Travel #3: Porto (Part 3)

Hello there!

I am back today with the best part of the trip which is…. What to drink!

Regarding what to drink when in Porto there is an easy answer that is mandatory to follow, that is Port Wine. This type of wine began to be produced back on the 17th century and it is a fortified wine produced only in the Douro Valley. Despite being typically a red wine, you can also have white port wine which is also marvelous. It has a sweet taste and is excellent to try as a dessert drink.

Port Wine is produced from grapes collected from Douro Valley to which is added aguardente (other portuguese drink) to stop the fermentation process. The wine is stored in barrels inside wine cellars for as long as the producer wants to, but usually the older wine is better.

When in Porto I would definitely recommend you to visit some wine cellars (I will talk about it later) where you can learn more about the production and history of this wine and also try some Port Wine styles.

Although trying a single Port Wine is amazing, when I was in Porto I had to try something called “Porto Tónico” which is something like a gin only with tonic water but instead of gin they use Port Wine. It’s a refreshing and easy going drink where you can taste white Port Wine the best way.

I could tell you some bars you should go to but I won’t do so, instead I tell you to go to a place called Paris Gallery which is really close to Clérigos Tower and University of Porto. In here you will find some of Porto nightlife with excellent bares where you can start by trying a cocktail, taking a beer and end with a great wine bottle in front of you.

Obviously, besides trying Port Wine you should try some of the regular wines produced in the Douro Valley such as Quinta de La Rosa, Barca Velha and Porca de Murça. I guarantee you that you’re going to be amazed with the quality of Portuguese wines.

See you soon,

XOXO,

S.

Travel #2: Porto (Part 2)

Hi guys!

I know it has been some time since I published Part 1, but I never thought it could be so hard to write about food and wine.

If you are like me you really value food and most of all, you value and appreciate the typical food of the places you go. If you go Porto, a city in the north of Portugal, don’t expect less than a full plate and great food (obviously, the full plate doesn’t happen in those gourmet restaurants that make me sad with the small amount of food geometrically centered in my plate). So, what are the dishes that you shouldn’t skip? Here is my list:

  • Francesinha 

Francesinha_especialAlthough I do not appreciate this specific dish, almost everyone I know is just crazy about it. It’s a sandwich mix of several types of meat like sausage, fresh sausage, ham, cold meats and beef steak. All of this is fully covered with cheese and then it’s guarnished with beer, tomato sauce and chili. It’s always served with fried chips and in some places with a fried egg.

  • Tripas à moda do Porto

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So this one a very tradicional portuguese recipe which some say that goes back to the Age of Discovery when Portugal started sailing the sea and discovering the world. Basically, the inhabitants of Porto were left only with the tripe of the animals to eat, so they invented this dish. It is a mix of meat, tripe, white beans, some vegetables and ‘enchidos’, like chorizo and morcela. For me everything that comes with enchidos aside is just awesome and if you never ever tried one portuguese morcela or chorizo you don’t know what you’re missing in life! Just by curiosity, due to this dish Porto people are usually called ‘Tripeiros’.

  • Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá

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Oh my oh my.. Codfish is the portuguese wonder! We have more than 100 different dishes made out of codfish and they are all so amaziing. In Portugal we usually use salted and dried codfish to our recipes and this one is no exception. The ingredients are, besides cod, onions, garlic, eggs, olives, olive oil and boiled potatoes. This goes to the oven and just comes out like one of the greatest dishes I ever tasted. Get a recipe here and try it by yourself.

  • Caldo Verde

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Caldo Verde is soup, but not any soup because… it has chorizo! Just kidding, it’s a really good soup with lots of tradition. The soup base is just composed by potatoes, onions, water and some seasonings. To this we add curly kale cuted in really lean stripes (caldo verde shape) and chorizo. A simple soup but obviously delicious.

Next post will be obviously about the Porto wine and Douro wine and what type of drinks you should try. Stay tuned!

XOXO,

S.

Travel #2: Porto (Part 1)

Hello there!

I usually go on a travel at least 2 times a year and usually it happens in September and in February. Last year, I decided to travel with my best friend to Porto for a 5 days getaway without boyfriend (for those who are pitting him, he went to Amsterdam with his friends, so his fine!).

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Porto in a cloudy day seen from D. Luís Bridge

Why Porto? It’s a beautiful city with so much nice people! It’s the kind of city where you can enjoy some historical monuments and buildings, but also where you can eat well and drink even better! Anyway, I’m going to give you five reasons that made me visit the city and you may like and agree with at least 3 of them:

  1. I live in Portugal so it just takes 40 minutes by plane and 2 hours by train to get there;
  2. Amazing food;
  3. Original and the greatest Port Wine (everywhere);
  4. City’s history;
  5. Cheap, like everything is cheap.

Here, you can also enjoy Douro River margins and visit some Port Wine Cellars or even the vineyards. You are just a leap away from some historical and beautiful places.

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Vineyards in the Douro Valley – classified as a World Heritage by UNESCO

With that said, now let’s start planning your trip to Porto? Awesome!

How do you get there?

  • Plane
    • Porto has an airport which is Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport. The airport is located near the city and you can get there to the city center and the other way around using public transportation. (check more info here);
  • Train
    • Porto is one of the biggest cities in the north of the country so it has Campanhã Train Station where you can get trains that establish international railway connections;
  • Bus
  • Car
    • If you enjoy road trips, you can get to the city by car. If so just enjoy all the motorways that were built around Porto and the excellent road connections.

Where to stay?

Where to stay in Porto it’s easy to answer. Nowadays you have so many options that you just have to choose based on your budget. I will just share with you some options:

  • Hotel
    • In Porto you have great hotels, some cheaper and some expensive but you can always count with a very professional service. You can either choose for a Bed & Breakfast, a Hostel or even a 5-stars hotel. On this matter I advise to search on TripAdvisor and this Telegraph article what are the best options for your pocket
  • House rental
    • Usually when I go on vacations I just go for a house rental. I always do some math and I find it cheaper to prepare home meals and have a full house to myself than just rent a hotel room and to pay for meals everyday on restaurants. I always use AirBnb website to search for the house that suits me best and the one I believe to have a fair price.

After this, I promise to return briefly to let you know where to go, where to eat and what to drink! Don’t miss the second part…

XOXO,

S.