Batata Doce Festival 2018

It’s that time of year again. When the sunny days continue but you add an extra layer of clothing. Or put on that summers unused sweater.
Yes, winter has arrived! But fear not. There is still plenty of interesting, colorful events and recreational things to do and see here in Aljezur.
Along with great surfing and fantastic coastal walks to explore there are local events worth investing. Your time in seeing and participating in which without a doubt will bring you a true essence of what Aljezur has to offer. And there is none other than celebrating the hard work that goes into producing your very own fresh produce from the Earth itself. Yes. The Sweet potato!

The sweet potato

The sweet potato festival or better known as Festival da Batata doce de Aljezur is a 3 day annual event located at the Espaca multiusos de Aljezur. The markets of the new town, it’s a prestigious celebration of this highly recognised and worlds best Sweet potato.
But what is so special about a potato I here you say!
Well it is said that this delicious vegetable is the best around that is so compatible with the local soil and growing conditions that it can’t be beaten. It can be cooked in numerous different ways. From freshly baked in wood ovens or sliced and fried as a starter. Or simply making jams or even an aromatic craft beer.
The festival itself has an amazing array of exhibitors over 100. Many of which are local born. Of course local newcomers. As well as traditional music starting from the first day, enlightening you with traditional flavours of hip hop, saxophone duo and sing along rock. Here you also find comedy nights for an extra laugh.
The first impression of the festival is, its friendly warmth. Starting with the free entrance and parking to the integration of local people as well as visitors along with a strong unity of family and friends, with genuine smiles all round. The pleasant aroma of various foods and stalls of local restaurant setups are packed with people of all ages. All enjoying the electric atmosphere with the sweet potato as the star. Along with the fiery (literally) famous monchique sausage. Washed down with plenty of local beers and wines. You really feel the engaging noises of contentment and excitement.
Walking around there are plenty of tasty samples. Samples including sweet potato chocolates, jams, ice cream and warming liqueurs.
What is really noticeable is the passion for the humble sweat potato. Stoping at one local vendor Mr Duarte Novais along with his wife. He explains how he makes his own jams from two different types of the potato. The more commonly grown and the dark red. Simply mixed together with a little cinnamon its a taste bud treat. Mr Novias went on to say.
“I love to grow my on produce its part of me and has been all my life. My brother and I work the land on my plot. I sell my tuber vegetables in the local market and I am proud of the produce and the soil around me. I have come here to share the beauty of my sweet potato with everyone especially the visitors that come here “.
It must be said the jams were of a glorious texture and flavour and nothing I have tasted before.

The festival

Looking around there are also plenty of other interesting stalls. From hand crafted local cork products, visitor guide

books and area information. As well as local clothing shops, leather products, local artists and delicately crafted jewelry. Even a live chef show, is at hand, all easily formatted and accessible to peruse at your own leisure.
There is also plenty for the children to do. You immerse yourself into the festival with the infantil e Animacao circense, the animated children’s circus or even mixing your own sweet smoothie with pedal power on a bicycle. Or just simply interacting with the traditional Portuguese dressed folk high up on stilts. How wonderful to see the children dance together as the child friendly music uplifts those of various cultures that naturally come together.
Once the evenings draws closer it’s time to turn to the music. It’s really not disappointing as local talents perform for your enjoyment in which the atmosphere becomes even warmer. Inviting you to participate. In song and dance.

Worth the visit?

Overall this festival starting well into Autumn is not something you want to miss. If you are coming to Aljezur for many reasons either activity based. The wide expanse of natural wonders or for the restaurant bars and food and its entertainment. To really experience the culture and the unique quality of the area – this festival has it all. Not just to see a part of true Portugal. But to really taste it.

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