Herdade da Matinha Country House & Restaurant, Portugal
Herdade da Matinha, 7555-231 Cercal do Alentejo, Alentejo, Portugal
We are delighted to have the chance to represent Herdade de Matinha, a truly child-friendly destination in the heart of Cercal do Alentejo. Our independent review is coming just as soon as can but do read on, we have every faith that you'll have a fantastic time here given that it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy life "as simple as life is".
Our guests say that in summer everything seems intense and energizing and in winter everything is more calm to appreciate life slowly. The long conversations, the special dinners with friends and the cozy atmosphere around the fireplace are what makes this season very special.
A visitor who has since become a friend of Monica and Alfredo writes:
I write solely from the heart, having first stayed at mAtinha on my honeymoon in 2001. We went from being guests to friends overnight. That's what mAtinha does to you i suppose.
You will come across mAtinha in the coastal hinterlands of rural Alentejo, about 150 kms south of Portugal's capital, Lisboa. The Alentejo is different from say Provence, or Tuscany. Put simply, it is more rustic, more real; more relaxed.
This countryside getaway can be found in the mountain valleys of Cercal do Alentejo, approximately 10 kms from the sea, and is set in 120 hectacres of breathtaking nature. The buildings themsleves are restored shepherds cottages, barns and cattlesheds, all extended into 2 separate bulidings. These buildings are an original mixture of wood, stone and masonry. On most walls hang the canvasses painted by Alfredo, as much an artist as he is chef. These paintings help make H d M truly unique.
Mónica and Alfredo, who have 3 sons, live and run H d M . There are 2 sizeable country houses, lavishly and creatively decorated. Serenity and good vibes ooze. Sometimes, you go to sleep after a sumptuous dinner, and the only thing you can hear is the distant bleeting of lambs. Bliss.
Alfredo, artist and master chef (though he is too modest to admit it) along with Paulo Corte Real, a noted Portuguese food expert, put on weekend cooking workshops for beginners, wanna-bes and the well-seasoned. As food is at the heart of the H d M soul, you can learn to cook with the gods of great, simple, really tasty, homemade food. I can talk from experience. I am a cooking freak. There is a natural twist to cooking at Matinha; most of all the ingredients are local, fresh, mainly organically- grown produce.
Your children won´t have a moment without fun in Herdade da Matinha Guest House. Activities likes playing football, horse riding, playing in the swimming pool, riding bikes in the woods, surfing, amongst others, will totally fulfill their days. Our horses are used to walk quietly through are estate and surroundings. With the help of our instructors, your children will love to ride our horses in a completely safe way.
The surrounding 120 hectares of H d M is untarnished, Mediterrranean countryside. Stripped cork trees, with dates written on their exposed skins provide welcome shade for the shepherds and their dogs. Goat and sheep lazily chomp on wild herbs and vegetation. Kestrels and Bonelli Eagles, circle effortlessly in the blue skies overhead.
If you keep your eyes peeled whilst walkabout, you will sometimes come across bright green frogs in the grass as well as black and yellow-speckled salamanders.
Paths and dusty roads wind through the surrounding hillls, thick with pine, cork and strawberry tree groves. The sea, for the more adventurous trekker, is a gentle 2 hour walk westwards; it is worth it, just to see the majesty of the open sea and the sky at the end of the day which turns into a hazy purple/ pink colour.
We're going - see you there!