Located in the Alentejo region of Portugal, lies Be My Guest host Vera’s 18th century Lusitano horse stud farm. Here, Trafalgar guests have the opportunity to learn all about the rigorous breeding process of the Lusitanos, as well as watch Vera and her husband Tiago, put the horses through their paces with a unique performance. And of course, this being a Be My Guest experience, there’s also plenty of delicious home cooked food involved!
Currently we are unable to visit Vera at her beautiful property, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still recreate a little of the magic that happens at Monte Negro farm, from the safety of our own kitchens. To help you do this, Vera has kindly shared a recipe many of our past guests will have fond memories of – her pumpkin and carrot soup.
Why is this dish meaningful to you?
This soup represents a little bit of everything that is experienced when visiting Monte Negro. It is cooked based on an old and traditional recipe, the ingredients are all sourced regionally, it is a typical Portuguese soup. Soup has always been and still is one of the main dishes in a Portuguese meal, it is healthy, full of essential nutrients and it also gives our guests that special homey feeling of cosiness and comfort.
Have you cooked this dish for Trafalgar guests, and if so what was the reaction?
Absolutely! This soup is part of the Monte Negro lunch experience, so I hope many guests who have visited us will have fond memories of it! They usually have a second helping and ask us for the recipe straight away. Many guests then send us their story about cooking this soup back at their homes, saying how it has become part of their meals too.
What ingredients do you need to cook this dish?
- 100g toasted almonds
- 300g carrots
- 300g pumpkin
- 1 onion
- 100g potatoes
- 3 table spoons of olive oil
What are the instructions for cooking this dish?
This soup is very simple and easy to prepare, as follows:
- Toast the almonds in the oven and put it aside.
- Slice all vegetables into small pieces and boil them in water.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add the olive oil and salt, then blend it with a hand blender.
- Sprinkle with toasted almonds before serving.
Why is food such an important part of Portuguese culture?
Portuguese culture is surrounded by food, I can’t find any better way to describe it! Meal times are always an opportunity for social interaction, all the most important moments of our lives happen around a table full of delicious food, friends and family, a good conversation as well as a good Portuguese wine. The act of cooking and seat at a table, to enjoy a meal, together with the people we love, plays a relevant role in our daily lives. It’s that special moment of the day when everyone comes together.
Why do you love welcoming Trafalgar guests into your home, and what do you think they get from the experience?
I have always loved welcoming Trafalgar guests into my home, from the very first day we began doing Be My Guest experiences! Each group is a different and new experience, I get to know extraordinary people from all around the world, and it’s amazing to see how quickly we connect and how they feel passionate about our horses! There is a real connection, I can see that through the number of guests I keep in contact with. Some of them visited Monte Negro 5 years ago, and we are still in touch!
There are always extraordinary moments that touch our hearts, when we see our guests getting emotional throughout the experience only to realise that we are feeling emotional too. This is the best proof we have that by sharing our passion, we are letting other people feel the same way, as if they are becoming part of our family! It is beautiful to see. One day, one lady came to visit us for a second time. As soon as she got off the coach she said “I decided to do this trip for the second time so I could have the opportunity to come here again!”. We have so many stories like this!
It’s very important for us to make sure that we are able to take our guests on our “journey”, so they can have a sense of what our passion is, and why we have always worked so hard to keep our history and traditions alive throughout the last 300 years.Showing guests who visit us how we breed the Pure Blood Lusitano horse, is an honour!