©Bob Tope, 2000
Portuguese cuisine is perhaps the least known and most original in all of Europe. Situated between land and sea Portugal is a compact yet diverse country. Her people take great pride in their long colorful history happily embracing tradition while boldly advancing into the next millennium as a member of Europes economic union. For more than 2000 years Portuguese culture and cuisine have been taking form. As far back as 60 BC when Julius Caesar governed the province as part of the Roman Empire from the capital of Olisipo - todays Lisbon - the region that is now Portugal was setting the foundations for its culture. In the 8th through 12th century AD the Moors of North Africa invaded and occupied the fledgling country bringing with them their art and cuisine as well. Portugal was already diversified in its culinary skill by the time it finally received formal recognition as a country from Pope Alexander III in 1179. In 1297 the young Kingdom of Portugal officially settled its long-standing border disputes with Castile - future Spain - and formed its territorial boundaries in accordance with the Treaty of Alcañices. Although Spain later challenged these boundaries they have remained largely unchanged for 7 centuries, adding to the endurance of the Portuguese culture. Owing to Portugals roll as the world leader in exploration during the Golden Age of Discovery the roots of Portuguese cooking fan out all over the globe, especially to Africa, India, Indonesia and South America.
In the 15th century Prince Henry the Navigator ordered his explorers to bring back fruits, nuts, and plants from the lands they discovered around the globe further diversifying the pantry of Portuguese kitchens. Many of these lands such as Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Macau, Timor, Madeira and the Azores came under Portuguese control. And as trade developed cultural as well as culinary exchanges continued to further enrich Portuguese cuisine by leaving their mark of unusual blends of ingredients, making Portuguese dishes both unique and wonderful today.
Some people might believe that since Portugal is tucked into the southwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula surrounded by Spain to the north and east that Portuguese cuisine would be similar to Spanish cuisine. But in fact it is dissimilar in a great many ways. Most notably Portugal is embraced by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and owes much of its nourishment to fish and shellfish taken from the sea. The very ocean that served Portuguese explorers as a highway for their voyages of discovery also has provided Portuguese fishermen with a thriving lively hood over the centuries.
Within 14 years of Columbus discovery of America, Portuguese fishermen were trolling the Grand Banks off the coast of Newfoundland for codfish. As a means of preserving the cod during the long voyage back to Portugal, the fishermen learned that by salting the fish at sea and hanging it out in the sun to dry the cod would harden into board-stiff slabs and keep for many months. According to António Bellos Culinária Portuguesa one tenth of all fish sold in Portugal in 1506 was bacalhau (salt cod). Today nearly all of the cod purchased in Portugal comes from Norway.
"Bacalhau is the national fish of Portugal." Pedro Salgado, this years conference coordinator said at dinner one night. "Very traditional. You can eat bacalhau prepared 365 different ways." I lost track of how many different recipes of cod I ate during my three-week visit, but I was never disappointed with any of them.
As unique as lunches and dinners may be, a common pequeno almoço (breakfast - typically served 7-10 AM) for the Portuguese is not much different than in the US. It consists of café (coffee), suco (juice), leite (milk), pastéis (pastries), fresh pão (bread), manteiga (butter) and homemade marmalade. "Do you know that the only true marmalade is made from the fruit of the marmelo (pomegranate - a small fruit tree brought from India to Portugal by the early explorers)?" Pedro asked. "Like bacalhau, marmalade was invented by Portuguese explorers several centuries ago. They noticed that when they were voyaging to all parts of the globe to make their discoveries their fresh fruit kept spoiling. They needed some way to make it last longer. So they cooked the marmelo with sugar and invented marmelada (marmalade)." I dipped into the large bowl of the thick dark red seedy marmelada for a second serving on my toast. Fruits like morango (strawberries), bananas (from Madeira), laranja (oranges) and melãos (melons) among many others are also available in season.
Occasionally I had fresh ovos (eggs) for breakfast. I had nearly forgotten how rich free ranging chickens eggs could be. It is no wonder that many of Portuguese desserts are egg based. And what orange yokes! "Remember, the most important thing about a meal," Pedro once told me. "Is that it should have a pleasing arrangement of colors." Spoken like a true artist. So remember, orange is for egg yoke.
