Well, we had to have a party to celebrate Daniela’s and my marriage so we had a few friends over … the party was actually a run of parties, four days in fact, but these were the core members. This was taken before we sat down for the first night’s dinner; i might post some “during the party” shots but I think I’ll spare you the “after the party” ones ….
Many people have urged me to tell the Quinta’s story on this blog, and seeing as I haven’t written anything for, (heavens above!), two months, it seems only fair that I should do something a little special, so here’s a small video Daniela and I put together over the last week; we hope you enjoy it!
…. the Quinta’s wine choice as organised by Heather! Our ethos here is that all our wines are Portuguese, all of them have real corks, and …. all of them have a bird either on the label or in the name! This third point is very important!
Seriously though, Portuguese wines are gorgeous and we are very insistent that all of ours must have real corks so that we do our bit to keep the Montados alive, which is an absolutely vital industry in our area.
Let’s also introduce Heather, our volunteer for these next few months, here measuring the water temperature yesterday morning – it turned out to be a very balmy 24ºC, (75ºF), warm enough for me to go swimming!
I came up afterwards to find she’d cleaned and organised the bar, even down to getting the heights of the bottles aligned ….
A visit to the factory ….
A good many of our guests remark upon our floor tiles which are very beautiful but also hard wearing, and, best of all, don’t show the dirt – a priceless asset in the damp, mud-producing winter!
They’re made in southern Portugal, principally around the Algarvian village of Santa Catarina and a few days ago we had to go down there to buy some more for a new floor we’re making this winter, so I thought I’d make a small “photo diary” to show everyone how and where they’re made.
The “factories” are usually small family affairs, employing approx 5 people each, and are situated right on top of the raw material, a band of red clay that stretches the length of the Algarve, but which is of a particularly fine quality around Santa Catarina itself, and this village gives its name to the tiles.
First of all the raw, red clay is dug out of the ground during the summer and stored for the year’s work ahead.
The clay is then ground down to a finish paste inside a rock crusher and water added to produce a uniform but rough paste. This is put by hand into a simple mould, (coated with ashes to ease its leter extraction), and flattened with a wooden spatula.