Portugal Weekend
Bailliage Provincial of Sud du Tage
Vila Novela de Cacela, October 13-15, 2017
On and around the River Guadiana

An international group of Chaîne members and guests met at the Restaurant “Chá com Agua Salgada” on Manta Rota beach on Friday 13th to enjoy a light fish lunch to start this well-planned gastronomic weekend.

The group proceeded to Monte Rei Resort which was to be our base and where we were welcomed by our host Maître Hotelier Salvador de Lucena. Monte Rei’s signature restaurant “Vistas” and its Michelin-star Executive Chef Albano Lourenço provided the ideal combination of delightful surroundings and Mediterranean cuisine using high quality local ingredients.

A leisurely morning boat trip on the River Guadiana gave the group, which was made up of more than seven different nationalities, the opportunity to get to know each other better. The boats passed the old mining port of Pomarão continuing through the beautiful river surroundings to Laranjeiras for lunch which included some local dishes such as eel stew.

Previous autumn trips had always remained in Portugal but this year the Saturday evening dinner was at “Acanthum” Restaurant in Huelva just over the border in Spain. Chef/Owner Xanty Elias achieved his Michelin star within two years of opening his restaurant.

He and his young staff served an exciting menu in traditional tapas format which they called “100% Emoción”. Some of the 15 dishes were prepared at the table by Chef Xanty himself. All showed his passion and dedication for creating feelings and tastes stimulating both eyes and mouth.

Several dishes achieved this by way of contrast - an olive bonbon for Spain and sardine paste for Portugal - and cumulated in a glass containing wine some 200 years old, bottled 150 years ago and young Cava sparkling wine with orange oil and lemon rind.

In spite of the inconvenience of having to travel some way and the hour time difference all present agreed that the evening in Huelva had been a memorable and entertaining one.

The relaxed farewell luncheon at the Grill at Monte Rei Clubhouse was again in tapas format giving everyone the opportunity to linger over such delicacies as strawberry gazpacho with Cacela oyster or clams “bulhão pato” and to turn their thoughts to making plans for next year’s trip.

This event, as every other meeting of the Chaîne, generated funds for the charities worldwide supported by the Chaîne Foundation including the Gastronomy School here in Portugal.

Jean Ferran
Bailli Provincial