One day another of my colorful hosts, Guild member Isabel Catalão told me we were going to a huge supermarché. "Big, big, big supermarché." She teased. We hopped into the car and took off toward the tiny village of São Miguel de Machede. Isabel pulled the car to a stop next to a tiny cottage with a tiny guard standing sentry near the door. He held a tiny toy gun in his tiny four-year-old hands. We entered a tiny room in the tiny cottage. There lining the walls were a box of this and a can of that, nearly everything we might need in a typical day in a typical home in a typical tiny village. But we had not come to fill our list of supplies. We had come for one, and only one thing. Fresh Pão. It was not just the tiny guard that greeted us at the door, but the huge wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread.
The basic ingredients are simple: active dry yeast, luke warm water, sifted unbleached wheat flour, and salt. The magic comes in the way that it is baked - in wood-fired brick ovens at very high temperatures - and with steam. Dripping cold water onto the hot bricks several times during the baking process creates the steam. This gives the pão a deep rich brown crust and a soft chewy center. The loaf has a funny shape too, like two circular loaves, one twice as large as the other, joined at an obtuse angle. This sturdy and tasty Pão is the favored bread all over Portugal. And its good for sopping up soups and stews too.
"Time for a coffee." Pedro smiled as we stopped at one of the many small sidewalk cafés in Lisbon for an expresso. Some of the worlds best coffee is grown in the former Portuguese colonies of Timor, Brazil and Angola, so it is no wonder that coffee plays such a key roll in daily life in Portugal. But there are several varieties to be aware of. Bica, is the coffee house staple in Lisbon. It is the strongest and can stand on its own without a cup. (I think cups are only used to transport it while hot.) Café, the standard hearty brew is available everywhere. A clever hourglass-shaped glass vacuum pot heated over an alcohol burner is employed to make this coffee at your table in fine restaurantes. The magical little device is reminiscent of a chemistry set, fun to watch and the coffee is wonderfully rich. I found it also serves as a social focal point when gathering at friends houses. Carioca, a 50/50 mix of café and hot water, is similar to American coffee. Galão is the Portuguese equivalent of a café latte. It is a strong filter coffee mixed with hot milk and served in a glass. Galão escuro is heavier on the coffee, galão claro is heavier on the milk. A word to the wise, keep a few escudos in your pocket at the ready for the impromptu pause for a coffee especially if you are with Pedro!
"Try these." Pedro offered, sliding a white porcelain plate across the small sidewalk table toward me filled with inviting pastries: an egg roll-like snack called a crocket filled with cow meat (beef) and mild spices; rissol (half-moon shaped fried pastries filled with shrimp); a small rugby ball sized pastel-de-bacalhau (a fried pie filled codfish, potatoes, onions and parsley); and an empada-de-galinha (chicken fried in a pastry shell to a nice golden brown). "A few of these along with a drink - beer, fruit juice, soft-drink, milk or yogurt - is a typical and very inexpensive Portuguese almoço rápido (fast-food lunch - typically served 12:30-2:30 PM). Coffee always follows at the end, always at the end. Never together with the meal." Pedro stressed. "You like it?" I sampled a bite of each. They were wonderful, like homemade. This was but a small taste of the extraordinary culinary delights that I would discover during my adventure in Portugal.
Most of us will likely opt for an almoço rápido. In addition to the above mentioned items you will also find a selection of sandwiches made with fresh regional pão (bread) and queijo (cheese), fiambre (boiled ham served cold), presunto (smoked ham served cold), or misto (mixed sandwiches of cheese and ham). You can also order torrada (hot toast with butter) and hot sandwiches such as prego (bread with beef), bifana (bread with pork), or cachorro, (hot dogs or hamburgerssame name). Soups, stews and salads are also available.
"Some people might like a beer to refresh on a hot afternoon or maybe later in the evening." Pedros partner and Guild member Marcos Oliveria said one afternoon as we walked through the narrow twisting streets of Mouraria, a very old and beautiful district of Lisbon. We stopped at a small local bar to test the procedure. "Desculpe!" Marcos called to the bartender drawing his attention. "Duas imperials, se faz favor." The bar keep turned and poured two draft beers and placed them on the well-worn bar in front of us. "Obrigado." Marcos thanked him. There are many beers in Portugal. But the two that most people seem to enjoy are Sagres and Super Bock. Sagres tends to be a bit heavier and slightly darker than Super Bock. And if you are drinking more than one, Super Bock leaves you a bit more functional. But then there is also Pedros favorite beer, Guinness. Perhaps its a bit of the ancient Celtic influence in Portugal that is somehow encoded in his DNA.
