W I N E A N D OL I V E OI L IN THE
M E DI T E R R A N E A N DI E T
P O R T U G A L
A large table, good food, some wine – and many friends – this is the Mediterranean Lifestyle.
PLENT Y OF TIME A N D P L E N T Y OF SK Y...
e dream about having time. Time enough to have a long chat with friends. To sit contentedly together with children and parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews; to enjoy them in an unhurried way. To tell the old stories over again, to laugh about them once more and take another sip of wine. To relax and to be joyful. This sounds like a fantasy in our hectic everyday life, but somewhere else it has long been a part of living reality. And in truth, so important a part that UNESCO has classified it as a valuable cultural heritage, to be preserved: the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ is the official term for this way of life in UNESCO’s legalese. This way of living acknowledges the desire and the need of individuals to sit at the table with friends and family, to eat and drink together. And above all, to simply pass the time with one another, fully relaxed and without stress.
No stress, no duress: the endless vistas of the Alentejo...
If there is one region where this fantasy is realised, it is the Alentejo in the south of Portugal. Where the very landscape itself blesses us generously with both tranquillity and joie de vivre. Endless vistas, softly undulating plains and an open, expansive sky of immaculate blue: the region called Alentejo enchants its visitors with this picturebook landscape. Across the wide horizon, grain fields meld into vineyards. Between them grow mighty cork oaks and gnarled, ancient olive trees, in whose shade the native ‘porcos pretos’ (black foot pigs) take their ease and feed on acorns.
THE MEDITERR ANEAN DIET: AN INTANGIBLE
he notion that consumption of wine and olive oil contributes to good health has been extensively discussed and recognised since (at the very latest) the famed French Paradox of 1992. But this has been known for thousands of years. In addition, the social aspects of the Mediterranean lifestyle contribute substantially to the well-being of the people: the element of conviviality, gathering in large numbers at table with friends and with family, the preparation of meals from recipes that have been handed down – all in all a more ‘human’ rhythm of life, which allows more room for emotion and interpersonal relationships.
DR SERGE RENAUD COINED THE PHRASE ‘THE FRENCH PARADOX’ IN CONNEXION WITH FRENCH CONSUMPTION OF RED WINE
Shared mealtimes are such an important feature of the Mediterranean lifestyle that this is considered a fundamental aspect of cultural identity in the region. And when we speak of the Mediterranean region, it includes all countries where the olive tree flourishes – in this context, the ‘olive-tree border’ is a term often used. UNESCO has designated the Mediterranean Diet as an intangible cultural heritage, recognising it as a particular way of living that is shared by all nations in the Mediterranean region. This includes dedicated protection of the traditions, rituals and skills connected with this style of life. And of course, traditional recipes and methods of food preparation are considered particularly important.
UNESCO ADDED THE MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE – IN ITALY, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, MOROCCO, GREECE, CYPRUS AND CROATIA – TO ITS LIST OF INTANGIBLE MANIFESTATIONS OF HUMAN CULTURAL HERITAGE.
In the Mediterranean region, people cook with simple ingredients, whose flavours are presented in a straightforward and unadulterated fashion. The recipes that Grandmother handed down remain unaffected by the dictates of fashion, but rather reflect the changing seasons and the availability of ingredients. For the most part, these traditional dishes are vegetarian or vegan – so one could also call them ‘in tune with the times’... Here, the daily menu features a lot of vegetables, legumes, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, sprouts and whole grains. Milk products such as cheeses and yoghurt are not consumed so frequently, and even fish is eaten in moderation. Red meat is a rarity, and when it does appear on the menu, it is served in very small portions. Olive oil is certainly the most important source of fats, and a glass of red wine at mealtimes is very welcome. Artisanally produced foodstuffs have long been at the core of Mediterranean nutritional choices. In this, the increasing use of sustainably produced provisions and the adoption of careful production techniques form an essential contribution to this society’s cultural, environmental and organic identity.
AS EARLY AS 1614, GIACOMO CASTELVETRO WAS RECOMMENDING A DIET BASED UPON PRINCIPALS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE TO THE ENGLISH.
AMERICAN BIOLOGIST ANCEL KEYS AND HIS WIFE, CHEMIST MARGARET KEYS, PUBLISHED THE FIRST STUDY OF THE MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE.
