The wine has always been a big part of my life. I grew up in the Reguengos de Monsaraz county, well-known for wine producing, and I helped my grandfather with harvesting and stomping the grapes. But I only became interested in the industry when I worked with a big wine producer for a company where I became the head sommelier.
Three years ago, I was invited to launch Enoteca Cartuxa. The goal was to have a place where wine and local food were the stars, served at any time of the day, shared amongst friends. Our customers can share wine, olive oil, and food from 10 in the morning to 10 in the evening. At Enoteca Cartuxa you can order wine by the glass or buy a bottle to share with your friends.
As for Alentejo cuisine, we present it in a lighter version but still true to its core characteristics. We serve food in smaller portions, easier to share. To those visiting Évora looking for excellent local cuisine paired with excellent wines, I have a suggestion: why not drop by for a visit at Enoteca Cartuxa?
By visiting Enoteca Cartuxa you will not only get to know better the Cartuxa wines and our approach to Alentejo cuisine, but you can take home a piece of the best the region has to offer. In our store, which has a view of our kitchen, you’ll find several local products.
Our story and mission
I’m a passionate woman. If things aren’t made with passion, they don’t make sense to me. That usually means I’m not in one place for a long time, but Enoteca Cartuxa is continually challenging me. We’ve been opened for two years, and we have around 20,000 visitors a year. We felt Évora lacked a place where one could eat in small portions and share food, that’s why we opted for that concept. We cook with less fat and less salt, but our dishes are still the typical ones from Alentejo. We compensate it with herbs, and we have a local producer stocking us with flavourful parsley, coriander, and pennyroyal.
Our location is strategic, but our clients are our best publicists through word-of-mouth. They come once and then bring a friend, who brings a friend, who in turn brings another friend. We are grateful for that because it means we’re doing a great job.
The Alentejo wines are the ideal complement to all the dishes and snacks on our menu. At Enoteca Cartuxa all our wines are served by the glass, except the red wine Pera Manca. The Cartuxa terroir is a particular one that sets our wines apart, with the help of our skilful oenologist. Institutions are built by people and making wine is like cooking a dish. If different people make it, the result will always be different.
Alentejo wine is one of the best in Portugal. In the wine department, we’re very similar to the Douro region. Our wines have an attitude, a distinct brand, structure, presence, persistence, and identity. They are wines full of personality and to know them is like meeting someone with a robust presence, we never forget them.
Spirit of sharing
I’ve always lived in Alentejo, and I wouldn’t trade this place for anywhere else in the world. I don’t mind the bustle in the big cities, but only for short periods of time. I need quiet, the sounds of the countryside, the scents and the silence… And Alentejo has all that. To me, Alentejo is another world, another country even, because here we can breathe and have quality of life.
This is an area that still allows us to be in silence and in touch with nature, where you can recharge. To visitors, Évora and the nearby places have plenty to explore: the historic centre, a guided tour to Cartuxa, the megalithic tombs at Almendres… Those are all must-see places I recommend.
When I was little, I loved to sing, and I sang all the time in the fields -- my grandmother lived in a “monte” (a typical, isolated house in Alentejo) so the scents of the countryside were embedded in my memory. I also used to help her to bake bread with the dough she kneaded in big clay vessels. The minute we took the bread out of the oven, we’d spread butter on them!
I’m still a fan of Alentejo cuisine. I love garlic “açorda” (Alentejo soup) with a little bit of salted codfish, egg, and cottage cheese! And, just the other day, I was longing for beans with spinach and rice cooked in a clay pot over an open fire.
From our door, you can see two of the most iconic landmarks of Évora. The medieval cathedral, a 13th-century church where they say the flags of the Vasco da Gama fleet were blessed, and the Roman temple to the left.