Port wines of Portugal
well this could be in shopping too, but believe local custom is more fitting, is what and how Portugal is known still most in the wine world. It is ,also, my favorite apéritifs, wine and simple pleasures of life during the day.
The wine received its name, "port", in the later half of the 17th century from the seaport city of Porto at the mouth of the Douro River, where much of the product was brought to market or for export to other countries in Europe. The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, or appellation in 1756, making it the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world. Chianti (1716) and Tokaj (1730) have older demarcation but no regulation associated and thus, in terms of regulated demarcated regions, Porto is the oldest.
Some of the brands I like ,(of course, there are many others) are Sandeman,Ferreira,Taylor's, Crofts,Fonseca, Real Companhia Velha, Niepoort, Ramos Pinto, Warre,and Rozés.
The best comes from the Douro region and is comprised of three sub-regions that have different singularities and potentials: Baixo Corgo(around town of Peso da Régua) , Cima Corgo (at Pinhão ) and Douro Superior ( around the river andof Cachão da Valeira all the way to the Spanish border). . The red grape varieties use are Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional. And for the white grapes are Donzelinho Branco, Esgana-Cão, Folgasão, Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Rabigato and Viosinho.
You have Bianco( white) , Tawny ( reds that aged in barrels with different shades depending on their ageing and blended,7 yrs Colheitas), and Ruby(red Young wines, lots of fruit, dark and intense with red fruit flavors, here you have categories LBV (Late Bottled Vintage), Reserve, and Vintage. Garrafeira is an unusual and rare intermediate vintage dated style of port made from the grapes of a single harvest that combines the oxidative maturation of years in wood with further reductive maturation in large glass demijohns. Single quinta ports are also seen.
The Porto wine fest is over but stay tune for next year here
some ways to keep as I do in my cellar are
Port, like other wine, should be stored in a cool but not cold, dark location with a steady temperature (such as a cellar), laying the bottle on its side if the bottle has a cork. With the exception of white port, which can be served chilled, port should be served at between 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). Tawny port may also be served slightly cooler
Port wines that are unfiltered (such as vintage ports, crusted ports and some LBVs), form a sediment (or crust) in the bottle and require decanting. This process also allows the port to breathe.
Because it is a crucial mistake to disturb the sediment before decanting, which if disturbed may take days to resettle and thus render the bottle undrinkable for the intended event . The wine is opened without even the potential for disturbing the sediment inherent in using a corkscrew. I used a prong cork opening with pressure teeths that allows me to hold the bottle in place while pulling.
Once opened, port generally lasts longer than unfortified wine but is still best if consumed within a short period of time. Tawny, ruby and LBV ports may keep for several weeks once opened because they are aged longer in barrels these ports have already been exposed to some degree of oxidation. Vintage ports are best consumed within several days of opening.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
When in Portugal, this is a name you will come across many times.
In Lisbon, the Gulbenkian Museum, one of the world's great museums and one of Europe's unsung treasures ( Part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation ), is Northeast of Eduardo VII Park
but when considering "Established in 1956 as a Portuguese foundation for the whole of humanity," one wonder whether the bequest through the last will and testament of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian and that he was and is the "Lord five percent ", contributes to the oPEace of the world, taking into consideration of Portugal since Henry the Navicator in the C15 to today's role of Portugal, notably via it's diaspora?
"In the years 1913-14, negotiations between the world of oil and various financial interests, lead to the reorganization of the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) with the support of English, Turkish and German governments. Quotas are divided between Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now British Petroleum), Royal Dutch-Shell Group and German interests, and Calouste Gulbenkian agreed to reduce their share from 15% to 5%, in order to facilitate conclusion of negotiations."
"........Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian for having become known in the media related to the oil industry, as "Lord five percent ". from Gulbenkain FoundationRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Portuguese are proud of their independence from Spain, and may get offended if CONFUSED with Spanish.
However, Spanish people are well received in Portugal, and the attempts to communicate between both languages created a new concept: "Portunhol". That's what we call to the result of a Portuguese trying to speak Spanish.
Both languages seem alike when written, but they are very different when spoken, the Portuguese being one of the most difficult languages in the world, because of its use of closed vowels (Brazilian is an evolution easier to learn, because it uses less closed vowels).
Portuguese, generally, do understand Spanish, if spoken slowly, but it doesn't work the other way. That's where "Portunhol" may become useful.
There's nothing to be afraid of, concerning language, when coming to Portugal. Everywhere you will find someone speaking English (or tying to), French and Portunhol. Get a good dictionary, and enjoy your time, in a real welcoming country, with a welcoming people.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
If you plan to visit Portugal, or to deal with Portuguese, there´s a word that you should understand - "Desenrascanço" or in its verbal form "Desenrascar".
