18.4.09

Portugal and chocolate mousse


J and I, when in Portugal, could bore anyone to death as we talk about the same thing, all the time, over and over; why is it that their coast is perfectly beautiful, while ours is a total mess of concrete apartment blocks?
Right now we´re on the Costa Vicentina, which is a string of sandy coves and dramatic cliffs where storks nest on jutting rocks and the surf pounds.
Also, the food is great. Not just the grilled fish, which is of course excellent, but the boiled vegetables that come with it, which are so sweet and fresh that we eat them outright, no oil, no salt, nothing. The fish soup, the cuttlefish stew, the octopus salad. All great.
One thing I find particulary charming is the chocolate mousse. In Spain, chocolate mousse is over. Trendy restaurants have banished it from their menus, and serve instead brownies, or carrot cake, or cheesecake. You might, perhaps, be treated to some foamy thing featuring local cheeses or honey, or a molecular rendition of some traditional nunnery pastry.
As for the basic elemental roadhouse restaurants, if they have mousse, you can be sure it comes in a little clay pot, straight from a factory who knows where.
These Portuguese, though, they know their way around a carton of eggs, and see no problem at all in dishing up such a classic.
It comes in fluted glasses, or little metal cups, maybe with a dollop of whipped cream, maybe not, but it is that homely type that is more creamy than moussy, having been too thoroughly beaten, perhaps, and is just chocolatey enough, being blissfuly free of any 70% cocoa conceits.
In fact, as J and I simultaneously mumbled through our first mouthful of the stuff, it is exactly the same mousse we had at our grandmothers´houses.
Brilliant. Next time I have people over for dinner, I´m giving them chocolate mousse, and I bet they´ll say wow this is great we haven´t had this in ages.

7 comentarios:

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) dijo...

The truly classic desserts never really go out of fashion -- like good casseroles. Even if we don't make them every week, whenever we do have them we remember all the wonderful times we've had those dishes before. I'm glad you will revive the chocolate mousse -- it's absolutely worthy!

kickpleat dijo...

please keep the portugal posts coming! it's the next place i want to visit so it's so exciting. i almost want to make the mousse....but i don't know if i can wait 12 hours.

joui dijo...

Well I guess it's a good thing you just don't know where to look. Sadly, we too have some parts of the coast covered by concrete towers, blocks, you name it, specially up here in the North. The thing about Costa Vicentina and Alentejana is that it's a Natural Reserve (is that how you say it? lol), and as such, is protected from that kind of construction.
I know there are loads of enterprises who don't give a damn about coast preservation and wouldn't mind building a whole set of appartment blocks on those stunning cliffs, though...
I hope you can keep on profiting of our nice, preserved foods and coasts :)

Guru dijo...

Pues yo sigo preparando el mousse cuando viene gente a casa (cielos, sueno un poco "Preysler")

Ensalada de pulpo ..... mmmmmmm!

lobstersquad dijo...

Lydia: absolutely. Chocolate mousse is coming back!
Kickpleat: sadly, I´m back in Spain, but I hope you have a wonderful time. And if you come to Madrid, give me a shout, I´ll show you around.
Joui: Well, we know how to build great big blocks in national parks, too, so you´re ok, really you are. I love Portugal.
Guru: toda la razón. yo también la pongo, pero los restaurantes no, por lo menos no la casera. la Royne sí, pero esa no mola nada.

Thermomixer dijo...

Strange, but the two times that I visited Spain, I was amazed at how wonderful the food, especially seafood was compared with here in Australia. Maybe, need to go to Portugal next.

I tried to convert Gabriela's chocolate mousse with olive oil for the Thermomix. Posted my interpretation a couple of weeks ago.

gasparzinha dijo...

Praia do Carvalhal is just perfection on earth!
I love my country, and if there is a special place there, this is one of them.
Such delicious draws - i jut loved your blog. :)

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