The Vila de Amêijoas is a food event practiced by populations whose daily life is linked to the sea, either because they have their main livelihood there, or by collecting its resources as a way of supplementing the meager income from other activities. Held at various coastal points in the Algarve, it is particularly prominent in the territory of Olhão, where the tradition, despite having been temporarily suspended, still remains.

Vila de Amêijoas celebrates and invokes God’s protection, a recipe that symbolizes the gathering of men around the food that the sea offers. In addition to the symbolic side of the feast, Manuel da Paz remembers above all the healthy competition between those who made the best Vila. The tradition was lost however. In 1997, in a coffee conversation between friends, the story of the recipe came up. Manuel da Paz drew on his childhood memories for flavor and technique, and returned to tradition.

This food practice begins with the shelling of the clams, a process that consists of cutting the hinge so that they do not open during cooking. Then, place the clams with the mouth down, on top of a plate or slab, around a stone, to which they lean, one by one, making circles from the inside out. On top, place pine needles or something very dry and fire on the side opposite the wind, so that the clams are cooked slowly. When the water drains to the ground they are cooked.


A stone is placed in the center of a plate or slab. The clams are arranged with the mouth facing downwards, on top of the plate and around the stone, to which the clams are placed, one by one, making concentric circles from the inside inside out. Place pine needles or other very dry vines on top and light the fire.

The mouth of the clam is always facing downwards (towards the plate), precisely so as not to dirty the clam when it opens with the heat.

The heat comes from above and not from below. When the roast is finished, the fire must be removed carefully. The clams are then watered with lemon which gives it a special flavor.

Algarve Imaterial. (2022). Vila de Amêijoas. Accessed on 17th February, 2022. URL:

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