Pedro and Sónia Francisco (Pedros wife and one of the five Guild committee members planning the conference) and I looked over the menu at a little restaurante in the Graça district of Lisbon late one night. Late? Did I say late? Not to the Portuguese, although it was past ten, it was right in the middle of their jantar (dinner) hour. Ten to mid-night is typical in Lisbon. And although it was a bit extreme I had several dinners well past midnight. A few as late as three in the morning! But then it just depends on what you are doing and when you want to eat I suppose. Most restaurantes are open for dinners between 7:30-9:30 in small villages, and many stay open much later in Lisbon.
Shortly after we were seated the waiter brought a basket of fresh baked pão (wheat bread) and a plate of queijos (cheeses). Portuguese cheeses are made largely from goat milk or sheep milk, and many rival the finest in the world. Because they are not commonly mass-produced these cheeses are local delicacies and vary from region to region making sampling enjoyable at every stop. Some cheeses like Serpa are best when eaten fresh and buttery, however you may find it aged one to two years as well and still highly desirable. Another favorite, lucky for us, is the Évora. Locally produced it is considered by many to be the best cheese in all of Alentejo. Made from sheeps milk between February and June it is eaten both fresh and fully ripe. It is also worth mentioning the Menendeiras, a fresh sheep-milk cheese found throughout the Alentejo Province. A small popular variety of this is called Queijinhos de Évora and is a frequent staple in many lunches. Cabreiro (goat milk cheeses) should be eaten fresh. Wherever you are in Portugal cheese is likely to be part of your meal.
Following the cheeses and bread was an appetizer. "Often appetizers and à parte (side dishes) along with a salada (salad) come with the meal." Pedro told me. A dish of black and green azeitonas (olives) seems to come with every meal as well. I encourage you to sample the olives at every chance because like so many other foods in Portugal they have varying regional flavors.
Água (water) must be requested at restaurantes. It will not automatically appear at your table. It is safe to drink tap water in all cities and villages in Portugal although the taste may vary. However avoid drinking from wells, creeks and other natural water sources without proper filtration. Bottled water is available everywhere in natural (room temperature) or frio (cold) or com gas (sparkling) or sem gas (plain). You should experience no difficulties obtaining good drinking water.
Fish made up the bulk of the menu, but there were several bife selections as well. Bife in Portuguese is "a generous slice of animal meat or steak". It generally means any kind of meat other than fish with the exception of tuna." Pedro informed me. "You will find in the descriptions on the menu if it comes from a cordeiro (lamb), vaca (cow), or porco (pig)." Note too that bife de vaca (beefsteaks) tend to be a bit less tender than we may expect but offer nice flavor. The tenderest cut, lombo is about one inch thick and practically melts in your mouth but some say it is less flavorful. Chicken or pork dishes are both generally excellent and one may find a coelho (rabbit) dish on the menu as well.
I let Pedro and Sónia make the selections for dinner. "You told me to keep an open mind and remain flexible." I reminded Pedro. "Ill try anything once." That night I ate polvo (octopus), lula (squid), mexilhões (mussels), fried carapaus (mackerel) - heads, eyes and all, as well as bacalhau in one of its 365 varieties, a chicken dish, and sausages. I would gladly eat almost any of the other dishes again - except maybe for the carapaus heads.
Chourço (sausages) come in as many varieties, sizes and colors as there are small villages in Portugal, perhaps more. Some are served in specific combinations with other foods or on special occasions. Typically these are made of pork meat with varying levels of seasonings and spices as well as different methods of preparation including, boiled, grilled and smoked. Smoking takes place inside the oversized chimneys that you will see on many of the cottages in the villages and on farmhouses. But you will see names like chouriço de carne (containing chunks of meet and spices), morcela, farinheira, alheira, paio, and linguica, etc. I sampled chouriço de sangue (blood sausage), which did not make my favorites list.
By journeys end I had tried other such delicacies as, pargo (sea bream), the sweet cheek meet of robalo (sea bass), and a Sapoteira (Dungeness-like crab) salad made with the organs found in the carapace - stuff we usually throw out, but is actually quite tasty. Other delightful dishes were made of amêijoas (clams), pato (duck), cordeiro (lamb) and vaca (cow). But my personal favorites were the splendid home cooked meals graciously prepared by Sónia and Isabel. The servings were always very generous and I certainly never went hungry, (at least not beyond three in the morning, right Isabel?)
