THE PARTY NEVER STOPPED IN THE ALENTEJO
It took us 4 days to reluctantly depart from Nuno’s place in northern Alentejo. For privacy reasons, I did not photograph any of the people invited – except for a fleeting image of Jeanne – or his house. But I had free reign to photograph any detail.
The days were a constant swirl of activity. Nuno pulled out all the stops. The food was earthy, country elegant and wonderful. September is vindima time in the northern Alentejo, and the grapes were being harvested for Nuno’s limited production organic wine. We rode in calèches and took long walks in the country side. There was horseback riding for the aficionados, exciting conversations, music, and last but not the least, all eyes were on Jeanne and Nuno.
Luisa, the pretty maid, seeing us go on another outing.
Our dog Maxi loved the freedom.
The vindima workers.
Forget about cars. Caleches are the way to move around.
The children from Nuno's school watching a puppet show.
Meals were always in different settings. Breakfasts on the terrace, lunches on elegantly set tables among the trees, dinners in the main dining room or on the porch, picnics under the cork oaks, elevenses. We did not stop eating. Guida prepared fantastic meals with vegetables and herbs from the house garden and meat from the farm’s chickens and sheep. We ate Sável from the nearby river. Sinful and divine desserts. The food was typically Portuguese country and finger licking delicious.
Breakfast on the terrace.
A hearty vegetable soup.
Guida's pasteis de nata, the typical Portuguese cream confection.
Freshly baked chicken empadas.
Fresh Alentejo tomato soup, made with requeijao, a rich cottage cheese.
Chicken in a red wine sauce.
An orange flan
Nuno’s passion, the Lusitanian horses, are magnificent, regal, symbols of the eternal. They are beautifully proportioned, holding their heads high as if to be crowned. I just stared from a distance. I know nothing about horses, but anyone can see that these are superior animals, made to be ridden by the greater gods of Ancient Greece.
Jeanne and Nuno, what can I say? Nuno is completely smitten by her, and I think Jeanne is equally over the moon. In fact she stayed on in the Alentejo, and Nuno will be driving her to the airport when she returns to Paris. Are they going to get together and live happily ever after? I doubt it. Nuno loves his place and is not a moveable beast. Jeanne loves her life and I doubt she is about to give up her profession and freedom. But I think their romance will continue, in the Alentejo, in Paris, or anywhere they arrange to meet.