Many years ago, during the times when the Moors still inhabited Algarve (al-Gharb as it was known in those days), there was a King who fell in love with a Nordic Princess (Gilda). This king conquered her father’s lands and her heart and brought her to Al-Gharb so that they would be married. During their marriage, this King noticed how deeply saddened his princess looked. He called upon many physicians to try to find a cure for what ailed her. Finally one of them recognized she simply missed the snow-covered lands of her home. The King ordered that many almond trees should be planted in the lands surrounding his castle, so that when they flowered in the Spring, Gilda could see the vast white covered lands and be reminded of the snow in her homeland. Gilda woke up one morning to the beautiful flowering almond trees and recovered her happiness.
Today we can still experience the beauty of the almond trees and their fruit, the almond, is used in traditional sweets and liqueurs of the region. Some of these regional sweets are made with almond paste, shaped and colored to resemble fruits. Amarguinha is a digestive liqueur made from almonds that is a perfect combination to an expresso coffee, after meals.