Mighty cork oaks shape the landscape of the Alentejo.
The overwhelming majority of Alentejano wines are red.
THE FAMOUS GL ASS OF RED WINE AT MEALTIMES...
hall we meet at 7PM for a glass of wine?’ ‘Sure! Where in town will we find the good Petiscos?’ ...this is how you make a date for a glass of wine in the Alentejo – always combined with at least a bite to nibble on. Because that’s one particular thing about Mediterranean cuisine: wine is never drunk on its own, but always with food and in a social setting. The Alentejo offers a splendid example of the Mediterranean lifestyle, with its simple but intensely flavourful cuisine and its relaxed way of living. The most important ingredients in this culinary culture are olive oil, vegetables (fresh), fish, bread and red wine. Wine as part of the ‘cuisine’? Certainly! The famous glass of red wine at mealtimes is an indispensable part of the Mediterranean diet. But that’s what makes this way of living so special – everything is enjoyed to a purpose and in moderation, including the glass of wine.
Red wines, which make up the majority of wines from the Alentejo, are often considered as a determining factor in cooking, since the wine will be chosen first, and then the appropriate course will be prepared to match with it. Alentejano rosés are particularly well suited to accompany a wide-ranging selection of petiscos, those small Portuguese canapés (sometimes one is even tempted to make an entire meal of them). White wines from the Alentejo, which are mostly fresh and fruity, provide a marvellous accompaniment to fish, stews of white meat and to soft cheeses.
A S PA R T OF T H E MEDITER R A NE A N DIET
Olive groves are typical of the Mediterranean region.
The flavour of Portuguese olive oils can vary widely, since there are many different varieties of olive.
THERE’S ALWAYS A CANISTER OF OLIVE OIL ON THE TABLE.
long with vegetables, fish, bread and red wine, olive oil is one of the most important ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine. Studies have shown that men and women living in countries where olive oil is traditionally consumed suffer less frequently from illnesses affecting the heart and the circulatory system. Olive oil is particularly rich in unsaturated fats, vitamin E and natural antioxidants such as carotene and phenols, which support the body in its struggle against cellular aging.
With its fruity aromas and colour ranging from greenish yellow to gold, its complex flavour (from bitter to slightly sweet), Portuguese olive oil provides a terrific basis for many tasty dishes out of the Mediterranean kitchen. Just as in some cultures one always finds salt and pepper on table (or soy sauce in others), in Portugal there’s always a canister of olive oil on the table. And if you add a bit of bread and coriander, you’ve got the Alentejo’s most important ingredients on hand.
Fine olive oil is also an essential element of one of the Alentejo’s most famous dishes, Carne de porco à alentejana, a stew of pork, clams and coriander. Or for the type of salad in which traditional beans like blackeyed peas are marinated in olive oil to take on an unmistakable regional flavour. And of course in the Pão-de-Ló, a sweet sponge cake enhanced with Portuguese olive oil.
OL I V E OI L
But it is not only the authentic and unadulterated foodstuffs that characterise the beneficial lifestyle of the Alentejanos, but above all the wish and need of the individual to sit down to the table with friends and family, to eat and drink together. In short, a way of life that has endured for centuries in the Alentejo.