It has no translation in English, and browsing the net searching the best way to explain it, I found a silly text that, despite some nonsenses that shocked the few Portuguese that commented it, gives a close idea:
The site is called The 10 coolest foreign words English language needs and says:
Means: To pull a MacGyver.
This is the art of slapping together a solution to a problem at the last minute, with no advanced planning, and no resources. It's the coat hanger you use to fish your car keys out of the toilet, the emergency mustache you hastily construct out of pubic hair.
What's interesting about desenrascanço (literally "to disentangle" yourself out of a bad situation), the Portuguese word for these last-minute solutions, is what it says about their culture.
Where most of us were taught the Boy Scout slogan "be prepared," and are constantly hassled if we don't plan every little thing ahead, the Portuguese value just the opposite.
Coming up with frantic, last-minute improvisations that somehow work is considered one of the most valued skills there; they even teach it in universities, and in the armed forces (Ah Ah, Ah!). They believe this ability to slap together haphazard solutions has been key to their survival over the centuries. (Ah Ah, Ah!)
Don't laugh. At one time they managed to build an empire stretching from Brazil to the Philippines this way. (Ah, Ah, Ah! - my next visit: Portuguese Philipinnes)
Yes, don't laugh! I promise to stop laughing too.
It seems to have been written by one those Americans that we see in TV answering that Australia is the capital of Paris, but it gives an idea - "Desenrascanço" is the ability to go beyond planning if anything fails, and to find a solution.
So, if you travel near S. Martinho do Porto, and find a pillar in the middle of the road, at the exit of a tunnel, don't be surprised - it is not madness or incompetence . It is a monument to the national "Desenrascanço" by an architect that, probably, studied in one of those mentioned universities.
Ah, Ah... excuse-me, I promised to stop laughing!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
The chimneys in the Algarve.
In the Algarve you' ll surely notice the ornamental chimneys on the roof of the houses. There are not many information about these. It is said that the builders use to ask the customers how many days they wanted their chimneys building last. So that they could calculate the cost of the chimney they were about to make that was based on the time that this would take to build.
O GALO DE BARCELOS - Bird Symbol of Portugal
This is the unofficial symbol of Portugal and unfortunately, I was not able to photograph this colorful BIRD SYMBOL when my sister and I went to Portugal in 2009. And so, I vow to return and take a picture by this famous symbol when we get the chance to return to this beautiful country.
You will see this bird in ceramic form in tourist shops and also embroidered in towels, aprons, stamped on key chains, paper weights, and so forth. It is said that the bird "embodies the love of life displayed by the Portuguese people".
The legend appears to have come from the city of Barcelos just east of Braga and this is how it goes:
"At a banquet given by a rich landowner in Barcelos, a valuable piece of silver was stolen and one of guests was accused of the theft. He was tried by the court and was found guilty. In spite of the overwhelming evidence against him, he still protested his innocence. The magistrate granted the man a final chance to prove his case. Seeing a cock in a basket nearby he said, “If I am innocent, the cock will crow.” The cock crowed and the prisoner was allowed to go free. " (from Portugal Porto Mission webpage]
FADO HOUSES - soulful songs of Portugal
My sister and I went to Portugal in September 2009 and heard someone singing with some string instrument with so much passion in a restaurant - we did not know at the time that this was "Fado music", folk music of Portugal.
The English guitar was introduced into Portugal by the British community in Porto in the 19th century and they also use the six-stringed viola for the Fado songs. These are often very sad songs about love and pain, and it appears that the "soul of the Portuguese" is expressed through this musical art form.
I also saw so much passion for songs in another country, namely Argentina (where people were literally crying as a performer sang about economic and political struggles).
So, when in Portugal, be aware that these Fado Houses may be a nice venue for your dinner to better experience the spirit of Portugal.
PORTUGAL and FOOTBALL - "Força" song
Portugal is also a football country (it was introduced to the country in 1875) and football is like a religion for this country, with Lisbon having 3 football teams which hold a total of 109 titles (maybe more now). The Sporting Clube de Portugal (also known as Sporting), Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Commonly known as Benfica) and the C.F. Os Belenenses. The main domestic football competition is the Primeira Liga.
The first organized game in 1875 was in Camacha, Madeira, and then in October 1888 Guilherme Pinto Basto organized an exhibition. It has been said that his brothers Eduardo and Frederico brought the ball from England. And from then on, the game has appealed to the masses.
The Euro 2004 football games were held in Portugal and it was full of excitement. Portugese-Canadian singer Nelly Furtado sang the Official Tournament Theme "Força". And there was a lot of surprises during the games itself which I will not elaborate on (will just mention that France who were the defendong champions got eliminated by underdog Greece).
And from Wikipedia: "The Portugal national football team (Portuguese: Seleção Nacional de Futebol de Portugal) represents Portugal in association football and is controlled by the Portuguese Football Federation, the governing body for football in Portugal. Portugal's home ground is the Estádio Nacional in Oeiras."
