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Food in Alentejo - tasty "Migas" (crumbs) with meat

Alentejo food, gastronomy in Alentejo Portugal

Alentejo food… Ah! Restaurantes in Evora are the ideal place for visitors to be introduced to Alentejo gastronomy. In this region, it is well-known, the cuisine is a must. The reason is simple: delicious ingredients from Alentejo together with the wise hands of the people who have lived here for generations.

In the past, life in Alentejo was very hard and the economical resources of the people were scarce. Old people often tell the story that, during the dictatorship times of “Estado Novo” in mid 20th century, 2 or 3 people could expect to share 1 single sardine at meal time.

These factors made the tradicional Alentejo gastronomy to become simple but imaginative, by mixing the seasonal ingredients available to create dishes with origins which are easy to recognise.

Alentejo cooking ingredients

Alentejo tradicional cuisine has, as a base, the unavoidable pork, lamb and bread. Always the bread. In special, older people never have a meal (not even a not at all traditional pasta) without a little bit of Alentejo bread.

traditional alentejo food
Alentejo food – Lamb Stew

To the main ingredients, we add local herbs which grow wildly on the plains and near creeks or are cultivated on vegetable gardens and fields to simply harvest or use ancient techniques, for example, to produce Alentejo “gold”, olive oil.

When you eat in Alentejo, you are almost certain to find these herbs and seasoning on your plate.

  • coriander
  • mint
  • pennyroyal
  • oregano
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • onion
  • bay/laurel
  • other aromatic herbs

The delicious dishes in Alentejo gastronomy

Among many other dishes, Alentejo gastronomy is immediately identified on the so-called “açordas” or “sopas de pão” (bread stew/bread soup). They consist of simple but tasty broths in which you submerge Alentejo bread. Dishes names vary, depending on the Alentejo region you are.

The most famous soups and açordas are the following. Some are original, others are variants of the rich food we find throughout all regions in Portugal.

  • Açorda Alentejo style
  • Ensopado de borrego (Lamb Stew)
  • Sopa de cação (Dogfish Soup)
  • Sopa da panela (Pot Soup)
  • Sopa de beldroegas (Purslane soup)
  • Sopa de tomate (Tomato Soup)
  • Sopa de toucinho (Lard Soup)
  • Cozido à Portuguesa à moda do Alentejo (Portuguese Stew Alentejo style)

Other delicacies are added to these soups, which are usually eaten as a main dish but sometimes also as a first dish. Equally traditional in Alentejo, we have game dishes and “migas” (crumbs).

To eat before, during or after the main dishes we can’t forget the ripened cheeses, “enchidos” (sausages), olives,… Desserts get their recipes from the tradition in convents, where confectionery has its base on eggs, almonds and Siam pumpkin. Highlights go to Pão de Rala, Encharcadas and Barrigas de Freira (Nun Bellies…).

food alentejo
Alentejo food – delicious ham

Alentejo Food in Evora

In most restaurantes in Evora, Alentejo gastronomy is king. The products and generic traditional dishes from the Alentejo are cooked side by side with those characteristic from Evora region.

Products and dishes in Evora district

Evora cheese

Evora cheese is ripened, hard or semi-hard and slightly yellow. The shape is traditional in Alentejo, circular and small. Its classification has the common designation DOP for “Denominação de Origem Protegida” (Protected Designation of Origin).

Wines

In Alentejo there are 8 subregions which produce Alentejo Wines. The Tourism Region of Evora contains 5 of these wine production subregions of DOC wine (Denominação de Origem Controlada – Controlled Designation of Origin). Even close to the city of Evora, production is made in the award-winning Adega da Cartuxa (wine cellar), with the wines Pêra Manca, Cartuxa and Monte dos Pinheiros. Pay them a visit.

Traditional Alentejo food in Evora

A large part of the traditional food you can eat in Evora is common to the other areas in Alentejo. But there are some typical dishes in the district which you can taste, almost exclusively, in Evora restaurants. Here are some suggestions.

Soups

  • Sopa de toucinho (Lard Soup)
  • Sopa de cação (Dogfish Soup)(
  • Sopa de beldroegas (Purslane soup)
  • Sopa de tomate (Tomato Soup)
  • Açorda à alentejana (Alentejo style Açorda)
  • Gaspacho à alentejana (Alentejo style Gazpacho)

Fish and meat main dishes

  • River fishes
  • Different ways to prepare pork and lamb
  • Ensopado de borrego (Lamb Stew)
  • Cabeça de xara (Head cheese)
  • Pezinhos de porco de coentrada (Pork’s feet with coriander)
  • Empadas de galinha (Chicken pot pies)
  • Perdiz à Montemor (Montemor partridge)
  • Hare and other game dishes
  • Several types of crumbs (migas)
  • Sarapatéis
  • Sausages
  • Cacholeiras
  • Hams spread with olive oil
  • Sargalheta de toucinho à moda de Évora (Lard dish Evora style)

Desserts / Confectionery

  • Encharcada from Santa Clara Convent
  • Lard cakes from Arraiolos
  • Trouxas de ovos
  • Cernelha de Montemor-o-Novo
  • Bolo de mel (Honey cake)
  • Queijinhos do Céu de Mora
  • Granadas de Vendas Novas
  • Manjar e Porquinho de chocolate de Moura
  • Tibornas
  • Pão de rala
  • Pão de ló (Sponge cake)
  • Bolo Joana do Convento de Santa Clara
  • Sericaia
  • Torreão Real de Évora
  • Bolo Rolão
  • Queijadas de Évora
  • Toucinho da Madre Abadessa
  • Filhós enroladas
alentejo sweets gastronomy
Alentejo sweet – Sericaia

You surely have a watering mouth by now with this huge list of delicacies. Come to Evora and get to know Alentejo food in the region it was created. Bring family and friends and enjoy the hospitality of the people in Alentejo.

We highlight
Food in Alentejo hasn’t stopped in time. In the last years it has been reinventing itself with approaches which bring tradition and our new chefs’ imagination together. A good place to start trying is the restaurant Mojo – Food, Friends & Beer.
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