The Barroso region, located in the mountainous north of Portugal and near Galicia, is mainly located in the Municipality of Montalegre and is part of the territory delimited by the Peneda-Gerês National Park.
This region has a complex and unique ecosystem, marked by the historical influence of different peoples, namely, Celts, where the use of sustainable agricultural technologies reflects an extension of this occupation.
This agricultural system has unique characteristics and recently has been classified as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System by the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture. Agriculture is further developed in harmony with the environment, having agroecological interactions with grazing and silviculture.
Endemic animal genetic resources play a central role in these virtuous connections, as it’s the case of the native breed Barrosã and Maronesa, in the case of cattle, cabrito and cordeiro do Barroso, in the case of goats breed.
The maintenance of balance between the various components of this system is also favored by the traditional knowledge of family farmers. They have developed social systems based on strong community relations, expressed in typical activities of the region such as the “people’s ox”, rotational grazing sheep and goats between the shepherds and the “people’s oven”, which were essential to survive in a region where subsistence has always been difficult.
Even at the beginning of the 20th century, the poorest families went through long periods of hunger, an expression of social inequalities that changed with the democratization of the country.
Currently, the local food system is based on local products, with bread, potatoes, cabbage, vegetables and pulses standing out.
Food is largely made up with what is still produced locally, excepting wine and olive oil. However, the traditional and popular culinary of Barroso is nowadays heavily influenced by the smokestation and the agroecological cure of several sausages based on pork, practices that integrate the identity and food heritage of Portugal.
From agricultural communitarianism to the “pig revolution”, there is a giant step in the development path of what emerges as the most preserved food landscape in Portugal.