A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about port wine

Puffing and Panting up the Hills of Porto

rain 18 °C
View Euro trip 2013 on travellinglise's travel map.

"Port strengthens while it gladdens as no other wine can do" - James Biancamano

Foodie moment

Tonight we headed out for a traditional Porto snack called Francesinha (translates as Little Frenchie), and is apparently the Portuguese version of the French croque-monsieur (ham and cheese toastie). It is made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiƧa, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and cooked in a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries. Initial reactions, yum! After about half... oh my god, my arteries may not survive this! Final decision - it would make great drunk food when you're craving fatty food but otherwise... really not worth the calorie intake!!!

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Cultural moment

We are not sure if it is out necessity or they just have a better grasp of the language, but the Portuguese speak incredible English! Every person in a restaurant, bus driver, receptionist or hostel worker.. great English and more than happy to speak it to you! They are also incredibly friendly and willing to help you.. We love the people of Portugal!

Wow moment

Porto is the official home of Port Wine, and similar to Champagne in France, you may only call your product 'Port' if it is grown and manufactured in the Porto area. The riverfront is home to dozens of Port houses which will show you around their cellars and let you sample their various ports. We went to 'Calem' house as it had the next English tour and learnt lots about Port (See 'What we learnt'), the cellar sells a 1950s port through to the affordable 'Old Friends' collection.

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The river front in Porto is UNESCO listed and you can see why... even through the misty rain, the brightly coloured, skinny shops and house were a sight to behold.... Be prepared for hills though!!

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What we learnt today

We took a tour of a traditional port wine house called Calem today, one of many in the area. On the tour, the very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide taught us about the traditional ways of making port. They have both white and red port in Porto, and the two types of red port are Tawny and Ruby. The difference is that the Tawny port is removed from the huge 30,000 litre barrels into smaller 550 litre barrels during the fermentation process. It then has the opportunity to come in contact with the air and wood of the barrel more so than the Ruby port which matures in the huge barrels. This gives the Tawny port a clearer golden colour and more woody flavor. We also learnt that the traditional way of transporting the grapes from the hotter areas of Portugal to the cellars was done via port boats. These are no longer in use because of damning of the river, but are now used as tour boats. The port of Porto has a much different flavor than of Australian port, more closer to wine or a spirit, where the Aussie stuff is much more sweet and thick.

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Posted by travellinglise 14:48 Archived in Portugal Tagged porto port_wine Comments (0)

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