Wine Tour and Lunch in the Douro Valley
Enjoy a day of adventure in the Douro Region
The city of Porto rests alongside the dramatic Rio Douro, and while it may be second in size to Portugal’s capital, it certainly holds its own as a spectacular foodie destination, combining romance and grandeur with charming streets exuding historical intrigue. Home to a world-famous wine and a whole host of eclectic flavours, culinary techniques and ingredients, Porto is the ideal place to sample the very best of Portuguese cuisine.
Food and drink plays an important role in Portuguese culture, and traditional delicacies in Porto, such as the iconic, sweet wine of Port, are mostly made from ingredients produced locally. Despite this, lasting influences have come from further afield, with former Portuguese colonies in Africa, India and the Far East having each sharing flavours and techniques which make the cuisine in Porto very different to that of its Spanish, French and Italian counterparts. Many herbs and spices, including pepper, saffron, ginger and coriander were introduced into Europe through Portugal and are still widely used today, creating a culinary identity which certainly stands out from the crowd.
Much of the cuisine to be found in Porto is of the fish variety, which is more than understandable for a city which sits on the meeting point of the famed River Douro and the Atlantic Ocean. The local take on the Portuguese staple of salted cod is Bacalhau à Gomes de Sà, which comes with olives, eggs and onions, while dishes featuring sardines, octopus and shellfish are also very popular. Porto’s palette isn’t entirely dominated by the sea though. Admittedly it isn’t to everybody’s taste, but delicious dishes and hearty stews with tripas, or tripe, have been popular here for many years, ever since war with Morocco forced the people of Porto to give away their livestock to provide food for soldiers, keeping only the intestines for themselves. The locals have been known as tripeiros, or tripe eaters, ever since! Luckily there are plenty of less daring options, includingleitão, the Portuguese take on suckling pig.
For those in search of the renowned local alcohol, Port Wine, this is the only place to be. Only grapes grown in the Douro valley are used to produce an authentic bottle, with a large proportion of the vineyards based in Nova de Gaia where the majority of Port wines are blended and aged. A maze of wineries dominate the steep hills opposite the city centre, with many offering tasting sessions, tours and plenty of opportunities to learn a little more about the famous drink that calls Porto home. Naturally, this has made Porto and the surrounding area hugely popular with wine connoisseurs and curious tourists alike.
All in all, the dazzling cuisine of Porto is as tasty as it is unique, with food and drink that will leave you surprised and reaching for more in equal measure. A far cry from what you might expect from its European neighbours, Portugal’s second city is guaranteed to defy your expectations and leave a lasting impression. It’s certainly ready for you, but the question is: Are you ready for Porto?