Food art with olive oil in North Portugal

A creative and varied array of artistic food items can be tasted in a restored olive press (lagar) in the parish of Maçainhas, Belmonte, in the North of Portugal.

The press, which purports to be a living museum, is managed by the local parish council and artist António Mauritti is in charge of creating new ways to taste olive oil on a first-floor where the entire olive oil production process can be observed.

In a small kitchen, Mauritti experiments with the olive live, creating innovative delicacies such as powder olive oil with freeze-dried Migas crumbs, olives covered with mountain cheese milanesa style, or olive oil caviar.

Mauritti’s favourite creation is something he calls ‘Azeite do Céu’ (Heavenly Olive Oil), a word-play on the traditional Iberian monastic confection Toucinho do Céu (Heavenly Bacon) made from eggs and sugar (certainly not a savoury!). Made only with olive oil, the golden liquid gives a sweet texture and flavour and reduces the sugar from 700g to 300g.