Douro Valley Food and Wine Tours
Drink in all that Portugal's famous valley has to offer
Douro Valley is an idyllic countryside getaway in the north of Portugal. The region is perhaps most famous for the world class vineyards that have attracted foodies and outdoor enthusiasts for decades. Along with the valley’s dedication to wine, there are also plenty of sites to see and museums to explore. A visit to the Côa Valley Archaeological Park, a world heritage site that contains thousands of rock and cave drawings from the Palaeolithic Age, is highly recommended. But really foodies only come here for one reason: to drink in the gorgeous views alongside a bottle of the region’s finest Port. Douro Valley is home to stunning vineyards, wine cellars and countless restaurants, and is divided into three wine routes that can be explored by bike, car or on foot.
At the foot of this mountainous valley lies the Douro River; 897km of water connecting the city of Porto to the northern border of Spain. As a result of its high altitude, the wineries in Douro Valley have been producing unique blends since the 18th century. The weather in this part of Portugal combines wet winters with scorching hot summers, giving many of the grapes a distinct and sharp fruity flavour.
The Douro Valley is most renowned for its production of port wine, a sweet, fortified red often served with savoury entrees or desserts. It’s easily one of Portugal’s most popular exports. One of the most impressive port wines here is Tawny Port, a deep red blend aged in oak casks for up to 40 years, boasting a definitive nutty flavour and a strong kick.
There are plenty of variations to be found in the world of port. For something lighter, Douro Valley offers White Port, a sweeter port of the white variety. If you’re seeking something stronger, opt for a Ruby Reserve port that combines the finest port wines blended together to create a deep, intoxicatingly fruity mix.
Most places in the world famous for producing fine wines combine that passion for drinks with delicious, authentic cooking -Douro Valley is no different. The cuisine here is a heady mixture of alpine meats, fresh fish and locally sourced fruit and vegetables. Cabrito is a popular dish in the valley, consisting of roasted baby goat and a comforting blend of potatoes, onions, thyme, bay leaves and garlic.
For a taste of Portuguese tradition, try rajões, a dish found across the Douro Valley made up of cubes of marinated pork shoulder, with potatoes, cumin, bay leaves, garlic and white wine. Like much of the food here, half the tasting is in the smell, so prepare yourself for plenty of fragrant plates. The fat of the pork is used to ensure that the rajões are tender and that the potatoes are coated in a rich, meaty sauce.
For dessert, try cavacas - Portuguese pastries drizzled in icing sugar and lemon juice. They are a popular way to end a meal in the valley and many vineyards and wineries serve these to accompany a glass of port.
Take a trip to Douro Valley and you will immediately be embraced by the tantalising flavours of this rural Portuguese region. The famous local drink is served up alongside scenic views, charming villages and hillside chapels, for a foodie getaway that looks as good as it tastes.