At the Ria Formosa Festival there is seafood for all bags

The party lasts until August 4th

"It is a feast for rich and poor and a great tribute that we pay to Ria Formosa, because she deserves it." This is how Vítor Lourenço, president of VIVMAR – Association of Nurseries and Shellfish Collectors of Ria Formosa, summarizes the essence of the Festa da Ria Formosa, which began on Thursday in Faro and will celebrate the local cuisine until the 4th of August.

For more than a week, Largo de São Francisco, in the Algarve capital's downtown, is filled with the smell, flavor and color of typical dishes, made from seafood from the Ria Formosa – and beyond – and made by those who live in the its harvesting and cultivation.

Vivmar partners, their families and gastronomic knowledge passed down from generation to generation are the basis of this initiative organized by Vivmar, with the support of the Chamber of Faro, which has been taking place for 24 years and has become a true success story.

On Thursday, opening day, the venue didn't take long to fill up and soon the headaches began for the event organizers, trying to accommodate the many people who continued to arrive. Is that, despite there being more than 4 places for visitors to sit at the table, these did not reach the requests.

By the way, Vitor Lourenço, after having accompanied the already traditional visit of the executive councilor from Faro on the first day of the party, in what is the official opening of the event, had to go out of his way to help solve problems.



Before, the director of Vivmar and one of the parents of this party had already spoken with the Sul Informação and explained what this party is – which, despite attracting thousands of people every day for years, continues to have free entry and a markedly popular nature.

Twenty-four years ago, the nurserymen and shellfish gatherers of Ria Formosa decided to hold a party that, on the one hand, would draw attention to the threats that hung over the Ria Formosa and, on the other, promote the delicacies that this lagoon area gives us, made by the nurserymen and shellfish gatherers, with centuries-old recipes.

«In the first edition, 24 years ago, I wrote a book in which I warned about the sources of pollution that existed in this estuary, about the extraction of sand, about the manure that existed here, created by the City Council itself, and about industrial pollution, namely from the Indal,” said Vítor Lourenço.

“The book also had recipes made by seafarers. Next year, the party turns 25 and we're going to reissue this book, so that people know it was worth it. Because things have improved a lot,” he said.

Rogério Bacalhau, president of the Chamber of Faro, said, for his part, that "this is one of the great events" that take place annually in Faro. “It brings a lot of people from outside, it brings notoriety and, above all, it allows people to get in touch with Ria Formosa, through food”, he summed up.

«All the restaurants that are here have connections to nurseries and seafood producers. The menus and preparation are based on traditional dishes from the sea people. I'm talking about xérem and the way in which the seafood itself is made, be it the razor clam, the clam or the cockle”, he added.

And there are many delicacies to be found at this party, in which Ria Formosa is the guest of honor.


Photos: Hugo Rodrigues|Sul Informação and Nelson Santos Ferreira