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Nature and Gourmet

Potatoes. Broad beans. Sweet potatoes. Sweet corn. Pumpkin. Carrots. Walnuts. Chestnuts. Acorns. Honey. Onions. Garlic. Cabbage. Apples. Oranges. Pomegranates. Quinces. Figs. Almonds, carob. Olives and olive oil. Medronho. Lemons. Asparagus. Chanterelles and many other wild mushrooms. Bay leaves. Rosemary. Thyme. Oregano. Parsley. Basil. Coriander. Piri piri.

Cantarelle da nossa mata 2014
Cantarelle da nossa mata

The list of products growing wild or cultivated by farmers all year round in Monchique – excellent foods, spices and herbs – is almost endless. Our land is rich in nutrients and good, the soil is black and the climate of sunshine and rain stimulates plant growth on every day of the year. Three potato harvests are not a rare occurrence. That is why the cuisine of Monchique is unique. The correct ingredients combined with the handing down of old recipes results in traditional cooking of unusual quality for gourmets.

Every Wednesday, we hike to the sights of the Monchique uplands and then eat, with real appetite and a fine feeling for what is good, a seasonal gourmet meal of several courses cooked exclusively for you. The walk alone is unique. In the autumn we visit an olive press, where the native oil is pressed cold. In the winter, we hike to one of the numerous traditional medronho distilleries and you try out the medronho firewater. Whether it’s to a watermill or mineral spring, a race to the peak, a mushroom hunt or a waterfall, a hike through nature never fails to make you hungry. Visits to the workshops of craftspeople like Leonel Telo, Maria Custódio or João Furtado and others can also be arranged on request. May we invite you?

A typical vegetable soup at the start of an “almoço” always alleviates the strains of a walk. “Assadura” (meat cut into strips) made from the (free-range) Iberian pig with vegetables and roast sweet potatoes, or a vegetarian chanterelle, cep or truffle bake are the absolute high points with our polyglot walking guides Igor Duarte, Robert Pritchard, Jürgen Kahlisch … For dessert, there are sweet treats made of carob, figs and almonds. A slice of the “bolo de tacho” (cake made of carob with honey and other ingredients) with a shot of medronho round off the visit.

Monchique is always worth visiting. Because of the natural surroundings, the local culture, or for a rest at the spa in Caldas. That’s why every walk to the natural sights of the Monchique uplands always starts on a Wednesday at 9 a.m. in front of the Hotel Central in Caldas de Monchique. Whole-day hikes take about six hours (around 20 km), including lunch. Half-day hikes take three and a half hours (around 12 km). We always bring you back to Caldas de Monchique, either on Shanks’s pony (i.e. on foot!) or by scheduled bus. Our guided walks for small groups with a maximum of eight walkers take you up to the peak of Picota (776 m). On the roof of the Algarve, you have a 360 degree panorama when the weather is fine, even as far as the southwest cape. Then we climb down to Monchique through a centuries-old cork oak forest.

Bring your best walking boots with you, a bottle of water, headgear, and suitable clothing for all weathers. Other routes and other walking days always available on request: +351 918 818 108 or info@eco123.info. Make yourself at home in Monchique…




Loja de Mel e Medronho

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