Traditional Gastronomy in the Mediterranean
Country: Portugal
Year: 2020
Release Date: 13 Jul 2020
Cancelation Postmarks
First Day Cover/Philatelic
Press Release
The Perfume of Citrus
When you think that moving pictures might one day be able to transmit odours straight through the screen, bear in mind that philately took that step more than a decade ago. This aromatic stamp issue brings us the citrusy, enveloping perfume of orange blossom.
Citrus can be traced far back into the history of humanity. Known accounts of the fruit point to Northeast India and Southwest China. Oranges, from among a large variety of citrus trees, were initially bitter and acidic, but over the centuries, the ancient Chinese forefathers tried to improve them. Around the Mediterranean, there were also diverse orange trees brought from Persia, which did not bear fruit but which were used for their leaves and flowers, in aromatic potions. While China, and later the Asian continent, are the birthplace of the multiple species of citrus that we know today, in their hundreds of varieties, Portugal is indelibly linked to the so-called “sweet orange” (Citrus sinensis). The fruit’s excellent acclimatisation to Portuguese soil made it hugely popular in Europe since the 16th century, and in the centuries that followed it came to rival the reputedly “bitter” orange from Seville.
The legacy of the Portuguese orange is an enduring one. The name Portugal is synonymous with the word for orange in far-flung places such as Iran (porthegal), Turkey (portakal), Romania (portocal), and Greece, where the name portokalia is certified through the PDO designation of the Greek orange Portokalia Maleme Chanion Kritis. The quality of Portuguese citrus has also been recognised since 1996, when the Mediterranean modus vivendi of the Algarve received PGI certification for the Citrinos do Algarve (Algarve Citrus Fruits), which also includes clementines, tangerines, grapefruit and lemons. And it is in regional Algarve cookery that we find a recipe that blends the region’s history with the fruit. Long ago, somewhere between the 8th and 12th centuries, people almost certainly started making roz bel hlib (rice pudding) and mazaher (orange blossom water). These two ancestral elements of Maghrebi culture are now found in recipes from Brazil to the Middle East. In Portugal, they are still used in a peculiar convent-style recipe called Arroz doce à Estoiense, a sweet rice pudding from Estoi, in the Faro area. Orange blossom liqueur is recorded in an old English recipe for orange blossom brandy from 1727, a time when Portugal and France were big exporters of orange blossom water.
The citrus perfume is embedded in the Portuguese soul, something that cannot be dissociated from the fact that UNESCO recognised Portugal (in 2013) as one of the heirs of the Mediterranean for its anthropological, sociological, gastronomic and nutritional heritage. The Mediterranean Diet doubtless has in the Algarve a symbol of this heritage that can be felt, smelt... and savoured!
Fortunato da Câmara
 Food critic of the Expresso newspaper
Technical Data
Issue - 2020 / 07 / 10
N20g - 100 000
E20g - 100 000
Folk Design
N20g Arroz Doce à Estoiense
E20g Licor de flor de laranjeira
Photos: Mário Cerdeira
Preparation: Chef Paulo Mendonça
Kennis Translations
Fortunato da Câmara
FSC 110g/m2
Stamps: 40 x 30,6 mm
12 1/4 x 12 e Cruz de Cristo / and Cross of Christ
Printing - offset
Printer - Cartor
Sheets - With 50 copies
Sobrescrito de 1.º dia / FDC
C6 – €0,56
These stamps were printed incorporating an orange blossom aroma into the production process that will remain active for a long time.