Can you put Portugal in a box? The Portuguese company My Own Portugal proves it can be done!
How does it work? Very simple: each month there’s a new box with a different theme. Inside the box you’ll find several Portuguese products, a postcard and a guide – all related to that month’s theme.
I got this box full of goodies dedicated to their September theme: Portuguese libraries. Inside the box there was a craft beer, a chocolate bar, a savory jam, biscuits, a notebook, a pencil, a guide to Portuguese libraries, a postcard and several discounts for bookshops. So, for this post I’ll suggest Portuguese writers to go with these products – a kind of food pairing, but with authors. 😉
Starting with the biscuits I’ll suggest the poems by Florbela Espanca, who lived between the late 19th century and early 20th century. Her poems aren’t what I would call “sweet”, but rather melancholy. Feeling like curling up with a book on a grey Autumn afternoon? Prepare you favourite cup of tea, grab some of these biscuits (shaped like letters, did you see that?) and lose yourself in Florbela Espanca’s poetry.
Moving on, we have my favourite Portuguese writer: Fernando Pessoa. I could have a whole blog dedicated to him and it probably wouldn’t be enough. Here we have a milk chocolate bar with a reproduction of a famous photo of him and a quote, which reads: “Because I’m the size of what I see and not the size of my height”. Fernando Pessoa was an incredibly prolific writer who had dozens of different personas, all of which with independent characters and types of writing. Several of his works are translated into English, so do get to read them if you can!
Next we have another prolific writer and a big name from 19th century Portuguese literature: Camilo Castelo Branco. This red pepper and chili savory jam bears the name of that which is, probably, his most famous work. Amor de Perdição is a tragic love story involving 3 people, two rival families and plenty of autobiographical details. If you’re into literature you might find it interesting that, although this work falls, mostly, into the Romanticism category, it already has a few characteristics from literary Realism.
Last but not least in our list of authors for this post we have a Nobel prize winner: José Saramago. He stirred a lot of strong feelings and opinions throughout his literary career – most people either love him or hate him. So, for a strong craft beer like this an equally strong writer is just the right match! Pictured here is my autographed copy from Saramago’s O Evangelho Segundo Jesus Cristo (The Gospel According to Jesus Christ).
In case you want to start your own book (or just write down a few thoughts) there’s also a cute little notebook. This pencil with multiplication tables is a classic item from the Portuguese school materials from decades ago (rarely used today, but I think I probably had at least one pencil like this – until my teacher found out, of course).