I recall another food that Pedro introduced me to a few days later. It was evening. Pedro and I were returning from a day of four-wheel drive adventuring along the rugged cliffs in Parque Natural Costa Vicentina. The sun had set and lights from the small coastal village of Sesimbra drew us in. Surf crashed at the base of the old harbor fort lit by golden tungsten lamps. We wound our way into the heart of the village and parked near the beach half encircled by shops and a small eatery. In the tiny plaza under an ornate wrought iron lamp was a cart filled with ice. And on the ice lay the fresh catch of the day. Anything from eels to cuddle fish to crabs to an assortment of finned fishes and more. Pedro paused to look them over. After a few moments of conversation with the man selling the fish, Pedro, the man and some of the catch went into a nearby restaurante. I stayed outside enjoying the fresh ocean breeze and the sound of the waves washing up the sandy beach.
Soon Pedro returned all smiles. "We should have a seat." We settled at a table in the cobble-stoned court as Pedro described what he had arranged for us to eat. With pen in hand he started to sketch the strange animal that I was about to sample. As the sketch developed on the paper tablecloth I began to recognize it as perceves (gooseneck barnacles).
"You eat them by pinching with your fingers here," Pedro described once the freshly steamed creatures arrived. "Then you pull out this part, like so, and put it in your mouth." He demonstrated the removal of the elongated muscle that is used to attach the barnacle to the rock. I followed his lead. "What do you think?" "Its actually quite good." I replied. Pedro smiled, "It is one of my favorite foods. I think it has the flavor of the sea."
It certainly should. These gooseneck barnacles live in the tide zone along rocky coasts. Every year people risk their lives prying these small shell-hardened delicacies from the rocks with a knife while being pounded by the raging surf. A week later we stopped at the Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sagres and on the wall were a series of photographs depicting the process of gathering perceve. Each year a few people die while harvesting this little sea creature for the big money it brings in. "The perceves is the most expensive seafood on the market." Pedro said. "More than any crab or lobster. Ten pounds of perceves is equal to one months salary! A single days harvest of perceves can pay an entire familys expenses for a month or more. A good month can pay a years work. In a few years a fisherman can buy a house." I was beginning to understand. "So you see why some people die? It is not because these creatures are tasty. And you can see why perceves are in trouble. And that is why the marine lab in Sines is studying this species." We finished our snack and took a crab and pastries home to Sónia.
"Garlic is like God." Pedro laughed. "It is present everywhere!" I might add that the trinity of cooking might be considered alho (garlic), coentro (coriander) and azeite (olive oil). Other herbs, spices and flavorings might include: canela (cinnamon) - sought after by early explorers in India, paprika, açúcar (sugar), amêndoas (almonds), limáo (lemon), cebolas (onion), oregão (oregano), colorau (hot paprika) and colorau doce (sweet paprika), salsa (parsley), açafrão (saffron), pimento (sweet bell peppers, red or green), pimenta (pepper grain or powder), piri-piri (tiny, incendiary red peppers from Angola), vinagre (vinegar), and vinho seco (dry wine, both tinto - red and branco - white) among others.
Side dishes might include batatas (potatoes) - nutty varieties with great flavor, arroz (rice), cenouras (carrots), agrioes (watercress), abóbora (squash or pumpkin - there are a wide variety in Portugal).
Soups including the hearty nationwide favorite caldo verde - a couve galega (cabbage) based jade green soup teaming with potatoes, onions and garlic with a touch of olive oil - are quite popular and found simmering in nearly every Portuguese kitchen. If you are a vegetarian be sure to ask if meats have been added, as occasionally this is the case. In most instances the cooks will be very helpful in making a meal you will enjoy if you inquire. Isabel made a wonderful Pumpkin soup for us that was both tasty and filling. Along with bread and cheese it made a meal by itself.
Stews can also provide a fine one dish meal. Although most restaurantes follow tried and true recipes occasionally you will find stews brewing that are improvised from a little of this and a little of that, whatever is at hand in the kitchen. And if you are lucky enough to come across local fishermen standing around a pot simmering over an open fire on the beach chances are they are fixing a fish stew with part of their daily catch. A cordial inquiry might lead to an invitation to sample what undoubtedly will be a delicious stew.
