EXPERIENCE

A SLICE OF PARADISE

EXPERIENCE

A SLICE OF PARADISE

It doesn’t get more authentic than Monte do Alamo – a family farm, cooking school, restaurant and B&B in the hills of Tavira. Debbie Reynolds went to visit.

With its 180deg ocean view, beautiful old carob, almond, fig and olive trees, vegetable garden, rescue donkey and two dogs, it’s hard to believe Monte do Alamo iso only a ten-minute drive from central Tavira.

When you’re there you feel on top of the world, not only because of the setting, but because the Mesquita family are the epitome of Portuguese hospitality. Mom Rosario and daughters Ines and Mariana are the glue that binds it all together.

The family business plan started 15 years ago when Rosario decided the old family farm deserved to be rescued.

“The farm is a typical Algarve dry orchid that belonged to my father’s side of the family,” explains Rosario. “The house was a ruin, and nobody was living there, but I loved the location and decided it was time to renovate the property.”

Her original plan was to turn the old barn, warehouse and two cottages into a six-room bed and breakfast, which she would run when she retired from working in the financial and administrative department of a construction company.

“But things changed, and I decided to start immediately, beginning with the B&B and then moving onto the organic agricultural part,” says Rosario. “We now have a global project including agriculture, tourism and gastronomy.”

Ines says that it made sense to include gastronomy, as it is such a big part of a region’s culture.

“My grandmother, Maria de Lourdes, who was from the Alentejo, was a very good cook and we learned from her how to cook creatively using fresh, local ingredients and how to blend the cuisines of the Alentejo and Algarve. We thought it would add value to share this knowledge with other people.”

For their first ever cooking class, the invited chef was Avó Lourdes who cooked a ‘Summer Tastes’ menu, mainly for family and friends. It was such a success that the family knew they were onto a winner. Soon after Mariana launched Taste Algarve, incorporating cooking classes and food tours to top local producers and food markets.

“This way you get to dive into the culture of the Algarve,” says Ines, a former veterinarian, who now runs the cooking classes, while Mariana handles marketing and bookings. Rosario run the B&B and all three women work the farm along with Ines’s husband, Luis.

They use most of the farm produce in their guesthouse and cooking classes, while the excess is sold. “We use our produce all year round, from fresh on the table to pickles, preserves and jams.”

If you’d like a taste of Monte do Alamo, you can book a cooking class or enjoy a three-course set menu on the farm on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday nights.

To book: call 281 098 209.

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