Influenced by various civilisations and different levels of knowledge and practices, from the most traditional to the most cutting-edge, the Mediterranean diet in the Algarve is one of the most fascinating and vivid expressions of the region’s entire culture. Based on fresh, natural and mostly locally-produced foodstuffs, the use of pure olive oil as the preferred fat, the constant presence of fresh fish and, in particular, varieties rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as sardines, mackerel and tuna, the limited consumption of red meat, the role of fruit, pulses and green vegetables, and even the moderate consumption of wine containing natural antioxidants, everything in this diet is an integral part of a healthy and appealing lifestyle.
Even though it is not a particularly big region, the Algarve boasts an incredible variety of culinary propositions. The differences between the cuisines of the coastal area, the uplands and the barrocal, and between east (Sotavento) and west (Barlavento) are many and all contribute to an enriched shared heritage. The passing down of knowledge and methods from generation to generation, as well as the rituals of conviviality and socialising, mean that rather than being simply foodstuffs, what we are talking about here are the elements that make up the identities of families, communities and the whole Algarve. The awareness of this treasure, an essential condition for its preservation, is yet another ingredient that is harmoniously in keeping with the discovery of everything else that the Algarve has to offer body and soul.
The Algarve is the gateway to the Mediterranean, with a taste of the Atlantic. An octopus salad or some maize porridge, a razor-clam or chickpea stew, a fig star or a little carob cake, all bring more than just pleasure to the senses. They are part of an entire way of life, a healthy relationship between generations, between those who are here, those who come and those who go, between the Algarve itself and the whole world around it. Come and enjoy it.