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The month of December - O Paparico and Nature

December has arrived, a time that marks the end of a year that was intense, audacious and challenging. "The most wonderful time of the year". It is a month of celebration, that fills our city with lights, love, smiles and pride. Even the air smells different, there's a specific fragrance connected to this date. It cannot be expressed into words, it can only be felt. 

December not only marks the end of a cycle, but also blesses the beginning of a new one. It's a time to reflect, to feel, to share, to give freely and joyfully. It is certainly a magical month!

It is also a rich month, gastronomically speaking. Full of colours, flavours and food that nourishes our body and elevates our spirit.

O Paparico is delighted and absorbed by such a noble and beautiful feeling, and was inspired by Nature to end this year with a golden key.

We are a country with a vast and diversified maritime culture. When we talk about Portugal and its typical dishes, fish and seafood are certainly the most valued and desired products, both by our people and those who visit us. 

This ocean which caresses our coast from north to south and which, this month in particular, inspires and helps us to create unique dishes and experiences. Comfort food, with Portuguese character, in a fine dining version, a true luxury on the table.

This ocean which caresses our coast from north to south and which, this month in particular, inspires and helps us to create unique dishes and experiences. Comfort food, with Portuguese character, in a fine dining version, a true luxury at the table.

The irrepeatability of each moment, the respect for our roots and tradition, but simultaneously the creativity in innovating each one of them, allows us to reinvent and overcome ourselves. Our Nature selection this month is an undeniable evidence of it.

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Ankimo, the Japanese name given to the monkfish liver, is a rare delicacy. Its soft and tender texture, together with its properties and tenderness, grace any cooking fan with a foie gras of sea aromas and flavours.

As a matter of curiosity, one of the vital functions of any vertebrate being's liver is to store and canalise ingested fat to certain parts of the body, in order to maintain that energy and use it in situations of food deficit and survival. However, when it comes to the underwater animal kingdom, the rule is not the same. In this case, the stockpiling of ingested fat is done in the liver itself. The muscle of the fish remains lean, while the liver grows and reserves all the properties of the consumed fat. This the moment when monkfish liver stands out, due to its gastronomic importance, and is therefore considered the foie gras of the sea. At O Paparico, this unique delicacy is a poetic culinary experience, and is transformed into an emulsion which embraces and joins all the ingredients in the monkfish rice.

Still within the vastness of possibilities that the sea opens up to us and where it welcomes us, we emphasise another marine element. On its side, more colourful and with a more pleasant aspect, although no less tasty: the mullet.

The mullus surmuletus, the scientific name given to it, is a small fish, reddish and with three longitudinal yellow stripes all over its body. However, the elements that easily distinguish it are its barbels, which are longer than its pectoral fin.

However, the mullet's fame is due to the fabulous and delicious meat it possesses. It is a little jewel for our palate. Of course, O Paparico was not indifferent and, as usual, presents a divine dish, red mullet Setubalense style with fried corn, that stimulates us with a combination of flavours capable of lifting us to paradise.

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There is something disquieting, fascinating in Nature. And December, at O Paparico, offers one of the most precious goods that the soil gives us. Tartuffe, as it is called in Italy - its motherland - is a fungus much appreciated in haute cuisine. Pure gastronomic gold, the truffle gives life to a menu, where it is queen and mistress. The white and black truffles gain, therefore, the monopoly of our palate, in a journey of six moments that is extraordinary and extrasensorial and that is only available in the current month.

December will mark with its end, a retreat from O Paparico. We will be closed until February 2022. There is much to absorb, to develop, to learn.

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