’Óbidos, not far from the main city entrance. One-way-ticket around 8 euro. Seniors ( 65+) get a discount. Luggage for free (even big size).

By train: don’t! Station is in the middle of nowhere,  located too far from Óbidos’ main entrance, which is high up the hill.

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Contact the author for copyright or more information: fadodistante@gmail.com