The Santarém National Gastronomy Festival returns this year with a program full of delightful surprises. On its 41st edition, the festival will take place from the 21st of October until the 1st of November. It will be curated by Chef Rodrigo Castelo, Silver Fork in 2022 for the Boa Cama Boa Mesa guide at the restaurant Ó Balcão, and is part of the Santarém Capital da Gastronomia program. The organizers want to find a balance between tradition and the challenges of modernity and innovation. “We are proud the Santarém National Gastronomy Festival is currently rated among the top 25 food festivals in Europe and my goal would be to make it into the top 10,” stressed João Leite, Vice-Mayor of Santarém.
Every autumn, restaurants from all over the region, country and territories come to Santarém. The Festival has been designated as part of Portugal’s national cultural heritage and recognized as a key driver for sustainable development. The festival is held at the Casa do Campino, a complex that used to function as a stable to the region’s Ribatejo cowboys.
The festival has a vast program that includes catering, workshops, master classes with chefs, sommeliers and national mixologists, live artisans, forums and debates, exhibitors’ stands and musical entertainment.
According to Portuguese news outlet Expresso, one of the novelties of this 41st edition is the petiscos (Portuguese version of tapas) area, where visitors can taste dishes from 24 chefs, representing the various regions. It will be an area with high tables. Wine by the glass can also be bought in the wine cellar area.
What are the main highlights?
On October 21 and 22, Justa Nobre, from the restaurant Nobre, in Lisbon, Rui Martins, from the restaurant O Brazão, in Oporto, Noélia Jerónimo, from the homonymous restaurant, Silver Fork for the Boa Cama Boa Mesa, from Cabanas de Tavira, Vasco Coelho Dos Santos from the Oporto restaurant Euskalduna, and also Marlene Vieira, from the restaurant Marlene in Lisbon, will be in the kitchen.
On the 23rd and 24th, João Sá, from restaurant Sàla, in Lisbon, will be present, as well as Júlio Pereira from Kampo, in Madeira Island, Luís Gaspar, representing Lisbon’s Sala de Corte, and Ricardo Nogueira, from restaurant Mugasa, in Sangalhos.
On October 25th and 26th, the Petiscos area will host David Jesus, from the Setúbal restaurant Seiva, Cláudio Pontes, from the restaurant in his own name, in the Azores, Vitor Adão, from Lisbon’s Plano, and Inês Beja and Nuno Fonte, from the De Raiz restaurant in Rebordinho, on the outskirts of Viseu. Hugo Nascimento leaves the Naperon restaurant in Odeceixe for two days.
On October 27th and 28th, Hugo Freitas Araújo represents Solar dos Presuntos, in Lisbon, Ruy Leão comes from Porto to present the proposals of the restaurant Shiko, and Miguel Laffan leaves Monforte to represent Torre de Palma, from the Alentejo, in Santarém. On October 29th and 30th, visitors will be able to experience the culinary art of André Ribeiro, from Callum, in Oleiros, Lídia Brás, from Stramuntana, in Porto. Lucas Azevedo leaves Praia no Parque in Lisbon and Michele Marques leaves Mercearia Gadanha in Estremoz to show the gastronomic proposals of the spaces they command.
On the last two days of the festival, Filipe Ramalho represents Páteo Velho in Alter do Chão and António Queiroz Pinto represents the Tormes restaurant in Baião.
Five exclusive dinners with chefs from restaurants with Michelin or Bib Gourmand stars that will take place during the festival, reports Expresso. The chefs were challenged by Rodrigo Castelo to create a menu inspired in their regions of origin, with pairing of wines from producers of the same region.
Names such as João Oliveira, Henrique Sá Pessoa, Pedro Lemos and Diogo Rocha are the four chefs who will join Chef Rodrigo Castelo, host of the initiative, to lead these unique tasting opportunities on different days. The daily ticket for the Santarém National Gastronomy Festival costs €2.5.