We don’t want you to get lost in the search for the best flavours the Algarve has to offer. So, we have prepared a short list with some traditional delicacies of the region, both sweet and savory. This is but the tip of the iceberg and you really should take your taste buds on an adventure while here!
These iconic Algarve treats are as colorful as they are tasty! The small marzipan sweets are made with grated almond, sugar and eggs. They usually take up the shapes and colours of fruits or vegetables such as carrots, watermelons, figs or even oranges!
A unique addition to this list, Dom Rodrigo stands out from the other suggestions because it turns out to be a complete surprise for those who eat it for the first time. This candy is wrapped in colored silver paper and consists of egg strands, Ovos Moles (a regional sweet, also made of eggs and sugar) and almond crumb.
Topped with icing sugar, these sweet, round delicacies have a strong flavor, which they owe to their composition of Ovos Moles, sugar and almond. They also feature some chila in their filling.
First of all, please do not to be fooled by the name. It is named "cheese" only due to its shape and outer appearance. A typically springtime delicacy, that can realistically be eaten all year round and - like most Algarvian sweets - has a strong sugar and almond base, with the addition of plenty of ground fig in its batter.
The delicious base of a traditional cold salad, which you will only find at the most typical of restaurants in Algarve. The tuna is first subjected to a wet-salting process until it reaches the desired consistency and color. It is then soaked and mixed with tomatoes and peppers, resulting in a delicious dish. If you have never tasted it, then what are you waiting for?
A true staple of Algarve cuisine, cataplana is used to describe both the dish and the utensil where the ingredients are cooked.
First let's approach the utensil. Of Arabic origin, this concave metal pan is plated in copper and allows you to fully seal the food's richness during the cooking process.
As for the components, they are simmered in the sealed pan and the ingredients may vary, depending on the area or the restaurant. The more traditional cataplanas are made with seafood, but you can also find many variations of this dish that include other base ingredients, like pork.
Xerém or xarém (you can safely say it both ways) is a typical Algarve dish, but also very popular in Brazil and Cape Verde. This cornmeal porridge is a favorite partner to numerous traditional dishes, but is most often seen accompanying fish courses, whether these are fried or grilled. It is a very different alternative to the more common side dishes, such as potatoes, rice or salad.