this is the archive for the ‘algarving’ category:

bolinhas do carlos

and since the theme of the moment seems to be sweet stuff, i’m going to mention the typical beach snack in portugal too: bolas de berlim! they’re a different species from their german or slovenian counterparts, in that they’re not filled with jam or covered with a thin layer of chocolate. these balls are serious business, cut in half and properly filled with “creme pasteleiro”, a kind of thick egg cream.

as a rule, they’re outstanding everywhere in portugal, but somehow they seem to taste better at the beach… maybe something about all that sea breeze opening one’s appetite? :D men carry them around the beach in styrofoam boxes, shouting out loud “booooooliiiinha!” so that everyone can hear and come to them for their sweet craving.

we like them a lot but truth be told, we don’t go to the beach all that often… so when a friend told us they could be purchased straight from the source, we drove to the factory in olhão and got some!

i have to say, i was a bit skeptical but they were a-ma-zing! still warm from the frying and filled with the freshest egg cream, not too lemony or otherwise weird — just as i like them. what a treat!

sadly, the factory closes over winter, and we’re already counting the days until they’re back in business. see you soon, dear bolinhas!


corn flour is used in the north of portugal to make “broa”, a heavy kind of bread that often accompanies countryside meals… but in the south, this bread is nowhere to be found. instead, they grind the corn coarsely to make xarém, a sort of soupy concoction resembling very watery polenta. corn being corn, it tastes mostly to the flavorings one adds to it, and so it’s incredibly versatile.

you can eat it with mussels and bacon, as is traditional in olhão:

or with octopus, as in this cooking demonstration in tavira:

the corn meal was cooked in the octopus’ cooking water, and turned an unappealing brown, but was actually way tastier than its yellow alternative. either way, it is super heavy as a meal, and best enjoyed in winter. i approve!

analogue wednesday #160

our regional platibanda is a thing of beauty.

analogue wednesday #159

home sweet home.

folhado de tavira

you know when things look rather promising and then they turn out to be a disappointment?

yeah. i wanted *so much* to like the cake that bears our new hometown’s name… but in the end, it just wasn’t all that great. i’ve tried it twice now, thinking that perhaps the first try had been a fluke — but i couldn’t finish it in either of the attempts, so i think it’s a lost cause for me.

one has to wonder though, what is the point of a folhado (or puff pastry) that is so saturated in syrup as to ruin all its flakiness and turn it unto an unrecognizable soggy mess? :| why would you do that?

when our friend F came to visit a couple of months ago, he pointed to some in a café and asked what they were made of. the person behind the counter replied “sugar!” and left it at that.

i guess if you like eating sugar, this is good stuff. :D