The Feira do Queijo do Alentejo has been held annually on the last weekend of February since 2002 at the Parque de Feiras e Exposições de Serpa (Fair and Exhibition Park of Serpa), proving its prominence in the national panorama of the initiatives that promote quality agri-food and certified products and among which the Serpa cheese stands out. This cheese is a true image of the region that gives it its name and is one of the best products produced in the region.
With the main objective of promoting this excellent product and underpinning the strategy of the city council in the framework of the promotion and valorisation of endogenous resources as decisive factors for sustainable development, this event is well-established and each year sets out new attraction factors, reaffirming its position in its economic, social, cultural and tourist context.
More than one hundred exhibitors are present at the Fair, including producers and other entities. In addition to cheese, the main attraction, other regional products are also on display such as sausages, olive oil, wine, honey and cheese curd, along with a varied program of cultural and entertainment activities. Discover Cante Alentejano, UNESCO’s World Heritage since 2014, in a lively demonstration of the strength of this cultural expression and local identity.
The activities relating to agriculture and pastoralism also have a strong presence, particularly the cheese manufacturing workshops, the sheep exhibition, the shearing demonstrations or the sheep parade on the streets of the city of Serpa. Also included in the Fair is the competition “The Best Cheese of the Alentejo Cheese Fair”.
The local dishes and snacks are one of the great attraction points of this event. The offer available at the various tasquinhas (Portuguese tapas houses) is very diversified. It is also worth mentioning the innovation and experimentation characteristics of the products made with cheese in the workshops that are delivered during the Fair. To whet the appetite, the Gastronomic Week of Cheese is held annually some fifteen days before the Fair starts, with several restaurants of the region presenting menus in which cheese is largely featured and which serves as promotion of the city of Serpa, its heritage and its gastronomy.
The Feira do Queijo do Alentejo is organised by Serpa City Council and the promoting Commission of which the following entities form part: Associação de Agricultores do Concelho de Serpa (Serpa Farmers’ Association), Rota do Guadiana – Associação de Desenvolvimento Integrado (Rota do Guadiana – Integrated Development Association), Escola Profissional de Desenvolvimento Rural de Serpa (Serpa’s Rural Development Professional School), Friserpa and ACOS – Associação de Agricultores do Sul e da Escola Superior Agrária do Instituto Politécnico de Beja (Farmers Association of the South and of the Agricultural Institute of the Polytechnic Institute of Beja).
*N.T. or tascas – Portuguese tapas house