Algarve Craft & Food has tourists make the pots and then eat in them

Artisans, agricultural producers, designers and chefs will work together

It is called “Algarve Craft & Food” and is a project that will create tourist products that combine handicrafts and gastronomy. The initiative was presented this Thursday at the headquarters of the Algarve Tourism Region, one of the promoters, together with Tertúlia Algarvia and Cooperativa QRER.

“Tourists will make the pot first, then the food”, summed up João Fernandes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region.

But, to get to this point, there is still some time, since “Algarve Craft & Food” is just taking its first steps and the final results are only expected in 2021. The goal is that, in the end, it will be created a total of ten tourism products that will then be promoted in the outbound markets.

«We are talking, for example, about challenging a tourist to make a copper cataplana and then learning how to cook food in the cataplana. Or to participate in the orange harvest and then make a basket to keep that orange. We are talking about programs that involve learning techniques that are very much ours, in terms of handicrafts, and participating in activities that may have to do with agriculture, fishing, gastronomy. All this always hands-on, with the tourist as the main actor. It is the person who will manufacture both the handicraft and what they are going to eat», explained João Amaro, from Tertúlia Algarvia.


João Amaro, Sara Fernandes and João Fernandes

So that theory can be put into practice, everything will start with sessions to publicize the project and there will be a survey of the artisans and farmers available to teach their art to outsiders.

“We have a very important assessment to do in the territory. We have to understand who are the artisans and local agri-food producers who are able to develop, on a permanent basis, the offer of this type of experience», added João Amaro.

There is also an innovation component to this project, as artisans will be invited to share creative residencies with designers e chefs, to breathe new life into your work.

«There are already previous experiences in the territory in this area, such as the TASA project. There is a set of very interesting experiences that merge current knowledge and traditional knowledge. Here, what we want is to replicate this logic, so that the pieces developed can be integrated as part of creative tourism programs», framed João Amaro.

The aim is to bring together «the designer and the artisan so that a piece, which takes two weeks to be produced, can be developed in one day, to integrate a creative tourism program. The logic of creative residencies, which will bring together designers, artisans and chefs, is to stimulate creativity and new pieces, but with the assumption that they can be used in creative tourism programs», he added.


live handicraft

This issue is important because “there are technical issues that take longer and there will be more difficulty in reaching the final product. It may not be interesting, or feasible, to develop something that takes a long time, or it may even be interesting to have a piece half produced and then have the person finish it. It is all this assessment work in the territory that has to be done with the different craft techniques».

There will also be, within the scope of Algarve Craft & Food, workshops technicians for artisans, designers, local agrifood producers and chefs kitchen, creative laboratories of traditional Algarve gastronomy, a seminar on the internationalization of handicraft and local food products, as well as the “Craft & Food Award”, which will distinguish the best creative tourism programs and the best communication actions, within the scope of combination of crafts and food products and gastronomy.

For João Fernandes, Algarve Craft & Food is «a project with good ingredients: there are handicrafts, gastronomy and a place to eat».

In addition, “it has goals that are not only aimed at the final results. The project itself is fruitful, with actions to involve artisans, agricultural producers and designers and it will stimulate the design of five new handicraft products and ten creative tourism programs».

The official emphasizes that «this type of bets contributes to the diversification of the offer and that follows the actions that have been developed to combat seasonality and develop the so-called shoulder season», the months immediately before and after peak season.


Joao Amaro

This is a tourist program, but it is more than that, for Sara Fernandes, from the QRER Cooperative: «this initiative will bring greater economic dynamics to the interior of the Algarve», focusing mainly on «emerging markets and young people who value the work of the our artisans. In the end, tourists will be able to take a little of our knowledge home through memorable experiences».

Sara Fernandes believes that «combining the region's cultural wealth with a quality tourist offer is something valuable for the positioning of the Algarve in the main international tourist destinations. It is also a strategic approach in valuing our intangible heritage that needs to find mechanisms that guarantee a sustainable future».

Algarve Craft & Food has a total investment of around 724 thousand euros, 70% financed by CRESC Algarve 2020.