Gourmet

In the Serra do Mendro we support biodiversity and have recovered sustainable agricultural techniques with steps that help us protect the soil, conserve water and preserve the environment and local social and cultural life.

The importance of Beekeeping

Bees perform a crucial role for the planet and help ensure the balance of ecosystems. In the Herdade Aldeia de Cima estate, bees pollinate plants, favour agricultural production and, through their high nutritional value products - such as honey and pollen extracted from flowers - they contribute to the local population’s well-being.​

In the Serra do Mendro we support biodiversity and have recovered sustainable agricultural techniques with steps that help us protect the soil, conserve water and preserve the environment and local social and cultural life. This philosophy and approach to nature preserves the life of bees and ensures a more balanced system, since they require around 10 million flowers to produce one litre of honey.​

We currently have 15 apiaries and 599 beehives. Whenever the right conditions exist, bee colonies are carefully transported by beekeepers to places where specific flower varieties are in full bloom. This is the reason for the varying flavours of honey, which depend on the season and the flowers in bloom.

Honey of wild lavender

The honey of Herdade Aldeia de Cima, is pure and produced the least possible human intervention . It is produced from a treasure chest of pollens. Of particular interest is the wild lavender that grows in the unique ecosystem of the cork oak orchards of Serra de Mendro, unspoilt by either industrial or urban pollution.​ The warm temperatures of early summer are ideal for extracting honey in its liquid state, a process that usually takes place between June and July, at the peak of production. The low temperatures of winter can cause the honey to crystallize without any loss of nutritional value. This is the mark of quality honey.​ Over time, liquid honey tends to crystallise. It must be kept in a dry and cool environment and at room temperature.

Flower pollen

At springtime, pollen is collected from flowers by bees, transported to the hive and collected in the pollen trap.​ This pure food source, which exists in the form of granules, has been valued for centuries as an extraordinary food supplement, unparalleled in nature. It is rich in amino acids and vitamins of biological origin, protides, lipids, sugars and minerals, and contains most of the elements essential to life on Earth.​ Flower pollen should be chewed and consumed on an empty stomach. It may also be eaten with yoghurt, fruit or vegetable smoothies, porridge or cereal.​ It should be kept at room temperature, in a dry and cool environment.

The Arbutus smooth and fruity flavour

When we smell the wet schist soil, between October and November, at the Herdade Aldeia de Cima estate this inspires us to harvest red fruits, in particular arbutus berries from the strawberry tree (arbutus unedo), which bring rich colours to the autumnal slopes of the Serra do Mendro.​

The strawberry tree’s wild and edible fruits result from maturation of the flowers from the previous year and are hand-picked. The fruit has an unusual contrasted texture: beneath the granular peel there is smooth pulp, which has an intense and fruity flavour.​

The round trees found on the slopes of the cork oak forest have vibrant colours – when the fruit is ripe it varies between strong yellow and intense red – and seem to herald Christmas, making the strawberry tree one of the most striking Portuguese forest spaces.

Arbutus jelly

Jelly has been a way of preserving fruit and obtaining sweet products since antiquity. It is also a very Portuguese sweet, and reminds us of countryside aromas and flavours and precious moments spent at the family table.​ At the Herdade da Aldeia de Cima estate, every moment is perfect to enjoy some traditional jelly, especially arbutus jelly, with its elegant aroma, that is reminiscent of the forest in the late autumn. This jelly is obtained by cooking the pulp of the arbutus berries harvested in the Serra do Mendro, adding sugar equivalent to its net weight, achieving a thicker consistency due to the fact that arbutus fruit is high in pectin. ​The jelly jar should be kept in a dry, cool environment at room temperature.

Arbutus jam

In the Serra do Mendro, arbutus jam is highly appreciated for its texture and consistency, as a perfect accompaniment for cheeses and winter desserts.​ Arbutus jam from Herdade Aldeia de Cima is prepared using the local villagers’ ancestral recipe and uses the whole fruit - we don’t remove the seeds so as to ensure greater texture and acidity. With a velvety structure, arbutus jam maintains the original flavour of the ripe fruit, harvested between October and November, revealing a delicate, fresh and intense fruit, and great balance.​ The jam jar must be kept in a dry and cool environment. After opening, keep in the refrigerator.

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