Salads are fairly basic consisting typically of alface (lettuce), tomate (tomato) - these grow exceptionally well in Alentejo and are among the most tasty tomatoes in the world, pimenta (peppers) and cebola (onion) with an olive oil dressing. The Portuguese seldom use other bottled dressings and rely more on the rich flavors of the foods and a simple dressing of olive oil.
The olive is harvested in late fall during festas or casual gatherings. Outside the castle walls at Évoramonte one afternoon Isabel and I watched a few of the villagers in traditional dress beat the olive branches with sticks causing ripe olives to fall upon a cloth placed beneath the tree. The olives were collected immediately, although they may be left for up to ten days to age before being gathered and put through the olive presses to squeeze out the greenish oil. Then it is poured into hot or cold water depending upon the desired oil to be created, with cold water producing the more delicate oil.
"Smoking seems to be allowed in restaurants here." I commented having seen a couple of the people smoking a few tables away. "Yes." Pedro replied. "All most all restaurantes allow smoking and only a very few have non-smoking areas. But if you do not like it, politely ask the person sitting near you who is smoking to stop and they will usually do so in a friendly way. We understand."
I had noticed people smoking in other public places as well. "Smokers are the majority, or close to the same number of non-smokers." Pedro told me later. "Everyone knows that it is wrong and bad for our health, but thats not the point. It is a matter of living together, with respect for both groups and common sense. That is what we understand."
"I know it might be strange to American culture." Pedro continued, "But in Portugal to open a non-smoking restaurant means no clients. There is always at least one smoker in a group of family or friends. To be together comes first. Same in Spain and other European countries. And the good news: every year there are less smokers. Some quit, some die and less begin. But still this is our way, at our pace. I hope our members understand."
You will find that nearly all the meals you eat, even the little things you buy for almoço rapido, are made of fresh ingredients. Almost everything will be made with foods that are in season. At some times of the year you cannot find a particular food because it grows at a different time of year. And you will also find that there are specialties that are made only in one village and nowhere else. The next village will have its own unique specialty. It may be a bread, a cheese, a pastry, a pie, but what ever it is, it is probably the best thing to eat in that village. Simply ask what is typical for that particular location.
"The waiter does not seem to be smiling." I noted in a hushed voice. "They seldom do." Pedro replied. "It is a sign of respect for the patrons to not smile, but go about their business in a professional manner. It does not mean they are not being friendly or that they are unhappy. You will also notice that they do not stand at the table and talk like they sometimes do in your country." He added. He was right. Service was prompt, efficient and carried out with minimal amount of dialog with the waiter. It was a much more peaceful to have dinner without the waiter asking if you like the meal when your mouth is full or when you are in the middle of a conversation. Our dinner flowed smoothly and pleasantly, uninterrupted.
"Portuguese wines are among the best in the world." Pedro said proudly as he poured for us. "Not many people know this because we export so little. And the red wines are better than white wines." He continued. "When a wine is brought to the table it is proper for the waiter to serve a small quantity to the person who offers to taste the wine. The waiter will then show the label of the wine to the taster. After it is approved the ladies will be served first beginning with the oldest. Then the men, again beginning with the oldest."
Entire books can be written about wine and still not convey every nuance of these subtle and variable nectars of the grape. But I would be remiss in my duties if I did not try to at least introduce you to some of the history, terminology and regions associated with Portugals fine wines. Although long a grower of grapes and a maker of excellent wines it was not until 1986 when Portugal joined the European Union that the Portuguese wine industry began to awaken and modernize. In less than 15 years wine regions in Portugal have grown from 10 to 50. The Greeks and Romans knew Port from the upper reaches of the Douro River more than 2000 years ago and Port has retained its world class leadership as a sipping wine to this day. And Madeira was a favorite drink in colonial America. But today Portugal is becoming known for its growing number of estate bottled wines rivaling those from France and elsewhere around the world.
Although there are several wine regions I will only touch on a few.
