Last year my husband’s cousin and her husband sold almost everything and moved to a small village in Portugal. We had to see what it was all about. There was so much to fall in love with, especially in the fall when flowers, fruits and vegetables are in such abundance. I was like a kid in a candy store.
On the wall outside their home were two kiwi vines full of fruit. Pear, apple, quince, persimmon and chestnut trees were loaded with fruit. The tomatoes were the best I have ever tasted. Potatoes had been harvested – Dick’s cousin had a root cellar full of them – there is no way they will ever be able to eat all of them! Garden plots everywhere had what I came to learn was Portuguese cabbage (couve tronchuda), the essential ingredient of their soup caldo verde. Having learned that it is somewhat heat tolerant, I am definitely going to try to find some seeds.
As always, the local daily market was a highlight. It was stall after stall of local produce – all of the above as well as squash, sweet potatoes (including their version of fast food, already baked sweet potatoes), all kinds of greens, citrus (it does not freeze there), onions, beans, carrots, leeks and so much more. There were local meats, homemade sausages and cheeses, and fresh breads. And then was the fish market! It was amazing.
The Portuguese people were so friendly. We stopped and talked to a mother, father and son who were cleaning out their goat pens. The young son was so amazed to be talking to someone from Texas! At the end of the conversation, he put in a plug for his mother – she makes incredible goat cheese. It was so good.