The month of May - O Paparico and The Nature

In the month of May, we have a feeling of vitality and joy that is not palpable but invades our body and mind.

Nature offers us positive energy and prosperity. It is the month of Maia, the Goddess of the Earth and Flowers, who dignifies and promotes the growth of spring-born plants.
In Celtic culture, the first of May was marked by the beginning of the pastoral summer season. The people took their animals up to the mountain, where they could eat from the green meadows. Nowadays, all over the world, this date is dedicated to the working man and is considered a bank holiday in most countries that celebrate it. Last but not least, it is the month of the Mother. This celebration takes place on the first Sunday of this month and is nothing more than a homage to Life!
In fact, Nature is generous this month. Proof of this is the products that have influenced and transformed our Menus. There are, however, two elements that deserve a special mention and to which we will dedicate this article, the elderberry flower and the "minhota" old cow.
Found throughout Portugal, the elderberry is a shrub of indigenous Portuguese flora. Dense, it is composed of a generous branching system and can reach up to 5 meters in height. It is a very versatile plant, since all its parts can be used, such as its bark, roots, leaves, fruits and flowers. In slang, it is therefore known as the rose-of-goods.
In the 12th to 18th centuries, in Portugal, it was considered an excellent gastronomic and medicinal product. This is why its use has been perpetuated to the present day. There is also a popular belief that elderberry flower helps to cleanse the soul and prepares us for new events, as well as for a more creative way of life.
As far as its nutritional value is concerned, elderflower has a high content of vitamin C, which directly impacts the health of the circulatory and immunological systems. It is rich in fibre and antioxidants, being considered a great ally for the heart. It also contains phenolic acids, which promote stress and anxiety reduction.
In our kitchen, it is a very special element. As part of one of our Pastry creations, it gives the composition a singular flavour, with a delicate touch and a unique beauty.
The name of the "minhota" breed corresponds to the toponymy of its traditional production region, Entre Douro e Minho. It is an area of the country that offers excellent production conditions, namely biological.
It is the only Portuguese breed that has a triple aptitude: meat, dairy products and work. This characteristic is in itself a differentiating factor. However, the most important factor is being an autochthonous Portuguese breed and having the ability to compete with other exotic breeds, as regards its growth. And if at this point they are on an equal level, as far as organoleptic properties are concerned, they are considered to be of superior quality.
Its meat is surprising for its marked but balanced flavour. In its composition, it has an interesting proportion of protein and fat, which gives it a tender and rich texture. It is the key element in our May Menus and is part of a memorable composition.