Living here on the side of the Sintra hills, we tend to have rather a quiet social life, preferring to be of the 'early to rise, early to bed' types but occasionally we have a night out - and thoroughly enjoy it for being something special.
Last year, as I mentioned in a previous blog, we had the pleasure of meeting Luis and Regina who run Insider Cooking (www.insider-cooking.com) and they told us about an event that takes place up in the village of Penedo, where the locals comes together and organise a music and food event in June. Obviously we were very interested and kept a keen eye out for when it was going to take place.
As we subscribe the magazine from their site, we got early warning of the two day event and promptly reserved our tickets for the Friday 14 June. The event was called 'Sons e Sabores do Penedo' ('Sounds and Flavours of Penedo) and we chose the Friday because it was was Jazz. The musicians on this night were Mário Laginha, André Fernandes, Demian Caboud and Marcos Cavaleiro. The food specialities from Germany, Austria and France were overseen by Chef Bernard Phister who is the Head Chef at Hotel Palacio in Estoril.
On the night we drove up to the hilltop village and managed to park quite easily just below the centre of the village. We walked up to the Tuna Euterpe União Penedense building which was the musical event was being held. This is what the building normally looks like for most of the year.
However, this particular evening, the front patio section was full of people chatting and enjoying a refreshing glass of Espumante Conde de Vimioso before going across to the Mercearia da Aldeia do Penedo, where a selection of mustards and vinegars from Austria were available for tasting.
Guests enjoying a pre-dinner drink
Around 8.30pm we all headed up to the local restaurant, Refugio do Ciclista (Cyclists Refuge) to have a dinner of a terrine of wild boar and goat cheese, followed by a selection of barbeque specialities from what is claimed to be the best German butcher in the Algarve (Hotel Vila Vita, Algarve) with 3 different mustards, potato salad, coleslaw, beetroot and green salad, finished off with Apfelstrudel with custard and apricot schnapps. There was also a choice of white, red and rosé wine from Conde de Vimioso.
The tables set out ready for the special dinner
Refugio do Ciclista in Penedo is one of our favourite lunch places. It is a wonderfully simple place with long tables covered in white paper tablecloths and we all sit on long benches and it has been the greatest place to meet people from all walks of life. The menus are simple - either 6 or 8 euros - which includes a soup, a main course and dessert along with a bottle of local wine, lemonade, olives and bread inclusive. You choose from the selection of items in the display cabinet and then it is grilled on a monster grill - no 'ping ping' here. Just good wholesome food in a wonderfully unpretentious location.
This particular night, it looked somewhat different with tables beautifully laid out, with waiters kitted out in black and white and Insider Cooking maroon aprons. We were on a table with Portuguese, Welsh, German people - in fact the guests were a United Nations of nationalities! We all tucked in to a lovely meal along with rather good wines.
Guests enjoying dinner
After dinner we all made our way next door to have coffee and then down the street to the concert venue and the jazz concert. Once everyone was settled, a welcoming speech was given and the music started. Sadly, due to having a very early start in the morning, we could not stay until the end of the concert, but what we saw and heard was excellent. Definitely looking forward to the next one in 2014.
Paulo and his Dad serving coffees and drinks
Enjoying the night air before the concert outside the cafe
The concert in full swing