Should you want to take a break from all the busy nightlife of the eastern Algarve coast, than take a walk through the iron gate at Companhia das Culturas, a secluded guest house with a charming outdoor restaurant surrounded by lush fig trees and an alluring country quiet.
Dinner here is made from scratch with fresh in season ingredients, every evening, by a rather creative young chef whose passion for food is evident in every bite. Jossara Martins, works diligently in her country kitchen surrounded by jars of homemade jams, vinegars and liquours she concocts with fruit grown all over the property. Tonight, as a pre-dinner cocktail, we’re having an apricot liquor she’s made without adding any extra alcohol so you can taste the intense flavor of the fruit in its wholesome state, a light spirit with an almost smoothie consistency. Delightful!
As a starter, we had the carapau alimado sobre figo confitado com vinagre de albaricoque, brined and boiled horse mackerel over fig confit drizzled with apricot vinegar is a clever combination of sweet and sour that pairs fruit and fish ever so tastefully: the tender texture of the mackerel over the sweet and juicy fig made for a genuinely light summer appetizer. Next came the ceviche de cavala com algas e pimento de Padrón, mackerel ceviche and seaweed drizzled with apricot vinegar and sprinkled with sesame seeds, all garnished with a small green Padrón pepper, known for being randomly hot. Fortunately for me, this one wasn’t.
For the main course, we had the açorda de marisco: seafood stew made with country bread. Originally, a poor man’s meal to which was added whatever one could find. In this case, being close to the ocean, seafood is the usual choice. Bread is mixed into a seafood broth and served with clams, shrimp and fresh coriander. This hearty dish paired with a chilled vinho verde is Portuguese comfort food at its best!
Dessert was an interesting surprise: quindim de alfarroba com sorbete de albaricoque e mel de membrilho., a rather dense carob pudding that was nicely complemented with a light homemade apricot ice-cream churned with evaporated milk, instead of cream, and drizzled with quince syrup. A refreshing ending to a peaceful summer evening in the quiet Algarve countryside!
Companhia das Culturas
Rua do Monte Rosa
8950-270 Castro Marim
Tel: 281 957 062