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Why This Pastoral, Under-the-Radar Region of Portugal Is Turning Heads in the Food World

The farm doesn't get much closer to the table than this.

São Lourenço do Barrocal’s restaurant Sanda Vuckovic Pagaimo

The Alentejo region of southern Portugal, sprawling between the Atlantic coast and the Spanish border, lies within striking distance of Lisbon but offers a fresh-air antidote
 to the city. Thick with olive groves and medieval villages, the territory is the country’s breadbasket and an epicenter of authentic, rural traditions. So it was only a matter of time before a new generation snapped up the Alentejo’s old farmsteads, or in some cases erected faithful facsimiles, and refitted them as pastoral retreats stocked with spas, swimming pools, bars and a full roster of activities. These resorts also function as serious, working estates, and their eco-conscious owners are intent on sourcing from the region’s bounty of wheat fields, vineyards and coastal seafood, as well as their own orchards and kitchen gardens, to offer an updated taste of the bulging local larder. The result is proof of how far chefs can take farm-to-table cooking when the farm pitches right up on the doorstep.

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