Thursday, 03 March 2016 15:59

Port house Taylor in Porto!

The port house Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman in Porto is one of the oldest port houses. It was founded in 1692 as a family company, now in existence for over three centuries and is still a family business. To this day Taylor's is led by the descendants of the Yeatman and Fladgate's.

Both families are since its founding partners. The company has never been sold, bought or taken over and they are rightly proud on that! Their goal is to make good port to sell. This company has been fully independent during all these years.

Taylor grows its grapes in two large vineyards in the Douro Valley, namely Quinta de Vargellas and Quinta de Terra Feita. Quinta de Vargellas seems to be one of the finest vineyards in the world and is 176 hectares. The vineyards are located a considerable distance from the port house itself which is located at the top of the bank of the Douro which runs through the centre of Porto.

Late September is harvest time and the grapes are placed special plastic boxes to counter the fermenting process as long as possible. During the day you pick the grapes and at night the pickers pressing a part of the grapes with bare feet. These grapes are the source of the best wines of Taylor's. It is impossible to press all the grapes, however Taylor has invested much time and money in equipment to mimic the effect of barefoot presses.

In the spring following the harvest, the wine is brought to the Port house on the Douro. The drums go as 60 kilometres downstream toward the cool cellars. The content of the barrels varies between 600 and 22,000 litres, and these are divided into three cellars.

Not only can you do a tour for a few Euros at Taylor but by every port houses. Upon entering, a movie is shown that you watch while sipping a white port. The tour closes it with a tasting. For lovers it is possible to buy in the shop port or port glasses.

Those who visit Porto, be sure to visit one of the port houses! An absolute must.

Published in Silver Coast Blog
Thursday, 03 March 2016 14:57

Foz do Arelho, pimped!

By coincidence we discovered 10 years ago the resort town of Foz do Arelho. Through the internet we came across the website of a Dutch broker who had his office in this village. In January 2005 we went for a week to Porto and Lisbon, and as well Foz do Arelho was on our list. So Sunday we drove from Lisbon to Foz and when we arrived we saw then this old and some neglected beach place.

But anno 2014 Foz is a fantastic nice seaside resort, both in summer and winter. The roads have improved and there is a new boulevard with plenty of parking places. Along the promenade you will find great beach bars where you can have a drink or eat lunch or dinner. Also outside the summer season it is a good place on the terraces. They lie in the shade overlooking the promenade and the beach. Who alights in the morning, slowly sees flooding the terraces, tourists and locals, as well as groups of cyclists and motorcyclists. We are a fan of this place and come here on nice days when we have time. Relax with a book and a glass of wine, we stay for a few hours easily.

The beach is wide and you will find next to beach visitors also (kite) surfers, kayakers and fishermen encounter. But for everyone there is space and is an ideal resort for families with small children. The local government spent money to open the passage to the sea as it was silted up. This had many implications for the underlying pond, such as excess water during heavy rainfall which business was partly flooded. Now they are working on a solution to permanently open the opening.

 

Published in Silver Coast Blog
Sunday, 01 November 2015 11:32

Restaurante Mãe d'Água

This restaurant is close to  Buddha Eden, It has a lovely atmosphere, good food and wine, and a friendly staff.

A real topper.

Published in Tip restaurants
Sunday, 14 June 2015 11:15

Ginja de Óbidos

Ginja, liqueur with ancient history

Óbidos is a major attraction in the Costa de Prata. The walled village and inside the castle have a medieval ambiance. With its typical whitewashed houses, almost all have blue, red or yellow decoration. The streets are very picturesque, and relatively cool in warm periods. From the city wall (round trip), you not only have a spectacular view of the old town, but also of the environment.

The history of Óbidos also appeals to the imagination: King Dom Dinis gave the castle to his wife Santa Isabel (queen of Portugal from 1286 to 1336) as a present. During reconstruction of the city after a major earthquake in 1755, the first foundations were found dating even 308 BC, a Celtic settlement.

The main street, that you enter when you enter through the main gate, is a very attractive street, with its beautiful blue wall tiles (azulejos). Many shops have all kinds of handmade and local products for sale. There are also many restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy typical Portuguese cuisine.

At various places you can enjoy a glass of Ginjinha (or simply Ginja). This liqueur made from sour cherries, is a typical drink that is very popular in and around Óbidos. A perfect place to drink it is the bar Ibn Errik Rex at the end of the main street, near the castle. The Ginja they serve is an old family recipe, and is only for sale at that place, in a beautifully designed bottle, perfect as a gift. The bar is beautifully decorated with an original mural (ask for the secret, 'o segredo da parede') and hundreds of small bottles on the ceiling. They serve thin chouriço (sausages) grilled on the table in an earthenware dish, accompanied by bread and cheese cubes. Host Antonio welcomes you with Portuguese hospitality.

Published in Wine and Liqueur
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:21

About Bacalhau, Port and Pasteis

Eating at- and from the sea

It will be no surprise that in the coastal areas, so also at the Costa de Prata, fish and shellfish dominate the menu. Don't forget to try some of the many different dishes with fresh grilled fish or seafood.

Ricedishes with seafood or fish are also an excellent choice. Bacalhau, which is salted and dried cod, is eaten in enormous amounts in Portugal. It is said that there are at least 365 different recipes for bacalhau, one for every day of the year.

Portuguese people really have a sweet tooth. So there's always room for a lovely sweet dessert, very often with ingredients like almonds, honey and egg yolks. Why not wash that down with a nice glass of Port or Madeira, a great combination.

For every dish there is a matching wine; wine is produced throughout the country. Port wine is certainly the most famous, but the wines from other Portuguese regions, such as Extremadura, Alentejo, and Dão, are highly commendable. And of course the locally produced olives, sausage and cheese taste are excellent companions.

The pasteis de nata, typical Portuguese pastries, are famous all over the world. The most famous are made in Belém in Lisbon. A stay in Portugal without at least once having coffee with a pastel de nata is actually not possible.

Published in Portuguese kitchen
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 19:19

Buddha Eden, Garden of Peace

Remarkable garden is place for reconciliation

The Buddha Eden Garden is an area of about 35 hectares designed and conceived by Comendador José Berardo in response to the destruction of the Giant Bamyan Buddhas, sculpted in the rocks of the valley of Bamyan in central Afghanistan and which had for centuries been a cultural and spiritual reference.

Comendador Berardo was profoundly shocked by the attitude of the Taliban Government, which intentionally destroyed these unique monuments of World Heritage, considered acts of cultural barbarism which attempted to erase from memory the art of the late Gandhara period.

In 2001, in response to this loss he initiated another of his dreams, the creation of an extensive oriental garden in honour of those colossal Buddhas.

It is intended that the Buddha Eden Garden is a place of reconciliation. Without any religious tendency, it opens its doors, to all people of all religion, ethnicity, nationality, sex, age, and socio-cultural background, inviting all to come together, to communicate and meditate, to rest and rediscover happiness. Hopefully people will follow a path contrary to the destruction of humankind and the dissemination of culture.

Published in Special museums