Lisbon Sardine Festival 2018 – The Feast of St. Anthony in June said an update that hit my inbox a few days ago. No it’s not – it’s a religious event where the Lisboetas celebrate St. Antonio with parties in all Lisbon’s neighborhoods.
Already last week the first outdoor tents opened here in Graca – and last night when we walked to Chinatown through Mouraria restaurant there were colorful garlands tied up between all the houses, tents on all squares where the local sports clubs, Unions, scouts, groceries etc serve fast food from the grills that cover everything in the smoke from the sausage, bifanas, and sardines.
We just love this time of the year. It’s very colorful, crazy and very lively with happy people everywhere. But sardines? No way!
We are fish lovers. So to us it was strange that we didn’t like the sardines we forced ourselves to eat every year when we saw them on the St Antonio Grills.
From the first bites we knew that it was a mistake – the sour hick-ups that followed the first bite prepared us for the following days unpleasant after taste.
We were very sceptic when Catarina told us not to eat the sardines. But not only did she run the best Tasca in town – her husband comes from a family of fishermen and brought the fish Catarina served from her kitchen – so she should know.
We followed her advice.
A month later we got phone call: They are here… intuitively we knew what she mend and rushed to the restaurant where all our local friends already were sitting at the table waiting for the new sardines to get served.
Catarina was right. The fish she served had nothing to do with the bad-smelling, fat tasting ones we we’re used to eat at the festivals a month before. And at all the previous years festivals.
It was back in 2016 we met The Sardine God as I blogged. Since then we have never touch the sardines before the seasons starts at the end of July – beginning of August.
St Antonio is promoted as the festival of Sardines.
But that’s not true. Originally St. Antonio is a festival where singles meet other singles… or something like that (St Antonio is called the match maker).
You get sardines – but the real sardine festivals are much later.
But NO PANIC. Next to the sardines you will find Bifanas, pregos, chorizos and other local delicacies that goes fantastic with a Caneca (large beer) or an Imperial (Small beer) or a glass of vino verde.
And if you can’t resist the sardines – go ahead. Even the Portuguese do that. But just keep in mind that the ones you eat have nothing to do with the beauties you get served in August. And if you wake up with severe hangovers – then you know why 🙂
Have a fantastic Festival!!!