Friday, 11 November 2011

Portugal Calling!

Our most recent holiday was to the city of Oporto in Portugal. Classified as a UNESCO world heritage site, the city is built along the hillsides overlooking the mouth of the Douro river, an outstanding urban landscape with a 2,000-year history. This old city is so picturesque and is an artist's/ a photographer's delight. 

Old stone pathways and roads, snake through the city, carrying tourists and locals up and down its steep slopes.

The Duoro river that flows through the heart of the city shimmers with the daytime sun and the night time lights. An assortment of coloured houses built on the mountain slopes gives this town its unique landscape. We were lucky to have a  magnificent view of Oporto in all its glory, during our short stay at Hotel Bolsa in the centre of the town.

The best way to see the city is by foot. A guided bus tour takes tourists to the historic spots the city is proud and well known for.

A river cruise was a novel way to see the town, with bright clear skies and a refreshing cool wind, a lovely experience, heightened with onboard port wine :)

Ive always been curious about the Portugese culture and cuisine, our ancestors being Portugese, this trip was an eye- opener a fascinating discovery of our roots.

Some of Porto's classic must have dishes:
Tripe (Tripas à moda do Porto) or tripe with white beans.

Francesinha (meaning Little Frenchie or simply Frenchie in Portugese is a Portugese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguica, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with molten cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries.

Grilled Octopus: Succulent and tender Octopus, best eaten grilled. The Portugese are excellent with their seafood preparations. The best grilled Octopus we had was at Cometa and A Grade.

 Bacalhau: Dried salted cod preparation: It is said that there are more than 365 ways to cook cod, one for every day of the year. In Portugal the cod is almost always used dried and salted because the Portuguese fishing tradition in the North Atlantic developed before the invention of refrigeration.
These were moist and delicately spiced cod croquettes, very tasty at Antonio and Ida's family restaurant.  

Grilled squid- yummm

Pork brisket grilled: Meaty and flavourful at Antonio's and Ida's restaurant.

 Sweet Almond Pie

 Sardines Escebeche: Fried sardines marinated in olive oil and vinegar. Tried and loved the preparation at A Grade.

We were lucky to have tried all these specialities and they were lip smacking good.Most of the places we ate in were run by families who were very courteous and kind. It is a good idea  to learn a few basic Portugese words as English is not widely spoken.

Port Wine: Porto's port wine lodges opened their doors to visitors in the 1960s, and have since become the city's most sought-after attraction. They offer free guided tours and tastings, explaining the winemaking and storage process, as well as the origin and characteristics of the wine. 

Huge Barrels of wine maturing in Caves. Largest barrels storing upto 120,000 litres of wine.
 Vintage Ruby wines

 Tawny wines

 Baby on a self- guided tour of the winery...:)

Someone's feeling left out :(  during the wine tastings.....

To end our trip we visited Porto's old market where we were fascinated to see the most delightful  collection of spices, fruits and flowers, meats and cured sausages.

A visit to the local bakery also known as Confeiteria made our trip complete. I have never seen such a delightful collection of savoury and sweet treats under one roof. It was foodie's wonderland.

All in all a trip worth making, a place we would definetely love to return to.


anthony stemke said...

I enjoyed this photo "journey" very much, it was very interesting.
Thank You.

Carol Pereira said...

thanks anthony :)

Radhika said...

Simply superb. Thanks for sharing those lovely snaps and giving me the holiday feel and for satiating my taste buds as well.

Carol Pereira said...

Thankyou Radhika :)