Serra da Arrábida: Gastronomy
The gastronomic heritage of Azeitão is as prestigious as its historical and cultural heritage.
Cheese from Azeitão
A representative of one of the traditional activities of the Natural Park of Arrábida, the Cheese of Azeitão is a buttery cheese, made with sheep’s milk, characterized by its peculiar flavor and aroma, qualities that are conferred to it by the Arrábida grasses and the thistle that is used in its coagulation.
Its origins date back to the 19th century when a cheesemaker from the Serra da Estrela settled down in Azeitão and taught to the pastors of the region the secrets of the manufacture that, transmitted from generation to generation, gave rise to one of the most appreciated Portuguese cheeses.
The sweets of Azeitão is also well known and its main specialties are the Pies, the These and the Sweet Cookies.
Since ancient times the vines have been cultivated in this region and viticulture continues to be one of its main activities. I would like to point out that two of the largest national companies in this area are based in Azeitão – José Maria da Fonseca and JP Vinhos.
The climate and soil conditions favor the production of grapes and wines of various types. Especially famous is the Moscatel de Setúbal, a liqueur wine with an exotic floral scent and hints of honey, dates, and orange that make it unique and unmistakable Red and white table wines are also produced.
The abundance of aromatic plants (rosemary, myrtle, stems, rosemary, thyme and gorse among others), coupled with the temperate nature of the winters, offers good conditions for beekeeping. The Arrábida Honey has a velvety and very characteristic flavor.
Products and typical gastronomy
The fresh fish is one of the strongest images of Sesimbra. Of the more traditional dishes, besides the charcoal grilled fish, the Caldeirada a Pescador, the Swordfish with prawns, the Fillets of Black swordfish fried, the Rice of Octopus or the swordfish cooked with peas.
In the countryside, besides the fish and seafood, we find a wide variety of dishes based on meat and in Quinta do Conde it is possible to appreciate specialties typical of various regions of the country.
Another very old activity, but that in the last years registered a significant growth was the beekeeping. The extensive green area of the county, the great diversity of flora and the mild climate throughout the year provide regular food for the bees and good conditions for the development of this activity.
In terms of sweets, the Alfas, the Toasted Flour and the Tamarins are well known, although there are other very appreciated sweets such as the Admirals, the Farmaça de Alfarim or the Brisas do Castelo, among others.