Calling all sardine lovers. Sardine season is well underway in the Algarve as fishermen and chefs are equally as busy keeping up with the demand to supply what is possibly Portugal’s favourite dish.
Though we have to admit the fishermen have a more challenging task than the chefs in the quest to quench locals’ and tourists’ seemingly insatiable hunger for the humble sardine. Why? Because the most common way to eat sardines on the Algarve is to simply drizzle some lemon and salt on them, throw them on the grill and serve them with a chunk of rustic bread.
In fact it’s not just the Algarve which has a hungry penchant for eating sardines. Sardine festivals take place across much of southern Europe all summer long. The most famous however happens to take place in Portmao on the Algarve. Portmao’s Sardine Festival takes place in early August when locals and visitors ascend on the town in their droves to celebrate what has been a staple food of the Algarve or centuries.
The Portmao Sardine Festival goes the extra mile when compared to other European sardine celebrations. This popular culinary event lasts for over a week. Live music, dressing up and activities for all the family accompany the rampant sardine eating, as the sweet smell of fresh sardines slowly cooking on a charcoal fire fill the warm Algarve air.
Portmao is a vibrant and cosmopolitan town, which has something for everyone. There is a museum to visit, river cruises to enjoy and many interesting, quirky and quality shops and restaurants to spend a leisurely day exploring.
With upmarket beach resorts, exquisite fishing ports and modern commercial shopping centres Portmao has also emerged as the new Western Europe destination for luxury travellers.
Though if you want to experience the town’s traditional, rustic charm, participating in the Sardine Festival in August is the perfect way to become acquainted with the esteem Portugal upholds towards its most popular culinary staple.