When one thinks of Portuguese food, it’s usually in reference to cuisine that is honest and unfussy – using local ingredients simply and inexpensively.
However, Portugal can do gourmet too, and not just in Lisbon and Porto. The Algarve has a burgeoning gourmet food scene, and a good place to get a feel for it is in one of the two Apolonia supermarkets.
The first branch is in Almancil, perfectly located to attract the wealthy residents of neighbouring Quinta do Lago. The other is in Galé, just to the west of Albuferia.
Unless money is no object, this is perhaps not the place to do your main holiday shop. If you imagine a sparkling clean branch of Waitrose mixed with a sprinkling of Harrods food hall, that’s what you’ll find here. Yes, you can buy all the staple food items you need, but you can also buy bottles of wine for literally thousands of Euros.
If you’re not part of the small demographic who can afford this, maybe you could instead consider picking up everything you need for a gourmet picnic? The delicatessen counter here is a sight to behold, with cheeses from all over the world, an array of cold meats from Portugal and beyond, and even an on-site sushi chef.
Apolonia import products from all over the world. You’ll find cooking sauces from South Africa and cereals from the USA. Needless to say all of this comes at a price, but even if you can’t afford that price, browsing around the aisles is a fascinating and enjoyable experience.
The wine selection here is also worthy of a special mention. While you may want to bypass the Petrus at €3495, you’ll find a fabulous selection of Portuguese wine at far more realistic prices. Add a Barranco Longo Rosé to your picnic for less than €10 – we promise you won’t regret it!