Flavours of the land and the sea
- Words by Miguel Pires
- Photos by Paulo Barata
An autumn morning on Praia do Guincho, near Cascais. Hard to imagine a place like this in southwest Europe, in the middle of the Atlantic coast rather than the Mediterranean. A place where in November – after a night of intense rain – the sun shines, the wind drops (unlike in summer) and the temperature reaches 20 degrees. The area is really quite special, a nature reserve less than 30 km from Lisbon, where the rough sea, sand dunes and the Serra de Sintra blend in a unique setting. No wonder that this place has become a point of reference and inspiration for José Avillez. The Portuguese chef lived most of his life on his grandparents’ farm, less than three kilometres from here. As we walk on the beach he recounts childhood memories: from the virtually self-sufficient farm to parties for the whole community, from the ‘quite bad’ wine produced by his grandfather to his youthful enterprise at age 10 selling cakes with his sister (“the most profitable activity that I’ve ever had, because the ingredients were financed by Mum”).