Quinta do Chocalhinho has a very special meaning to me. I was raised here by my grandfather until I was seven. After more than 40 years, that emotional and family connection remained untouched, and it’s what made me return to renovate the farm. We realised we had to instil new life in this place and we decided to open the doors to Quinta do Chocalhinho and share it with everyone.
When we opened in 2008, we wrote this: “An agritourism business can be a lot of things. It's a good thing most of the times. But it can also be, besides a space for wellbeing, an exercise in memory and gratitude like this very old Quinta do Chocalhinho is, bought by my grandfather Luís Mendonça Freitas in 1942, an old railway worker and fisherman, who worked the farm for as long as he physically existed.” Those words are our manifesto.
We decided to maintain the farm’s original design, and we’ve now had five generations of this family working here. The farm honours all memories, the freedom, tranquillity, and peace I felt when I lived here. That feeling of being in the heart of the mountain, in the middle of Nature, but at home and with family. We like to believe that our guests can feel the same here.
I’ve met two ladies who were born here. One of them in 1938, in one of the rooms of the house, and another one who wrote a poem about her life before my grandfather arrived and went something like this: “I was born in Quinta do Chocalhinho / full of trees and flowers / it was visited by nobles / intellectuals and doctors.”
Our story and mission
Life led me to other places, and I left Alentejo when I was seven. As a kid, I went to the Azores, and I met Margarida later in Coimbra, where we both studied. I went to Timor, and we also lived in Macau for 15 years. But in 2006 I returned to recover the farm, and we opened for business two years later.
I have a lot of memories. My grandfather looked over the farm after he retired. Nowadays, the place is close to what it was then, but of course, things were different at the time. Daily routines were different, very busy, linked to the fields and farming. The first memory that comes to mind is the smell of bread. Each Thursday, in that oven that fits almost 30 large loaves, Luzia, one of my grandfather’s employees, baked bread.
The most striking feeling I have was this idea of freedom that I felt here and that we share today.
I remember looking at these seemingly unreachable hills as a kid, thinking they reminded me of camel humps and seeing the village couples coming here for strolls on Sunday. I remember the donkey I used to ride, and my grandfather’s horse and buggy. I remember peeling corn by the fireplace and how my grandfather used to sit on that chair every day by the stairs.
Being here means having a great responsibility. I believe we’ve been in the role of guardians for a while, not just for how fond we are of this place but for how we honoured it. We’re the guardians of Quinta do Chocalhinho, we try to give back all that this place has given us and we do the same with our guests.
My grandfather came to Quinta do Chocalhinho in 1942. I have so many happy memories of this place that, in 2006, I decided to honour his work by opening the farm doors to the world. Here we share the history of my family and of this place that is an open invitation to resting amidst Nature.
History that continues
It’s a mountainous scenery here, but we’re also very close to the city of Odemira, the town of Vila Nova de Milfontes, the beautiful river Mira, and the best Alentejo beaches.
Almograve beach is one of the prettiest of Costa Alentejana because of the dark colour of its schist layers and the curves of its slopes. The landscape there is dramatic and unique, and it’s more than a simple beach, it’s a must-see site. Then we have Praia da Franquia and Praia das Furnas in Milfontes and, very close by, Zambujeira do Mar and its almost secret beaches.
All these factors make the location of the farm an extraordinary place.
I remember riding in the buggy with my grandfather to Odemira. It’s a bustling town and with a different energy. There’s always something happening and exciting businesses linked to Nature, the environment, food, and sports. People are warm and welcoming.
There’s a historic trail that’s part of Rota Vicentina that is about 2 km from the farm. In the farm, we also have two hiking trails through mountains and valleys that guests seem to enjoy. We’re surrounded by the woods with a vibrant and visually impacting ecosystem, which is a privilege for us.
São Luís village, in Odemira county, 16 km from Quinta do Chocalhinho, is one of the most famous villages in the area and worth a visit. In addition to strolling the narrow and whitewashed streets, there you can visit the fully functional Lage mill and the main church.