Praia Fest 2009 Part 1

Now that Praia Fest has officially closed for 2009 and they are taking the tents apart, it has started to quiet down (just a little) around here.

Praia Fest is the big annual festival in Praia Da Vitoria. This is a giant food festival with vendors traveling from main land Portugal, as well as local vendors from the island. There is an area, almost like carnival food vendors, with traditional fare, pizza, and lots of beer. And let's not forget the ice cream vendors. I think I also saw one stand selling churros. This is truly set up just like you would see at a carnival or local town fair.

Then there was the main food tent. To me it resembled a convention set up. Anyone who has been to a major convention would know what I mean. It was basically vendors trying to get you in to see thier "product". Boy did they have a lot of things to showcase to visitors. So the basic set up was a giant tent, with one side open to the marina and the other side was closed off for the kitchens. In between were actual restaurant set ups. I'm talking FULL setups, complete with a bar area and hostess stand.

There were probably 8-10 of these restaurants, most coming from Portugal. The main dishes were often labelled as the restaurant name and then the protein type. So for example one night I had the baccalau (cod) O Flor. Really, the dish is served one way. It's salted salted cod, baked or grilled with veggies and boiled potatoes. Yep, it's a traditional dish and served this way just about everywhere I go.

But there were other dishes too. I just don't eat meat. The interesting part was no chicken. The dishes were either fish, shrimp (camarao), octopus (polvo), beef (mostly veal), or pork. Now if you are adventerous there were those fear factoresque options. Things like intestines, things that make me cringe, ah but that is everyone's own decision, so I will move on. And not to forget that our dog ended up with a big juicy, meaty ox bone. Boy did she enjoy that.

The last food area was a snack tent. This was filled with port, coffee, meat and cheese, as well as dessert stands. There were a few vendors selling cheeses (queijos) and sausages. I, of course, was more focused on the desserts (sobremesas). There were a few vendors for sweets, and to my delight, the one I liked best is located over in Angra (don't be shocked, I actually accidently stumbled upon it last weekend so I am aware of the exact location). They are quite fond of their sweets here. One vendor had many good looking items. We asked about each and it turns out they were all made from eggs and almonds, only the shape was different.

In my next posts I will show the meals we had as well as the desserts we tried. I look forward to sharing those with you, as they were (mostly) all so tasty. As for the nutritional content, let's just say that's probably why they were all so tasty. Don't forget, there's no such thing as a bad food, and Praia Fest at only once a year for ten days, is certainly in moderation!

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