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Friday, May 13, 2016

Culinary Souvenirs from Portugal

Wine-Knows is heading to the Port region of Portugal for this September’s harvest.   If you’re one of the lucky folks who have a space on this sold-out trip, here’s a sneak preview of items that you should consider bringing home for yourself or for foodie friends.  If you’re not joining us, some of these items can be procured on the Internet.

Piri Piri Sauce:
                                    African BBQ sauce from Portugal's colonial days
Angola was under Portuguese control from the 16th century until the 1970’s.  Piri piri (Swahili for pepper pepper)  is an Angolan version of Tabasco.  This African rendition, however, has citrus and onion along with a variety of herbs such as bay leaves, paprika, basil and oregano.  It is a classical condiment on many tables throughout Portugal.  The ultimate pairing is with the country’s popular rotisserie chicken.   

Flor De Sal:
                                       Just harvested from the top layer of the sea

"Flower of salt" is Portuguese sea salt.  With nearly 800 miles of coastline, the country offers several producers of this sea salt.  And, the prices are better than the French  fleur du sel.

Vista Alegre Porcelain:
                             Many of Europe's Michelin-star restaurants use Vista Alegre

One of the most exquisite producers of fine porcelain in Europe is located in Portugal.  For centuries Vista Alegre has been one of the top choices for royalty throughout Europe (Buckingham Palace often uses Vista Alegre for their heads of state dinners). Wine-Knows will be visiting the factory to observe the entire process and this means access to the factory’s store.

Vintage Port:
                                      Vintage Port is only made in extraordinary years

How can one go to Portugal without picking up a bottle (or two) of Port?  Vintage Port, however, is just not any Port.  It’s only produced by the top Port wineries in the best years.  Since it’s often sold in half bottles, it’s a perfect treasure to tuck away in your suitcase for the flight home.

White Port:
      Served to Wine-Knows on the 2011 trip to Porto

You may be scratching your head on this one as very few white Ports are exported. 
White Port, served over ice with tonic and a twist of lemon, makes for an extremely heavenly aperitif on a hot summer's day.  I plan to bring home every bottle I can fit in my checked luggage.

Viva Portugal!

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