One evening Pedro and I stopped in a tavern near the coastal town of Setúbal for a glass of Muscatel, a sweet dessert wine. This region is known for the Muscat of Alexandria grape that was brought to Portugal by the Phoenicians over 2000 years ago. During the reign of King Louis XIV of France Setúbal Muscatel was a stock item in the royal cellar - an indication of the respect shown for its quality. As we stood at the bar sipping the local vintage the bar tender quietly offered us something truly special; a glass of the estates unlabeled private reserve 25 year-old vintage Muscatel. This prized bottle is kept well guarded and hidden out of sight. Royal red in color and with a smooth silkiness that was a pure pleasure to sip made it easy to see why the King of France bought some of his wine in Portugal.
Vinho Verde or green wine is one of northern Portugals delights. It is zesty, crisp and fruity and is generally served chilled and enjoyed young. This nice straw-yellow light wine is a fine accompaniment for fish or served as an aperitif.
The Province of Alentejo (whose capital city is Évora) covers nearly one third of Portugal and is fast becoming one of its leading producers of fine full-bodied red wines. Although many of the wineries are modernizing some are still making wine in amphoras, a carry over from Roman times.
Portugal supplies more than 40% of the worlds supply of cork, and nearly 80% of Portuguese cork comes from Alentejo. The tiny village of Azaruja, just to the north and east of Évora is a center for the cork industry stockpiling huge stacks of cork bark peeled from cork oak trees from the surrounding region. The tree, although changed in appearance, is not harmed and within 7-10 years has grown a new layer of cork bark that is ready for harvest. During this time the groves are grazed buy herds of sheep and cattle making multiple use of the land.
Some of this cork may be found carved into intricate souvenirs depicting typical village scenes, but of course much of it ends up sealing thousands of bottles of Portuguese wine.
No matter what you order for dinner Portugal has the perfect wine to accent any meal. (Remember, there is a two-bottle limit per person on imports back in the US.)
"Food will be served to your left and empty dishes removed from the right." Pedro - the good father - instructed. "When you eat, place your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right hand." He demonstrated the technique for me. "You seldom let go of either one. If you must eat with your spoon, hold it with your right hand." Not since I was a child had I given so much thought to table manners, but here I was in a foreign country and I wanted to learn their customs. So like a child I started with the basics. "When you are finished and you want nothing more. Place your knife and fork together on the side of your plate: the right side if you enjoyed your meal, the left side if you did not. If you have finished what you were served and would like more place your fork on the left and the knife on the right. The waiter will clear your plate and bring a new one with more food." Wow! It really works. And you dont have to speak a word to the waiter.
Dispite our heroic efforts there was still food left on the serving platter when we were finished. "Should we ask for this to be put in a container to take home?" I asked. "Not in Portugal." He replied. "You ask for scraps only for your dog or cat, never for yourself."
Desserts by definition are a treat, and the desserts in Portugal are definitely treats. Doces de ovos (egg based sweets) were introduced to Portugal by the Moors. But it was the nuns of the 17th and 18th centuries that created or perfected many of the recipes that we enjoy today. They even gave them heavenly names like, Barrigas de Freira (Nuns tummies), Papos de Anjo (Angel cheeks), and Toucinho do Ceu (Bacon from Heaven).
There are many cakes and pastries sweetened with sugar and flavored with almonds, cinnamon, or other delightful spices. We shared a creamy rice pudding called arroz doce flavored with vanilla and lemon rind, a pumpkin pudding and a chocolate mousse. We finally finished our superb dinner with our inevitable cup of bica (expresso) as the evening drifted into the small hours of the morning.
The sound of our footsteps on the cobbles echoed off the ancient stone buildings hugging the sidewalk as we strolled slowly through the narrow twisting streets of Graça. Ornate wrought iron lamps lit our way past taverns and bars just getting started for the night. Dancing will begin at two or so and may last until sunrise. Music and laughter flowed out onto the street and I could not help but notice how civil it all seemed compared to many American bars. "Of course you can find places that are unsafe. But this place is a good place for people to come." My host said.
Pedro, Sónia and I paused at one particular overlook above the glittering lights of Lisbon. The night air was fresh, and cool. Castelo de São Jorge glowed with a golden light atop the hill to the South. "That is where we will have a banquet." He said, nodding toward the historic castle. The splendid sight was enhanced by soft acoustic guitar music emanating from a small group of young people gathered nearby.
"So, what do you think? Will our members like this?" Pedro said with a knowing smile. My own smile nearly restricted my response. "Yes, Pedro. Theyll like this."
© 2000 GNSI - Guild of Natural Science Illustrators - All rights