Learning about tea and cakes

Pupils of year six of the International School of the Algarve in Porches visited ‘Quinta dos Avós’ recently, a very pleasant café that makes and sells traditional cakes and teas, with an adjoining museum near Algoz.

The trip, led by Portuguese teachers, Mrs. Erika Cruz, Mrs. Teresa Albuquerque and form teacher Mrs. Carol Lawrence, was part of their Portuguese language programme. The objective was to learn about the traditional cakes of the Algarve and about life in the region a few decades ago, before tourism began to exert the influence it has today.

The children were warmly received by D. Encarnação and her staff in the kitchen, where they watched the making of the well known ‘doce fino’ – small coloured marzipan cakes in the shape of birds, fruit and vegetables. To the pupils’ great delight, they were then allowed to make their own marzipan cake and colour it. They also watched the making of ‘Fios de Ovos’ and, even better, were able to taste them!

The children also visited the café museum, which is full of items relating to life here in the time of our grandparents, including carts, water carriers, farm implements, yokes, saddles and the tools of various professions. In the garden, the pupils learnt about plants that were the medicines of yesteryear and from which the ‘Quinta dos Avós’ cooks make their many teas. At the end of an educational and enjoyable day, the children sat in the tea-room and had a cup of Bella Louisa tea with carob butter cookies, while D. Encarnação and her staff answered their questions.