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The month of August - O Paparico and The Nature

"Forever. Here I am. It is a summer afternoon, it is hot. August afternoon. Look around you, in the sweltering heat, in the final possession of my destiny." - Vergílio Ferreira

The certainty of Man's finitude is fairly proportional to the infinitude of his work, of his legacy. In art, as in life, there is always a moment of serenity that precedes the great revolutions. Those of the soul, or those of war. And it is in this silent buzz that progress is made, that a path is opened. It is an almost mechanical process, meticulous, and careful. Like ploughing the fields before sowing them.  So is August, abundant in aspirations, yet patient, dedicated and methodical in the process of creation.
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The selection of products is the first step in the creative process of our kitchen team. In August, Chef Rúben Santos chose a new protein to be the star product: wild turbot. Scophthalmus rhombus, is the scientific name for this fish, which is distinguished by its organoleptic characteristics. Belonging to the group of bony fish, its body assumes a rounded and flat shape, practically without scales, and with both eyes located on the same side. It has a double colouration: it is white on the lower part and dark brown on the upper part so that it can be confused with the sandy bottoms where it lives. This power of camouflage allows it to protect itself from possible predators. At the same time, its diet is based on eating small fish and crustaceans that share the same habitat. At the edge of the beach, the waves are stronger and the water is more oxygenised. This fact would be superfluous if it did not have a direct impact on the firmness and robustness of these fish. As regards its gastronomic quality, its meat is white, firm, lean and very tasty.
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Lobster is considered a luxury gastronomic product and there are many reasons for this. A crustacean belonging to the decapod species, it is known scientifically as Homarus Gammarus and is found in the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. It shows a hard and smooth carapace but is composed of some spines, both on the supraorbital part and on the lateral edges. It is armed with two wide and strong pincers, which assume distinct shapes and purposes, but complement each other. The shorter and narrower one has a cutting function, while the longer and wider one has a crushing one. It is a beautiful, impressive animal, with an extraordinary blue colouration and orange details. Its meat is firm but tender, lean and slightly sweet, yet rich in proteins and essential minerals. Its taste is incomparably intense with regard to other crustaceans. The male has firmer flesh and larger and more fleshy pincers; the female, on the other hand, has a more delicate taste, and a larger tail and her roe is a true feast of the gods.
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There are products that bring back good memories, as is the case with razor clams. Originating from the Algarve, it has a number of recipes that praise it. Known further north as razorsnife, the solen marginatus - as scientists call it - is a bivalve of the solenidae family, whose main organoleptic characteristic is that it has two shells articulated at one point. It has a fragile shell, long but narrow, which gives it the appearance of a knife handle, which also explains some of its names. Gastronomically it is very appreciated for its aroma and taste, the consistency and robustness of its meat. It is rich in iron and vitamins B1 and B2. Before being cooked, the razor clams should be soaked in water and salt in order to release the small sandy deposits and other residues it contains.

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From the earth, Pastry Chef Ana Macedo, selected roses and raspberries as August's highlighted products to edify summer and add a detail of beauty and extravagance to our Menus. The rose is the symbol of romanticism. In turn, pastry is considered the art of the heart. And where there is love, there is life, there is creation. The world's best-known flower has enormous gastronomic and nutritional importance, because apart from its unequalled flavour, it has vitamins, minerals and a low calorie content. It can be eaten raw or as an integral part of starters, main courses or desserts. For this reason, they assume a myriad of confection and preservation methods. They can be used in the production of mousses, creams, jellies, liqueurs or preserved by methods such as crystallisation and drying. Additionally, they are great for creating essences, infusions or teas, giving them an exotic and floral flavour.
 
Raspberries are a juicy and sweet fruit, with a very smooth taste and outstanding nutritional characteristics. With a very low caloric value, it is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, being a great ally for those on a diet. Just like the rose, it can be eaten as it is or cooked in the various ways that make up the kitchen. In the case of O Paparico, it is part of a sublime dessert both for its elegance and the combination of flavours that make it up.