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This was my first time visiting Portugal (Algarve)and I absolutely loved it!. It was my mother’s idea to venture there since it was a country she always wanted to visit for her birthday. Even though it was officially autumn when we arrived the temperature was around 28 degrees Celsius , pretty much a British summer.
The country is beautiful with colourful flowers blooming at every corner you turn . However I was very interested in the local cuisine as I’ve never tried authentic Portuguese food before . We ventured out down to the old town of Albufeira where there are many restaurants and bars to choose from , we were spoilt for choice .
Seafood was the main dish since this is a staple in Portugal in particular codfish ,but on this occasion we choose to indulge in grilled fresh sardines sprinkled with a little sea salt ,accompanied by a side salad. I think this is now my favourite way of eating these omega 3 packed sardines .
Another dish we decided to try was a plate of mix fried fish with a side of tomato rice.
Lastly seafood & pork Cataplana , this was a mixture of king prawns, pork, mussels and shellfish in a spicy tomato sauce . There was slightly too much pork for me but it was pretty tasty . As you can see there is a theme of seafood and tomatoes but most importantly FRESH ingredients.
With my curious self I wanted to know more about Portugal’s fresh produce so we discovered the Zebra Jeep Safari excursion in the old town of Albufeira that explains all about the countries produce and its’ famous pumpkin, figs & orange jams and fire water ! whilst taking you on a fun ride up the mountains where you can see the beautiful views, something I highly recommend! .
On the jeep safari we came across an abundant supply of olive trees growing everywhere .Over time the green olives becomes black on the tree before its picked and cured in brine. Olives are particularly good if you suffer from high cholesterol , it’s shown to reduce the LDL “bad”cholesterol by up to 15% when used in substitution of butter.
We also came across Agave plants , these are used by the locals to make rope whilst the tips are used as a needle . Not only is this plant used to make ropes and needles but it produces a wonderful sweet nectar that can be used as a sugar replacement .
Carob is a wonderful alternative to chocolate and a great superfood that is very popular in Portugal . The pod is ground into powder or infused into fire water(alcohol) giving it a wonderful chocolate sweetness , it’s naturally sweet with a similar taste to maple syrup.It promotes a healthy digestion whilst lowering cholesterol levels in the blood . The seeds are boiled with milk and fed to babies to reduce diarrhea. If you have never tried it you should be able to find it your local health food store.
Overall this was a very educational and fun trip!, by the end of it all I wasn’t ready to come home yet . I could stay there forever enjoying the sun and beaches. But it was time to return home to London!. I would definitely recommend visiting Portugal -Algarve as a family trip (I went with my Mother, Aunt and Uncle and it was so much fun) or as a couple,there is something for everyone.