Members of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Bailliage de l’Algarve and their guests travelled north on Sunday, May 5 to participate, together with Chaîne members from the Alentejo region and members of the public, in the opening event of Vila Vita’s biannual Fine Wines & Food Fair at the Herdade dos Grous in Albernoa.
A tour of the adega, with the opportunity to sample port from Vila Vita’s vineyard in northern Portugal’s Quinta de Valbom, started the lunchtime gathering.
Guests were then transported to the shores of the lake where they could enjoy the estate’s panoramic views of olive groves, vineyards, cork forests and cattle breeding as well as their accommodation facilities.
A cookout had been prepared by guest chef Ljubomir Stanisic from restaurant 100 Maneiras in Lisbon, assisted by the Herdade’s resident chef Rui Prado and his staff. Several of the Michelin-star chefs who were involved in events later in the week were present to lend a hand with the food preparation and to participate in the lively discussions taking place. Tables and benches of bales of straw, traditional for a Portuguese “Assado”, were set out under the shade of the trees and surrounded by the cooking stations providing, within everyone’s easy reach, such gastronomic delights as traditional starters of local sausages, octopus salads, homemade bread, roast suckling pig, oysters cooked on an open fire, a wide variety of desserts, cheeses and fresh fruits.
Elsewhere, the estate’s red and white wines were served, and coffee was also available. It was an absolute treat to wander from one food station to another, sampling the delights on offer in the relaxing surroundings.
This event, as well as all other events organised by the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, generates funds for the Gastronomic School in Évora, which provides underprivileged youngsters with the opportunity of education in the hospitality industry.