It's often said that it is not possible to mix business with pleasure. Sandra and Sandro, the friendly couple, owner of OstrAveiro on Rua da Ria, Pyramids, have good reason to distrust the notion. Their history began fifteen years ago, with bivalve production in the Gafanha da Encarnação. The activity showed a continuous growth from its inception until it felt the bump of the economic crisis and, although this did not shake the foundations of the business, it made the couple consider the possibility of exploring other aspects of the area in which they worked.
As they prospected along the seafront, they found an old saline that had been abandoned, Marinha da Passagem, which was accompanied by a hillock in an advanced decrepitude. We could, in order to illustrate the situation, say that the opportunity makes the thief, but this was an opportunity that required a lot of work and dedication. In Sandra's words, what awaited them was only 'garbage and rubble'. Despite all these difficulties, the couple saw potential in the site. It was a good place for the production that they kept in the Gafanha da Encarnação and they decided to get necessary work done, which initially was basically 8 hectares of earthmoving and the restoration of the mentioned hillock. One day, as they strolled in the late afternoon to appreciate the work being done, they discovered that the endless ramifications of the Vouga river hide some unbelievable secrets. After storm tides, which left the water level at its absolute minimum, Sandra and Sandro were able to see the bow of a caravel! Of course they couldn’t simply just let it lie and through some research confirmed that it would be one of the many caravels that transported ceramics from the 16th century port of our city. The fact that they found in the Marinha da Passagem, shortly afterwards, not only ceramics, but also the volcanic stone that served as ballast for the ships, confirmed to them this authentic Aveiro’s treasure. Now this discovery showed them that the navy was not only a good place for nurseries, it also had a rich history to tell. They decided to create a new concept for their business that would allow the dissemination of Aveiro’s culture, as well as the process of fostering the various bivalves that they commercialized and the in-loco tasting of the same.
The works continued with increased enthusiasm, and the next step was to adapt the first tank (sludge removal and creation of footpaths).
New surprise! The combination of sludge drying under a torrid sun and the high concentration of salinity caused some unknown plants to sprout on the floor of the empty tank. Sandra, ever curious, decided to make use of the oldest scientific method known to men. She picked it up and tasted it! It was salty. To find out what it was, they consulted a biologist who indicated that it was salicornia of the strain ramosissima, a strain of the highest quality. For those who do not know the properties of salicornia, know that it is an excellent substitute for salt, presenting excellent anti-oxidant, anti-tumor and diuretic properties, as well as good amounts of magnesium, iron, vitamins AB and C and, finally, low sodium concentration. They were therefore met with their second treasure. The tank (which immediately became the salicornia tank), was still an excellent nesting site for birds, adding in this way another attraction for visitors to OstrAveiro. We leave only one warning: black-winged stilt are very protective of eggs! On the other hand, Sandra and Sandro always try to be as little intrusive as possible in their habitat and defend the preservation of the rich fauna of the navy.
The production itself also had good results. The Aveiro waters with their low temperature, low pollution and abundance of plankton / phytoplankton allow, for example, obtaining oysters in a year and a half instead of the usual three. The creation process is explained enthusiastically by Sandra, however, she goes beyond the theory, inviting visitors to the handling of baby oysters in the nursery, and their preparation ...
After satiating the mind, all that’s left is to fill the belly. And what snacks await visitors: bivalves, clams, cockles in bread, natural oysters or gratin oysters and feijoada of bivalves. For those who do not appreciate what comes from the sea, you can always bring something to eat. The couple finishes the animation with the spread of varied events, such as fado nights. Finally, after the meal, one can do the digestion giving some seagulls while breathing the healthy air of the navy. With all this animation it is not surprising that visitors stay at least three hours.
OstrAveiro has had a journey full of curiosities and good experiences. The couple joined the daughter and parents of Sandra, making this sanctuary a family home that welcomes you with open arms. The singular experience begins at the moment when one sets foot on the boat that takes us to the navy and affirms itself as a stimulus to the five senses, but please take heed, after lunches or dinners that are accompanied by good wines, also they commercialized in the house, the boat tends to wobble a bit on the way back.
This is how OstrAveiro presents itself: a perfect fusion of sky, land and water that will continue to delight the seaside of Aveiro with its presence. Come and discover it!