Sharing a meal, among family or friends, is a “fantastic, extraordinary” act, as old “as humanity”. «If you add to this the good quality and good price of these snacks, then we have an irrefutable proposal», believes Vitor Aleixo, mayor of Loulé, the municipality that hosted the official launch of the 2023 Rota do Petisco, which began on Friday Monday and lasts until October 15th.
The socializing part referred to by the mayor of Loulé is, without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of the month-long event that the Teia d'Impulsos association is promoting for the 13th time. In 2023, this gastronomic journey will reach 176 restaurants, spread across 11 municipalities in the Algarve: Aljezur, Vila do Bispo, Lagos, Portimão, Monchique, Lagoa, Silves, Albufeira, Loulé, São Brás de Alportel and Tavira.
But Rota do Petisco is more (and increasingly) than that: it is also a way of promoting the small-scale economy, showcasing different gastronomic proposals and helping the most vulnerable, as it also has a solidarity aspect. , which was reinforced this year.
«One of the highlights of this edition is the Rota Solidária, with a very different model, not only supporting associations and social projects, but also training the teams that do so», he revealed to Sul Informação Luís Brito, president of Teia d'Impulsos, on the sidelines of a session that took place on the 15th, at Palácio Gama Lobo, in Loulé.
This training will be done “through a Bootcamp of Social Entrepreneurship, which will enable these projects, so that they will later be supported through fundraising through the sale of Rota do Petisco passports».
In this initiative, the Eng. Nuno Mergulhão School Group, the Poeta António Aleixo School Group, the Em Contacto Association, the CASA – Support Center for the Homeless, the FIR – Irene Rolo Foundation and the GRATO – Support Group will participate. to drug addicts.
Since Rota Solidária was launched, Teia d' Impulsos has already distributed around 140 thousand euros for social projects in participating municipalities. This money was raised by selling the route passport, which costs 1,5 euros and guarantees access to the event: at each stop, the booklet is stamped and, the more snacks you try and the more stamps you collect, the more chances each snacker has to win prizes.
Each person only has to purchase one passport to travel the entire route – and repeat –, but this year you will have a good excuse to buy more, which is the same as saying help more.
«Another innovation on the route is that we have four distinct images on the covers of the passports. They are all the same, inside, but there are different covers, which people can collect», said Luís Brito.
Because, as Vítor Aleixo illustrated, collecting is also part of the spirit of Rota do Petisco, since there are «many people who enjoy this game of collecting stamps».
Another highlight of this year «is the big bet on the Rota dos Chefs. Adhesion has not yet been quite what we wanted, but we are moving well in that direction, of having a route of chefs that highlights all that is best in Algarve gastronomy, with a special touch» according to Luís Brito.
In addition, the Rota do Mundo continues to exist, a selection of typical dishes from other countries, such as Cape Verde, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Turkey, India, Thailand, China or Japan, as well as the Sweet menu and the Vegetarian Option.
The Petisco menu (dish + drink) costs 4 euros and the Sweet menu (dessert + drink) is 2,50 euros. The Audi Chefs Route proposals cost 5 euros (dish+drink).
To organize an event of this scale, which involves public and private entities, Teia d'Impulsos has to “give it a go”, year after year.
And, even with the success and name that Rota do Petisco has gained over the years, attracting restaurants to participate in the event is not always easy, contrary to what one would expect.
«There is room to grow. The big question is the socio-economic situation that exists each year or is expected. For example, this year was expected to be an exceptional year and it was very difficult to attract establishments. In the end, the year will not be as exceptional as predicted, in terms of tourism and restaurant revenues, so next year it will possibly be easier to find restaurants», said Luís Brito.
«Above all, it is difficult for restaurants to respond. There are many who tell us they would like to, but they can't,” she added.
A “major problem” that exists and “greatly limits the participation of restaurants” is the lack of human resources, which does not allow many “to enter into a project like Rota do Petisco, due to the dynamics that an establishment must have to respond to a 31-day event and the customer turnover it promotes».
And, at least in light of what happened in other years, the Snack Route It really promises to get Algarve residents and visitors moving.
«I hope that Loulé residents go to restaurants in other locations, as well as that other Algarvians and tourists take the opportunity to come here to Loulé, because we have good options here», wished Vítor Aleixo.
Also present at the session was André Gomes, president of the Algarve Tourism Region (RTA), who argued that «gastronomy is one of our best calling cards» and that the Rota do Petisco is «one of the best examples we have in the Algarve of the value and quality of our gastronomic offer».
Photos: Hugo Rodrigues | Sul Informação