Nostalgia, a Key Travel Market for the Alentejo?

So you travel to stoke your longing for the past? Do you search out places that match your remembrance of the “good old days”?

I’ll admit it: I do sometimes. Yes, I am nostalgic over real food. I’ve sawed open too many impenetrable bags of industrial chicken only to have a rotting stench billow from the industrial plastic. I’m tired of the endless battle of trying to get enormous, dictatorial entities like Monsanto to label the Frankenfood they produce so I can avoid it. My government is complicit; they reimburse the big companies for the cost of fighting logic. It is not a fair fight; I, a people, am not offered the same generosity from “my” government.

So I go to places like the Alentejo, where a slab of meat from a black-footed pig thrown on a grill over a hardwood fire and seared into a wonderfully flavorful hunk of heaven reminds me of the distance US pork has gone to become “the other (tasteless) white meat”. If I wanted tofu, I’d order it.

Grilling the black-footed pig, Pata Negra.

In any case, the Alentejo region has looked into nostalgia and has decided to embrace the concept of “genuineness”. Aren’t you surprised that “genuine” would be something you’d lust after? I mean, usually, when we lust, it isn’t genuineness we’re after. We fantasize, don’t we? We don’t want “genuine” breasts, we want them large enough to have to look like they’d have to be carried in a big cart drawn by huge draft animals except they don’t need all that because gravity ceases to be genuine around them and holds them up like they were helium filled balloons, perfect in our mind’s eye.

But the world has turned. We—or some of us anyway—lust after real food, rough and flavorful—or fantasize about a real bar you can get a cheap and good coffee and yack with the locals and even sit down at a table without having to wait for it to be vacated by one of those all-too-common antisocial idiots wearing earbuds and pounding away on a laptop.

Go rural on your vacation. You won’t regret it.

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