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Portugal 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Algarve, March 1-3, 2013

Forty years after their first meeting in Portugal, which took place in the presence of founder and Grand Chancelier Jean Valby in Albufeira in 1973, La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the oldest gastronomic association in the world, hosted a special weekend in the Algarve to celebrate the anniversary of its Portuguese operation.

Paying tribute to the region’s cuisine and traditions, the event took place over the course of three days (between March 1 and March 3) and was held under three themes: From the Sea, From the Earth and From the Sky.

“Our celebratory programme has been set up to remind us of what the Algarve is all about: lovely beaches with fish and seafood, beautiful countryside with very traditional lifestyles and products, and the best hotels and restaurants in the world,” said Michel Dressler, president of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Algarve.

After checking in at the Porches-based luxury resort Vila Vita Parc, the Chaîne members kicked-off the event with dinner at the well-known beach restaurant Rei das Praias, located at Caneiros beach in Ferragudo. Owned by David Martinho and run by his son Luís, guests had a taste of the best the Algarve sea has to offer with a great choice of fresh seafood and fish (sea bass and red snapper), whilst enjoying the eatery’s stylish yet casual atmosphere.

For the ‘From the Earth’ theme, the organisation took guests inland on their second day for a visit and tasting at the Monte da Lameira medronho distillery in the Monchique mountains, followed by a trip to the yearly traditional Monchique sausage fair. Lunch was held at the Fonte dos Chorões, a traditional restaurant, where the Chaîne members were joined by the Medronho Brotherhood, and then enjoyed some shopping at the Honey and Medronho shop.

But the fun-packed second day wasn’t over yet, as a two Michelin starred dinner at Vila Vita’s fine dining Ocean was awaiting guests back at the resort. Entirely fulfilling the ‘From the Sky’ theme, Austrian chef Hans Neuner prepared a five-course menu complete with wine pairing. This included the original sea bass and barnacles with dill and garden cucumber with Pata Negra ham or the beautiful Atlantic lobster and veal cheek with truffle and cauliflower. After a comforting breakfast at Vila Vita on their third and final day, the celebration finally came to an end.

As with every meeting organised by the Chaîne in Portugal, the funds raised in the anniversary event will be donated to the organisation’s Gastronomy School in Évora, whose two-year course began in October 2012 with a total of 29 students from underprivileged families.

Ana Tavares (Reproduced with kind permission of

The first meeting which took place in the presence Grand Chancelier Jean Valby in Albufeira in 1973