These cups and plates are so full of joie de vivre that they make the tea more fragrant, the cake more intense, the fruit more exquisite. Raúl da Bernarda, an Alcobaça factory founded in 1875, produced these and other great ceramics. Hellas, this family business closed its doors in 2008. But, since most of their production was exported, you can still find their products in shops all over the world. So, let the treasure hunt begin! And what treasures they are, produced by five generations of artisans who molded humble clay into lasting beauty.
Farturas are similar to Spanish churros but they are larger and softer. A light dough made of eggs and flour is squeezed out of a pastry bag to form a large spiral shape. The dough is gently fried in oil and then cut into pieces with a pair of scissors. These pieces are sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and served immediately. Eating a warm fartura makes you feel like a kid again: everything is simple and wondrous and the infinite future looks sweet. You can find farturas in many fairs. Our favorites are from the São Mateus fair in Viseu. This year the fair runs until September 23. So, you still have time to go and be a kid again.
When Portuguese chefs are not working, they like to gather at Cervejaria Ramiro to enjoy some seafood and beer. The restaurant is located in an unglamorous part of Lisbon and looks like all the other neighborhood restaurant. What makes it unique is its extraordinary seafood. They do not serve farmed shrimp that arrives, tired and frozen, from far away lands. Instead, they offer you precious fresh shrimp from the Algarve. They prepare exquisite “carabineiros,” large shrimps once abundant in Spain but now available only in Portugal. They cook tender clams, a wonderful crab called “santola,” and salty percebes brought warm to the table. Even though Ramiro is in business since 1956, it is excluded from tourist guides for national security reasons. If the Spaniards learned about Ramiro’s seafood, they might invade Portugal.
Av. Almirante Reis, nº1 – H, 1150-007 Lisboa, tel. 21 885 10 24, email firstname.lastname@example.org, click here for website.
One day someone will write an encyclopedia about Portuguese sausages. And all thirty volumes will be best sellers. A play based on this work will be adapted to the cinema. And the blockbuster movie will feature Juliette Binoche playing a farmer who makes sausages from the meat of unicorns and other magical creatures. Those exotic sausages would not compare with the real thing: a sausage called “chouriça” made with pork marinated in red wine, paprika, garlic, and bay leaves, and smoked slowly during Winter. It is truly magic.