A FUNDA MENTA L ELEMENT OF THE MEDITER R A NE A N DIET
R E C I P E #1
GREEN POTATO SAL AD WITH WARMED CODFISH AND CORIANDER-OLIVE OIL
I N G R E D I E N T S (4P): 200 g broad green beans 400 g waxy potatoes salt 5 tablespoons lemon juice 1 bay leaf 300 g thick cod filet 4 sprigs coriander leaves (cilantro) 8 sprigs parsley 100 ml Portuguese extra virgin olive oil 100 g fennel bulb with greens a few coriander blossoms (optional) 80 g pitted green olives
PR EPA R ATION: Wash the beans and slice them on the diagonal. Peel and dice the potatoes. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes in salt water, and add the beans after three minutes. Cool the boiled vegetables under cold water, and drain them in a sieve. In a small pot, bring 200ml water to a boil with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the bay leaf and a pinch of salt. Add the cod filets and simmer, turning them once, for 8 minutes without coming to a boil. Purée the coriander greens and parsley in the extra virgin olive oilwith a hand mixer. Salt to taste. Either dice the fennel finely or shave it; finely pluck the greens. Drain the fish on a paper towel and separated it into leaf-like portions with two forks. Arrange the vegetables and the fish on a platter or a plate. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, and then drizzle the puréed coriander and parsley oil over the salad. Decorate this with coriander blossoms, olives and capers. Serve immediately. Tip: The best extra virgin olive oil to use here would be a monovarietal oil of the Maçanilha olive from Portugal. This medium-fruity oil with its sweet notes of banana and almond, fresh tartness and crescendo of peppery spice accompanies the salad’s savoury ingredients quite nicely. Recommended wine: match this dish with a white wine with the grape varieties Arinto, Antão Vaz and Roupeiro from the Alentejo. Recipe from Stevan Paul
R E C I P E #2
COLD TOMATO SOUP WITH OLIVE-WALNUT PESTO AND TOAST
PR EPA R ATION:
for the tomato soup: 1 can tomatoes (425 g before draining) 400 g fresh tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 dried tomatoes 1 clove garlic 1 teaspoon sugar 1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 5 tablespoons Portuguese extra virgin olive oil salt chilli powder
for the soup – purée the canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, peeled garlic, sugar, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with a hand mixer. Add salt and chilli powder to taste.
for the pesto: 40 g walnuts 40 g green olives, pitted 2 sardines 80 g canned chickpeas 1 clove garlic ca. 150 ml Portuguese extra virgin olive oil 6-8 sprigs coriander leaves (cilantro) 1 small bunch of parsley 4 sprigs dill 40 g grated hard cheese (such as Queijo Terrincho or Queijo Rabaçal; if these are unobtainable, you may use Pecorino or Parmesan) additionally: ½ loaf pita or other flatbread Portuguese extra virgin olive oil dill blossoms and coriander blossoms (optional)
for the pesto – finely chop the walnuts, olives, sardines, chickpeas and peeled garlic and blend with extra virgin olive oil. Finely chop the coriander, parsley and dill and stir in the cheese – very light on the salt! slice the pita bread into strips, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toast them on the grill, under the broiler or in a pan on the stove. Brush them with the pesto and garnish with the dill and coriander blossoms; serve them with the soup, which you can drizzle with an additional bit of fresh extra virgin olive oil. Tip: The best extra virgin olive oil to use here would be a monovarietal oil of the Maçanilha olive from Portugal. The fresh ‘green’ oil with its shadings of artichoke and apple harmonises beautifully with the cool tomato soup, its herbal notes providing the perfect accent. Recommended wine: match this dish with a Rosé with Aragonez grape variety from the Alentejo. Recipe from Stevan Paul
R E C I P E #3
R E C I P E #4
SAL AD ‘ÉVOR A’
CARNE DE PORCO À ALENTEJANA
150 g green beans salt 2 bunches romaine lettuce 1 can chickpeas (400 g before draining) 1 lemon 1 teaspoon honey 12 tablespoons Portuguese extra virgin olive oil 1 small clove garlic 8 sprigs blade parsley 1 small red onion pepper 500 g small sardines, cleaned 3 tablespoons flour
PR EPA R ATION: Wash the beans and cook them in salt water 6–8 minutes. Cool the cooked beans under cold water; drain them in a sieve and part them lengthwise. Quarter the romaine lettuce lengthwise and rinse under lukewarm water, dry on paper towels; arrange on a platter or a plate. Rinse and dry the chickpeas in a sieve under cold water. Mix a vinaigrette from juice of the lemon, honey and 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Peel the garlic and chop it finely; blend it in. Pluck the parsley and mix it in. Peel the onion, slice it fine and mix with the other ingredients. Adjust the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the sardines in flour; pat off the excess and sauté them in a large coated saucepan in 6 tablespoons hot extra virgin olive oil for 6 minutes, turning them once. Mix the chickpeas, green beans and olives with the vinaigrette and arrange atop the romaine lettuce. Arrange the sardines on the salad and serve immediately. Tip: The best extra virgin olive oil to use here would be an oil of Arbequina and Cobrançosa olives from the Alentejo. This crisp oil with its scents of artichoke and apple – along with a lovely tart hint of raw almonds – brings all of the flavours and aromas of the salad together in a very elegant fashion. Recommended wine: match this dish with a white oak aging wine from the Alentejo. Recipe from Stevan Paul
