In Montemuro Mountain the knowledge of Mother Nature is as ancestral as the involving natural landscapes. The inhabitants of the cosy villages of Montemuro Mountain know by heart which is the best time to plant and the best time to harvest. Food has almost a sacred meaning, for every product must be eaten in its due time. This is the secret of absolutely unrivalled flavours: respecting the pace of Nature.
The food traditions of Montemuro Mountain are deeply fascinating. They actually tell us a lot about local identity. This region is still an hidden gem, an authentic place that evokes ancestral wisdom and deep-rooted knowledge about the ways of the natural world. Food for the body and also for the soul.
The regional bread - "broa" - is the almighty ingredient of every table. Always ready for every meal, it was eaten with a handful of olives, an open onion, salt and vinegar, a sardine or even bacon. Baked in a wooden oven, the regional bread can be made with rye or corn. But corn bread plays a major role.
Soup has always been a pivotal element of every table. Baked with a few potatoes, cabbage, turnip greens, beans and also bacon. All homes have soup for both lunch and dinner. Soup is truly the basis of every meal. A comforting dish for people who work really hard in the fields.
In the icy seasons of Autumn and Winter the pig is slaughtered. A timeless tradition common to most villages of Portugal. This is a family ritual and a great excuse for mingling with relatives and friends. The pig is actually the nourishing basis of the families. Smoked ham and many sausages like "salpicão", "chouriça" are among the most sought-after pig-related products.
Bean rice with the typical sausage "salpicão" is a mouth-watering speciality, very popular among the local community. The restaurant of the charming village Mezio serves this delicacy and it's hard not to repeat!
"Bolo podre" is a sweet olive oil bread made with wheat flour, baked in a wooden oven. This is beyond any doubt the true gastronomic icon of Castro Daire. A must in Easter time, it can nevertheless be tasted all year long in every local patisserie.
Even though meat plays a central role in local food habits, there are some desserts worth tasting, such as "aletria", which is a delicious sweet pasta speciality with cinnamon and also an Easter delicacy; sweet rice; "sopas secas" (dry soups) also known as "the dessert of the poor", a Christmas dessert made of wheat bread slices soaked in water, previously boiled with sugar and a cinnamon stick, baked in a wooden oven.
As in centuries ago, the communities of Montemuro Mountain continue to follow timeless traditions and to bake ancestral recipes, using the food of the season. The solemn respect for Mother Nature makes everything more meaningful. And more delicious too!