The olive oil pressing room is now the restaurant. It retains its colours, the flagstones, the rafters, the olive oil presses, everything has been saved from abandonment in the last 20 years.
In this room is the Sem Fim, adjoining the Casa das Tulhas (olive bins). The Sem Fim is a machine, a large screw which transported the cleaned olives from the bins to a crusher. Here they were mashed and the resulting paste spread on the mouriscos (mats). Through sorcery and steam, they were pressed and from the other side the olive oil was decanted, draining into large vats of scalding water. This was later tasted as the first, the most virgin of all, with a piece of bread speared on a spit and toasted in the salamander. These salamanders also boiled the water and provided heat in winter. What was left of this process either went ‘to hell or the thief’, as there was always a spillage to take home.
With the slate tables, Gil’s paintings and lamps, the presses which preserve the memories of walks and travels and the coloured chairs, the space where the soul and scent of the olive oil still glimmers, previously cured and now marinates, has become a room of well- being and good food. The senses are celebrating, smelling the olive oil and listening to the music of the world and the countryside.
And it is the olive oil, the lord of the lagar, which is on the salt cod with garlic, in the migas of tomato and of spinach and of asparagus, on the Sem Fim salads, in the Alentejana soups, on the vegetables, on the lamb and on the bread. Flavours without end, which satisfy both eye and soul in the delicacy of each petisco (snack).
The glory of the puddings made by Gloria, the mousse, the rice pudding, the sweet migas, the ice cream with hot chocolate sauce, the convent sweets and all the rest.
To this industrial atmosphere are joined the ephemora of simple elements which were left here from another era. The journeys of winter enliven the spring, developing and satisfying the senses of whoever arrives here, and stays, and returns, with love, with family, friends, at the end of the day or to celebrate at night – Sem Fim is infinite. In the imagination of all of us is our wish to do better, because to be in the Alentejo is worth it.