400 g pork necks 1 onion 1 clove garlic 8 tablespoons Portuguese extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoons sweet paprika powder 1 pinch of spicy paprika powder 1 teaspoon tomato paste 1 bay leaf pepper 125 ml white wine 400 ml vegetable broth 1 tablespoon liquid honey salt 400 g large waxy potatoes 100 g small green peppers 150 g grilled red bell pepper (canned) 60 g black olives 250 g clams some coriander leaves as a garnish
PR EPA R ATION: Cut the pork into bite-sized pieces. Peel the onion and cut into slices. Peel the garlic and dice it finely. Heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan; brown the meat and onions together. Dust with the powdered paprika and stir in the tomato paste. Add the garlic and bay leaf, season with pepper. Deglaze with white wine and reduce. Add broth and honey, season with salt and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered on medium heat. Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Heat 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large coated saucepan, then sauté the potatoes for 10 minutes under medium heat until golden brown. Add the Padrón peppers and cook 5 minutes longer. Salt to taste. Drain the grilled bell peppers, slice them in broad strips and stir them into the pork along with the olives. Rinse the clams under cold water – if an open shell does not close once more under pressure, discard the clam. Add the clams to the pork, cover and cook for a further five minutes. Serve the stew on warmed plates and sprinkle with the cubed potatoes. Sprinkle with plucked coriander leaves. Serve optional lemon wedges along with. Tip: The best extra virgin olive oil for this would be a mono-varietal oil of the Galega olive from Portugal. This complex, spicy oil with its slight pungency accompanies the meat to perfection. Recommended wine: match this dish with a young red wine with the grape varieties Alicante Bouschet and Aragonez from the Alentejo. Recipe from Stevan Paul
R E C I P E #5
TOAST SLICES WITH BL ACK-EYED PEA & PEAR SAL AD AND FRESH CHEESE
I N G R E D I E N T S (4–6 SLICES): P R E P A R A T I O N : 100 g black-eyed peas 2 tablespoons pear juice 4 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon fig mustard (if unavailable, 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 tablespoon honey) Portuguese extra virgin olive oil 1 sprig coriander 1 sprig thyme salt black pepper from the mill 1 small pear (Forelle pear or similar) 4–6 slices pão alentejano (if unavailable, white bread or ciabatta) 150 g fresh goat cheese thyme blossoms (optional)
Without soaking them previously, cook the black-eyed peas in unsalted water for 45 minutes.
R E C I P E #6
PÃO-DE-LÓ MINIS I N G R E D I E N T S (12 PORT.):
PR EPA R ATION:
for the Pão-de-Ló:
Put the eggs into the food processer with a pinch of salt or beat them till foamy with the whip attachment of a hand mixer for five minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 15 minutes until thick and creamy. Mix flour and baking powder and blend it in with a whip, one tablespoon at a time. Blend in one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the grated lemon rind. Prepare a muffin pan with paper inserts and fill with the batter. Bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 175° C.
4 medium eggs salt 100 g sugar 80 g flour
Mix a vinaigrette from the pear juice, lemon juice, fig mustard and 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Finely chop the coriander and thyme and blend them in. Season with salt and pepper. Halve and pit the pear; slice it finely. Add the slices to the vinaigrette.
½ teaspoon baking powder
Cut the bread into slices and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil; toast the slices on the grill, under the broiler or in a pan on the stove. Drain the black-eyed peas and briefly rinse them in cold water. Let them drain and mix them, still lukewarm, with the vinaigrette – salt and pepper to taste. Arrange the salad on the toast slices, crumble the cheese on top and garnish with a thyme blossom.
for orange cream and fig sauce:
Tip: The best xtra virgin olive oil for this would be a mono-varietal oil of the Cobrançosa olive from the Alentejo. This grassy and fresh oil harmonises with the sweetness of the pears, bringing just the right accent with its piquant spice, while interacting nicely with the creamy cheese. Recommended wine: match this dish with a light white wine with Antão Vaz and Arinto from the Alentejo.
