Bragança – Bísaro

On vacations at Trás-os-Montes this past August, we made a mandatory stop at Gimonde, a village near the Natural Park of Montesinho, known for its good gastronomy, excellent bread and, of course, the Bísaro pork.

And it was precisely this animal with origin in the region that took us to the facilities of BísaroSalsicharia Tradicional, a family company (from 1935) that has been, for the last few years, enhancing the breed and the so desired sausages of the region.


With Alexandrina and Alberto Fernandes in charge of the visit, the 3rd generation of the family to embrace the project with passion, we got to know the new facilities of the brand, a factory well incorporated with the rural area it is inserted in, besides, if it weren’t for the giant billboard outside it would be impossible to identify the company from the exterior.

 The traditional process of salting the Jámon (Cured Ham)

On the inside the entire picture changes, with modern facilities, the latest technology and equipment, allowing the company to monitor the entire process of the meat’s transformation, from the slaughter to the packaging.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking that with these facilities the interest is the massive production for supermarkets, on the contrary, these new conditions assure that all the hygiene and security measures are met, but also assure that the traditional recipes are preserved and even enhanced, as observed, for example, in their products with premium seal of the brand with basis on Bísaro pigs, raised outdoors in the field and fed with chestnuts.

 Salpicão Vinhais IGP during the curing process

During our visit we got to know more about the production process of the sausages and smoked goods typical from Trás-os-Montes, from the salting of the jámons to the ingredients added to the pork in order to create alheiras and salpicões, and the different curing types. A unique learning opportunity for those who remember nostalgically of the homemade smoked goods made at their grandparents and hanged on the fireplace!

But it is impossible to talk about Jámon, sausages and even about Bísaro pork without seeing how they´re raised, we went to Quinta das Covas, one of the two farms of the family where the animals are raised.

If we were already impressed with the factory, further more we stayed when we saw the way these beautiful pigs are raised.

An idyllic landscape serves as background to endless square meters of land where the animals are raised in the open, divided by ages and without mixing males and females, the nourishment is taken care of by nature, with the company producing cereals, beetroots and cabbages that serve as food to the pig before its final development stage when they are fed with chestnuts.

The Bísaro is a peculiar animal, being one of the three Portuguese breeds of pigs; it is famous for its big size, its drooping ears that sometimes even cover their eyes, and its long and tall legs.

On its turn, the meat presents less fat than other breeds, resulting in less bacon and more pork belly, which unique flavor of the excellent relation between muscle and fat is mainly due to the varied feeding they receive during the course of their growth.

Also the Pigs are what they eat!


We also visited the maternity where dozens of breeders raise the piglets during the first stage of their lives. To our delight one of the females went into labor while we were there, giving birth to a series of little piglets that quickly get up searching for momma’s milk.

A long delivery day that could easily go up to 17 pig pups.

Continuing our visit to Quinta das Covas, besides breeding animals, the space also serves to other family businesses, namely the Tourism, through A.Montesinho, providing nice rural tourism houses, in a perfect combo with the environment.

Pool, bike and trekking are some of the available activities to those wishing to enjoy a nice connection with nature.


With the lunch hour approaching, we return to the starting point, Gimonde, for a feast in the oldest business of the family, the restaurant, a space where once lived a tavern and that nowadays houses the famous restaurant D. Roberto.

Restaurant D.Roberto

D. Roberto is a typical restaurant from Trás-os-Montes, with highlight, of course, to the Bísaro pork and its sausages – with special emphasis on Butelo with the shells/chasubles, the baby lamb of the region, the montesinho goatling and the game, of course.

The restaurant respects the design of the antique houses of the region, a combination of stone and wood with the inevitable fireplace giving it a cozier touch. In terms of decoration it is assumed the history of the space with the display of “old” bottles of great national wines that tell its years as well as D. Roberto’s, and the great Bísaro Jámon that could also decorate my living room.

At the table we are presented with the jewel of the house, the cured meats! A dish with scrag, loin, salpicão (a type of smoked pork sausage) and paleta that are worth by themselves, but are even better when accompanied with the excellent bread of Gimonde. Also surprising the presented quality of the roasted alheira (chicken, bread and pork sausage) and the chouriça (similar to chorizo).

Following a Trilogy of Bísaro Pork – spareribs, tenderloin and “secretos” (a piece of meat that “hides” under the pork belly). Perfectly grilled meats, with highlight to the tenderloin due to its unusual succulence, and the “secretos” for an outstanding flavor, with great, and in the right amount, fat. Very good!

Trilogy of Bísaro Pork

The Bísaro pork was followed by the game, more precisely the Wild boar, increasingly rooted in the region. At D. Roberto, the boar is presented in rice, one of the few ways I hadn’t tasted it yet. A soupy rice with basis on a succulent boar, previously stewed. Spicy enough and delicious! A winter dish that fully satisfied us in the summer, as almost all the cuisine from Trás-os-Montes.

Boar Rice

To end, a nice pudding, the typical sweet corns (let’s say it could be a fusion between a custard milk and rice pudding) and the amazing homemade jams (plum and peach) that have always been one of D. Roberto’s strengths.

The desserts

Accompanying our meal, a Mouchão from 2001 in excellent shape. A great wine from Alentejo harmonizing a beautiful Trás-os-Montes meal.

D.Roberto is one of the most dignified representatives of the region’s cuisine, with the highest quality raw material allied to hands that learned with the older generations, keeping the flame of a tradition that quickly and easily could be lost.

As to A. Montesinho, it also has, in the heart of the Village of Gimonde, rooms and houses to those who wish to know the wonders of the Northeast Transmontano, from the Casa da Mestra to Casa do Bísaro, all of them equipped and decorated to meet the most stringent criteria.

And so we say goodbye to Bragança and Gimonde, liking even more a brand that always assured us unique quality, positioning the Bísaro pork and its Jámon at the best level of the Iberian Peninsula. We left wishing to come back, with the memories of the flavor and respect for the genuine people that hold to the family heritage and elevated it to rare levels.

See you soon!

A. Montesinho
D. Roberto
Rua Coronel Álvaro Cepeda, Nº1 – Gimonde – Bragança
(+351) 273 302 510

Versão Portuguesa

We were at Bísaro‘s facilities and at restaurant D. Roberto invited by A.Montesinho, whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

Text: João Oliveira | Photos: Flavors & Senses

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