O Mercado de São Brás

São Brás de Alportel is just a few short kms from us but for some reason we rarely go there on Saturday for the weekly market. We remedied that today and as always happens, we wonder aloud why we don’t go there more frequently. It’s well attended, the prices seem to be a bit lower than Olhão and certainly Loulé, yet the quality is the same and it’s less congested. . We enjoyed our wanderings, made several purchases, and then, on the way home, stopped at our new favourite paderia and bought fresh bread, still slightly warm from the oven.

We had parked a distance from the market intentionally in order to enjoy the sunshine and a bit of exercise. I’ve always enjoyed the various sculptures and designs on the roundabouts and although I’ve passed this one many times, I never walked past it, it’s always been in car. There is a feeling of joy and playfulness in it, which appeals to me.

The market was lively and well attended.

The “boys”, as always, huddled outside in small groups, gabbing and laughing. I love the fellow on the bench, snoozing beneath his mask and selling sweaters.

A couple of years ago our previous landlord, Konrad, introduced us to a small artisanal store in São Brás that makes many things but one in particular is fabulous fresh goats cheese, plain or in many combinations. It was our first stop where we left a chunk of change! I’m already looking foward to breakfast tomorrow!

As we were leaving we noticed a display that turns out to be products from a place I previously mentioned, our neighbours who own the organic herb farm just around the corner from our villa. That was a delightful find.

The fish/shellfish portion of the market was swarming with shoppers. One woman next to me bought a huge “tamboril” (monkfish), which has to be one of the ugliest fish I’ve ever seen. That said, it was huge and cost her 60 euros!!! The fishmonger seemed delighted with that sale and of course offered to cut it up for her but she declined. She looked as if she knew her way around a fish!!

When I was there a couple of years ago I noticed a display of marinated fresh anchovies. I looked at them, gave it some thought, walked away, changed my mind and went back only to find they were sold!! Not today. I saw them and grabbed them.

They are marinated in a light oil, lemon juice, and a tiny bit of salt. Guess who had anchovy sandwiches for lunch today!!! On fresh bought bread!!!!! Go ahead…drool.

The fresh sardines were very appealing but never having cooked them, I was reluctant. I wish now I had taken the risk but I swear, if they have any next week, I’m buying. They were only 7 euros for the plateful, which I thought was amazing. All kinds of unusual shell fish that were being snapped up. I was pleased to see how many women had shown up with large plastic containers so that when they bought their fish or shellfish, they placed a small quantity of ice in the bottom then the purchase on top, closed snugly within the box so as not to spill, scent the other purchases, and probably last for the drive home. Saved on plastic bags, which was best of all.

I couldn’t decided so I bought a large serving of both!! They wont’ go astray in our house as they accompany every meal except breakfast! They are extremally tasty, meaty, and not at all overly salty.

Shopping always makes us hungry and one of our pleasures is in finding a seat at the outdoor terrace, ordering a café and sitting to enjoy it in the sunshine and people watch. Joanne treated herself to what turned out to be an orange meringue.

Not being in a hurry to get back to the car, we took a circuitous route around the mercado building and discovered a small market in a nearby park. It was enjoyable to extend our time out and bask in the sunshine. I got called “madame” twice and was invited to try on a dress or two!!!!

My handsome husband, taking it all in, happy to be out and about with the market energy, sights, sounds, and smells, to keep him smiling.

That’s one busy patio huh?

My amusing story for the day. While wandering around the market I noted how many vendors were selling flowers and plants today, one of my pleasures. I love to look for something unusual and new to me and while wandering I came across this large bucket of flowers, most of them known to me but a couple, not so much. One in particular stood out and as I got closer I couldn’t be sure what it was so I decided to take a photo and look it up once I got home.

Well, I took my photo, as you can see, and as I was about to walk away the woman smiled at me, picked one up and held it toward me and in perfect English said……silk!!! Obviously, from the look on my face she knew she had fooled me and threw back her head and laughed. I loved it.

13 thoughts on “O Mercado de São Brás

  1. I discovered marinated white anchovies a few years ago on a trip to Spain. I was instantly addicted! I buy them as soon as I get here.


    1. I too love them but I find they can be pricy in small quantities. This today is quite large and was 10 euros. Very pleased with them.


  2. What an interesting post. The food has me drooling as I write this. Never had an anchovies sandwich but it does sound good. The Portuguese know their fish and the best sardines we ever had there were grilled over a wood fire, divine! I’m not even going to mention their cheeses ❤️ Thanks for the great memories.


    1. How lovely it would be if you were here and we could share in a meal together…..it seems our tastes are similar!


    2. You just never know …..

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like you had a very enjoyable day out Madame!! Loved your flower story at the end. Your fresh bread sounded divine but hold the anchovies. Cheese please!!!


    1. If you’ve not had fresh marinated anchovies, don’t dismiss them. They are sweet, tender, and the oil and lemon is amazing. And the cheeses….WOW


  4. Sao Bras Market looked lovely along with your other stops along the way! The anchovies looked so good. My first exposure to anchovies was in Spain in the Costa delSol area, where 10 of 17 days was on the beach. Most days when I was on the beach, I had an anchovy pizza and beer each day & it was delicious! Loved all the herbs you came across at the market & hope you get chance to tour the organic farm.


  5. I love anchovy pizza……that would make me pretty happy right about now!!!! I’ll let you know if we get to tour the farm. I did go by a second time but they were still closed. Probably on vacation.


  6. Well I wish you taking a picture of yourself while at the market, I really want to see why anyone would call you madam and suggest you try on dresses! LOL did you have makeup and lipstick on or something?
    I love the story of the silk flower. LOL I would have loved to have seen her put her head back and laugh.
    I love the sculpture on the roundabout there, it looks very lively and fun.
    I’m with Beverly on the anchovies, however, like her, I have never tried fresh ones. Who knows I may love them once I have some in my mouth. Same with the sardines, when I think of sardines you know I think of the canned sardines in that horrible thick oil and brine. So perhaps fresh could be the way to go. If I ever get to Portugal I guess I’ll find out.


    1. I think it’s my thick longer silver hair that throws them off, plus I do have pretty smooth skin. In any case, it only ever makes me laugh, especially when I say “no thank you” in my deep voice and they look puzzled!!!


  7. Bring on those fresh anchovies! Love them! I can’t imagine what your purchase would have cost in Canada but if I ever see them here, I will definitely open my wallet! And those sardines had me salivating!
    Markets are always so much fun, one of my most favourite activities to do in Portugal! You captured all the colours, freshness, camaraderie, variety and ‘deliciousness’ and the tone of the joyous Portuguese!
    Great photo of Marco sans spectacles! Joanne looks so happy! I certainly enjoyed reminiscing today! Thanks, wonderful blog!


    1. I’ve never seen fresh anchovies in Ottawa but I too would probably break the bank and purchase them. On a sandwich, thick cut fresh Portuguese bread with a little extra of the marinade dribbled on them…yummy!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close