Recipe from Stevan Paul
1 tablespoon Portuguese extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange rind
150 ml double cream (whipping cream) 2 tablespoons fine orange marmalade or jelly 4 figs 1 teaspoon Portuguese extra virgin olive oil
6 figs Portuguese extra virgin olive oil powdered sugar
For the orange cream, whip the cream until halfway stiff, then blend in the orange marmalade. For the fig sauce, halve four figs and scrape out the flesh, purée with one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. Shortly before serving, halve the 6 figs and bake them for 2–3 minutes with the cut side down in a lightly oiled pan, then turn them over and bake for another 1–2 minutes. Arrange the cakes from the oven, with the baked figs, pour the sauces over and dust with powdered sugar; serve immediately. Tip: The best extra virgin olive oill for this would be a blend of Cobrançosa and Arbequina olives from Portugal. Its notes of banana and almond make it a good match for the sweet cakes, figs and orange marmalade. The oil’s tart freshness and mild peppery spice bring just the right accent. Recommended wine: match this dish with a fortified white wine whith Antão Vaz from the Alentejo. Recipe from Stevan Paul
IN THE ALENTEJO, A MEDITERR ANEAN DIET IS PART OF THE RESIDENTS’ WAY OF LIFE... P ortugal is well known for its authentic native cuisine and its multifoliate wealth of native wines, as well as for being a beloved holiday destination. But how many people know about the Alentejo?
The Alentejo is one of Portugal’s five component regions, and occupies more than a third of its continental area. The region is situated south of the Tejo, the longest river of the Iberian Peninsula (Alen-tejo translated means ’beyond the Tejo‘, in English occasionally called the Tagus River).
Alentejo is often referred to informally as the ‘breadbasket of Portugal’. In some areas, its fertile soils are ideal for the cultivation of wheat, while on the more meagre hillsides olive trees, cork oaks and grapevines are planted. These plants are essentially less demanding than wheat! Some 20% of Portugal’s wine and almost 70% of Portugal’s olive oil are produced here in the Alentejo, and the region is the world’s largest producer of cork.
For residents of the Alentejo, the Mediterranean Lifestyle is lived on a daily basis. So it’s easy to understand: Alentejano red wines can be said to be so warm-hearted, so generous and so relaxed as the folks who life there. It is also said that the wealth of a citizen of the Alentejo consists not so much of money and possessions, but rather his/her humanity, composure and generosity – this is what tips the balance on the scales of life.
onviviality is the one quality that ultimately comes to characterise the Mediterranean way of living practised by the people of the Alentejo. One gets to know them quickly, visiting the region as a tourist. It’s not very long before somebody has invited you to have a glass of wine. And then the glass of wine develops into sharing a meal – and by the end of the day one has made many new friends.
Walls painted white with blue or yellow coloured stripes are characteristic for houses in the Alentejo.
The ancient Greeks were already making wine in amphoras in the Alentejo.
IS RECOMMENDED TO ACCOMPANY A MEAL, ACCORDING TO THE MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE.
IS THE AMOUNT CONSUMED BY PORTUGUESE RESIDENTS ON THE AVERAGE EACH YEAR – COMPARED WITH THE GERMANS, WHO CONSUME 0,7 LITRES PER YEAR PER CAPITA. WORLD LEADERS ARE THE GREEKS, WITH A YEARLY CONSUMPTION OF 20 LITRES PER CAPITA.
IS THE AMOUNT NEEDED TO PRODUCE ONE LITRE OF HIGHQUALITY PORTUGUESE OLIVE OIL.
IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION ENJOY THE INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN LIFESTYLE: ITALY, SPAIN, PORTUGAL, MOROCCO, GREECE, CYPRUS AND CROATIA.
GLASS OF RED WINE
LITRES OF OLIVE OIL
KG OF OLIVES
THE DIVERSITY OF THE CUISINE AND THE CONVIVIALITY OF THE INHABITANTS DISTINGUISH THE ALENTEJO AND ITS MEDITERR ANEAN LIFESTYLE.
F A C T S & F IGU R ES
Id-No. 1548068 www.druckmedien.at
CAMPAIGN FINANCED WITH THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND PORTUGAL
More Information: www.winesofalentejo.com | www.casadoazeite.pt | www.wineinmoderation.eu