Displaying items by tag: Portugal

Saturday, 17 April 2021 10:01

The Rooster of Barcelos

If you've ever been to Portugal, you surely noticed the fact that in all the souvenir shops you can buy a (usually black) rooster with an exuberant red crest and cheerful eyes. This is the rooster from Barcelos. What's the story of that rooster?

Centuries ago, a pilgrim was on his way to Santiago de Compostela, and he made a stop in the town of Barcelos, in Northern Portugal. There had just been a case of theft in Barcelos, and the people were eagerly looking for a culprit. No one believed that the man was an innocent pilgrim, and he was found guilty of the theft. His punishment was harsh: he would be hanged.
However, the man insisted that he was innocent, and asked if he could speak to the judge. That was allowed. He was taken to the judge's house. The judge was just sitting at the table with some friends, about to eat a nice grilled rooster. The man again pleaded for his innocence, but the judge did not believe him and insisted on his conviction.
The condemned then pointed to the grilled rooster on the judge's plate, and predicted that the animal would crow as proof of his innocence. Of course no one believed that. T
he man was taken to the gallows, and just as the rope was tied around his neck and they were about to hang him, to everyone’s amazement the grilled rooster began to crow. The judge declared the convicted innocent after all, and the man was released.
The man continued his journey to Santiago de Compostela, returning a few years later to Barcelos, where he erected a monument in honor of Santiago and the Blessed Virgin.
The Galo de Barcelos, as the rooster is called in Portuguese, therefore symbolizes a lot of luck!

This stained glass Galo de Barcelos is a decoration in one of the Casas Fruta houses, made by Iris Franken

Published in Silver Coast Blog
Tuesday, 20 October 2020 13:21

The canned sea

Portuguese people love everything that comes from the sea. Not only fresh, but also dried, like bacalhau, or canned, like sardines.

If you ever visited a Portuguese supermarket you probably have seen the large amount of canned fish and seafood.
Once there were hundreds of canning factories in Portugal, where fresh fish was canned. Now there are not many left, but the work often has not changed. There are some factories where everything is still done by hand, they don't use machines. Well, ok, there are 3 large machines: to cook the fish, to put the lids on the cans, and to sterilize the cans. Many generations of mostly women have been doing this work for decades. Some pieces of vegetable in the can? It's done by hand. Cutting off the sardine's tail to fit the can? Done by hand. Fill the cans with oil or sauce? Done by hand. Wrapping the cans in a piece of paper? Done by hand. And they do it very quickly! 

Vis inmaken vroeger

And really, you can taste it. It's a labour of love. And also because the fish is cooked before canning it. The factories that use a fully automated process cook the fish after canning it, which means the liquids and oil stay in the can. And that gives the fish a totally different, a not very nice, taste.
In this video you can see the process at Conservas Pinhais: https://youtu.be/jpTwHAt0Zxw

Not only sardines are canned, but also tuna, bacalhau, squid, clams: you name it and they can it.
Some factories even have their own shops throughout the country, where you can buy all the canned goodness. If you visit Óbidos, you really want to visit the Comur (Conservas de Murtosa) shop. It's beautifully decorated, loaded with beautiful cans. They even sell cans with years printed on them, they make a nice birthday gift for someone (or for yourself).

And don't worry, the cans are not that old, it really is fresh produce.

Published in Silver Coast Blog
Tagged under
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 16:24

Portugal dos Pequenitos

In Coimbra you can visit Portugal dos Pequenitos, or Portugal for the Little Ones. It is a recreational-educational park intended primarily for children.

The park has thematic areas, like Monumental Portugal (miniatures of the country’s main monuments), Portuguese-speaking countries (representation of a.o. African countries, Brazil, Macau), The Islands (main monuments of Madeira and Azores), Coimbra, and Regional Houses.

You can also visit the Dress museum, that has around 300 miniature outfits on display from the 16th to the 20th century. Everything was handmade, and donated to the museum in 1950.

There is also a Barbie museum, the collection on display is the largest in Portugal and possibly one of the biggest in Europe, is composed of over 300 dolls. It includes the original Barbie of 1959, the Barbies of the world, the Hollywood collection, Barbies dressed by couturiers of international reputation, and many more.

Portugal dos Pequenitos also stands out as a high-quality display of sculptures and architectural art, the miniature size and detail of which continues to charm children and adults.

Published in Nature and Culture
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 20:56

Activities at the Costa de Prata

Want to know what's on?

No-one will deny the Portuguese like a party. Many parties are organised during the year, for instance every village organises 1 or more parties, with lots of music, dance and good food. And if you don't speak the language: your hands and feet will get you a long way. Besides, many - young - locals like to practice their English.

Below you can read everything about parties, concerts, events and exhibitions that are on now or in the near future.

Published in Miscellaneous