We weren't sure what to expect when we heard that there was a 'slow food' tasting menu on offer at a new guesthouse in São José das Matas, a village around 20 minutes drive from the moinho, but we were certainly happy to try it out - especially when we discovered they produce their own wine too.
And we are very happy that we did! We arrived for dinner and were greeted by Rui, our co-host for the evening. We were shown to our 'private dining room', a covered veranda with a view over the nearby Tagus river to the Alentejo hills. The welcome was friendly, the decor and music well-judged, the canapes were tasty... and things just kept getting better from there. In all we enjoyed three dishes and a dessert, with ingredients ranging from truffles and monkfish to rabbit and wild rice. Each dish was delicious, interesting, and well-balanced, and was introduced with charm and enthusiasm by Nita, the chef and one of the owners. The wine was similarly impressive, a red subtle enough not to overpower the wide range of flavours on offer, but with good persistence and spice. It's nice to have found such a local producer with wines that we like, and at a good price also. We'll be back to top up!
This really is a unique dining experience that we'd thoroughly recommend. The prices start from 20 euros per person, including wine, and reservations need to be made 48 hours in advance. If you're staying at the moinho and you'd like to try the experience for yourselves, do let us know with as much notice as possible.