Apolonia Supermarkets Algarve
Apolonia is an up-market supermarket, currently open in just two locations in the Algarve.
Apolonia really divides opinion amongst foodie expats. Portugal purists (or those who readers of Expats Portugal may call the “food police,”) argue that there is nothing remotely Portuguese about it and they / we (depending on my mood at the time) are correct. However, there are times, especially now we have been here a while, where cravings for certain hard-to-find foods become over-powering. At those times, Apolonia is a treat and a God-send.
Apolonia, with branches in Gale and Almancil, is something of a foodie paradise. Somewhere between Waitrose and Harvey Nichols food-hall, this is a haven to all things good to eat.
We visited as a bit of a treat to splash out a few things to celebrate our 11 year anniversary. Along with gourmet treats, Apolonia has imported items from all over the world, not just the UK. We spotted cooking sauces from South Africa, chocolate desserts from Switzerland and Old Amsterdam cheese (a favourite of ours) from The Netherlands.
Due to the import taxes, imported items are expensive, but not necessarily more-so than elsewhere in Portugal. We stocked up on a few things we can’t do without, such as curry pastes and jasmine rice for when we need a curry fix.
I even found some tarmosalata! I daren’t even say what I paid for this small jar of pink long-life fishy stuff, imported from Greece. Sadly it was rather disappointing, so once again, my next cod-roe treat will have to wait until I visit England.
The purists who find Apolonia too “English,” should note that there are good local products available too and the wine department makes little concession for imported wines, preferring to specialise in some special treats from the Alentejo. As, due to budgetary constraints, our trips to Apolonia are only occasional, we did head for the imported section and went for a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a cheeky Marlborough Pinot Noir – neither of which are something we have found good Portuguese equivalents for. Suggestions gladly received!
For those who like food this is a place of temptation, with long and inspiring deli and meat counters. I am pleased to say all the little bits we tried were of a good standard as well, especially the little marinated anchovies, which tasted of fish instead of vinegar and were sinfully moreish.
Whatever your views on this establishment that, let’s face it, is aimed at the Brits, there is definitely a place for it and there were as many Portuguese people shopping there as there were tourists. For an occasional treat, we will certainly be back.