Whilst looking for a name for this place having in mind the concept “innovate by using traditional products”, I went back to the memories of my childhood and remembered the ”almenxar” of my grandmother Emília, fenced by rock rose flower (“esteva”) firewood. To my mind came that sweet and intense smell which was produced by the layers of figs spread out on the mats under the warm summer sun. And I knew this was the right name: figs “almeixar”, almonds “almeixar”, carobs “almeixar”…also the Algarve, Albufeira, Alcantarilha and even Almeida, our surname. All of this is a heritage left by the Arabs. “Almeixar” comes from the Arabic “al-manxar” and here in the Algarve we would say “almanxar”, “alminxar” or “almenxaire”. The word “Doçaria” (Cake Specialties) was used because there are many sweets involved, tenderness and effort that we would like to dedicate to you. With this name and this place I want to pay tribute, in general, to the humble people of the old Algarve, like when it was time for the harvest of the dried fruits or any other harvest it was always a good reason for happiness and gratefulness to mother earth who always compensates those who work with love and dedication. I also want to pay tribute especially to my mother who dedicated her entire life to the work in the country side and even when she got home tired she would cook very basic food which I miss so much! Nevertheless I also want to pay tribute to my father who with his 84 years of age still cultivates everything he needs in his vegetable garden, picks the fruits himself and makes his own firewater called “medronho” which he drinks during the year. He still cooks those divine dishes from the mountains which remind me of the tastes of my childhood such as peas with new potatoes and slices of homemade sausages with homemade bread which my mother would knead by hand and it would be baked in a wood burning oven. And how could I forget my brother who would do me the favour of eating the white parts of the dried ham and leaving the tender parts for me which were the only ones I liked.
I would like to thank my daughter and my daughter-in-law for supporting me in this project, or is it the other way around? I thank my husband for backing me up to go ahead with this challenge in these difficult times. Nevertheless I’m also counting on the help and collaboration of my two sons. Certainly I’m also embracing this new project thinking of my grandchildren and of those who are still to come; this way they will get to know their roots and can be proud of them as much as I’m proud of mine.
It is with great pleasure that I hope to share with my clients the tastes of my memories, because you are the reason for the “Almeixar Cake Specialties”.
Vale Rabelho, 24th of May 2012