Other sports: indoor football, handball, basketball and roller hockey.
Restaurant portions are enormous ...
Portions are usually more than enough for two people unless one of you is a really big eater. We were walking for hours each day and still generally ordered one meal to share. This seems to be perfectly acceptable though we usually ordered an extra soup or salad to go with it (and, of course, wine). A little extra tip is a nice touch to show appreciation. The Portuguese are exceeding generous and thoughtful ... it's contagious!Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Bolo rei is a sweet bread usually eaten around Christmas. It is round with a hole in the centre and covered with crystallized and dried fruit.
It is sold in several confectioneries and supermarkets in this country.Related to:
- Food and Dining
An important aspect of Portugal's cultural heritage, azulejos are painted blue-and-white tin-glazed ceramic tiles that can be seen all over the country. Its is common to see azulejos applied to the walls, floors, and even ceilings of churches, palaces, train stations, restaurants, public buildings, and private homes.
Azulejos are not uniquely Portuguese--they were imported from Spain to Portugal by the Moors--but the Portuguese perfected the design and quality. The term azulejo comes from the Arabic al-Zulayj, which means "polished stone." The Portuguese adopted the Moorish tradition of covering bare walls with the decorative tiles.
After the Portuguese captured the North African town of Ceuta in 1415, they acquired the technique of making azulejos. Prior to that time, they had to rely on imports from Spain.
Although most azulejos contain simple geometric designs, many depict historical events or scenes from everyday life. The azulejo pictured here depicts an early city scene, and is found on the outside of the Igreja Santa Luiza in the Alfama district of Lisbon.
A unique souvenir of Portugal, azulejos are sold almost everywhere, but true antique pieces are hard to find.
Carnival time in Lisbon
carnival is a festive grand celebration wherever, Lisboa is no exception. If you happenned to be there, its grand. yes busy even crowded but fun all around, recommended, see the official site in English
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Portugal produces a lot of cork. In the trendy shopping districts and tourist centers, you will find cork made into many products, like wallets, bags, book covers, tablets, etc. It is a renewable product which is waterproof and relatively durable.
But what most people don't know is how the cork is harvested. Particularly in the south of Portugal, lots of cork trees grow both in orchards and in any free spaces available.
The cork is harvested from the outer bark layer of the tree. When the cork is removed, the trunk of the tree is dark, almost black. As the bark grows back, its thickness increases and the color returns to the brown tree.
Harvested trees are painted with numbers indicating the year in which it was last harvested. About 10 years later, the cycle will be repeated.Related to:
- Road Trip
Ameixas d´Elvas - rich, candied plums
These Elvas plums, grown and preserved for centuries in the upper Alentejo is known the world over for their sweet and special richness. It is excellent to eat by itself, though it is often used as an accompaniment to cakes or eaten with cheese. There is a very good traditional Portuguese cake (again from the Alentejo region) called sericaia which calls for a slice of this plum on top.
These plums are harvested in summer and left in vats of sugarcane syrup. The fruits are then candied for several weeks, and then stored again in sweet syrup to be drained and dried when ready for packing.
These candied ameixas do not come cheap, a small box with 6 pieces easily cost around 7 euros, but they're worth it. Towards Christmas, deli shops and candy and pastry shops, and supermarkets start stocking up on the Ameixas d'Elvas. It's a great gift to give any time of the year, or just to bring home to indulge in one bite at a time!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Bacalhau - a national passion
Football and codfish wrestle for top position as a national passion in Portugal though perhaps it's more accurate to say both share top position. It goes a long way back, many centuries ago. Codfish is caught in the North Sea by hardy fishermen who would be gone for months, enduring the bitter cold and risking their lives. An entire industry and associated industries sprung up because of this - saltmaking, boatmaking, ropemaking, etc. Today, more sophisticated fishing boats though in much lesser number, and also because of the significantly less supply, do the job.
In the country's history, eating dried codfish played a significant role in religion, as it was prohibited by the Catholic Church to eat meat on certain days of the week and during Lent. Though it is fairly common to have it in regular meals, codfish is practically a must in the Christmas dinner. Easy to cook -- all you need really is good olive oil and herbs (but don't forget to put it in water for at least 24 hours to take away the salt), the flesh is smoothly textured, with a light taste and is filling. It goes wonderfully with potatoes, and with spinach. Although of course the Portuguese claim there are 1001 ways to do it!
Bacalhau is always present in all restaurant menus, so next time you're visiting, be sure to order a dish, and find out why eating it is a passion in this country. And may I recommend, grab a glass or better yet, a bottle of white wine to go with it to round up a perfect Portuguese meal.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Great weekend. Best hotel in Lisbon for gardens and outside pool 5* and so not cheap. Excellent...more
We stayed four nights of May 2013 in Castelo Santa Catarina, Porto. To my mind this is the excellent...more
Boavista, 9, 9760-557
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