Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Wanderer's Hot List | 7 Things To Do This Summer

Summer is here and for many of you this is the time for take a break from work or school, to relax, to travel and to do some of the things that have been waiting for a while. This Hot List of mine was made to bring you some suggestions and is mostly based on the things I like. Check it for one or two ideas you feel it will relate to you and, above all, enjoy the brand new season that just arrived today.


You can finally stop worrying about work, you have a lot of time in your hands, the days are longer and you end up in a frenzy trying to check a long list of things you must do to have the perfect Summer?


Relax! If you noticed, there is no "must do" on this list. Actually is just a silly list of things you / I can do. If you want, if you like... My first suggestion: Stop and Relax. Think about what you like and what you want, and then make your plans. But with the flexibility to make it enjoyable, not a list of tasks to do.


There is something invigorating about being close to the sea (for me, at least!). Love to go to the beach all year around, but the long Summer days make it special. I don't like to stay on the sand just sun bathing and prefer to go to the beach early in the morning or late in the afternoon, until the sun sets. You can find me there, walking on the sand, bathing in the ocean (if the water is not ice cold!), photographing and reading.


If there is no beach near you, go to the local swimming pool or to an hotel. Many hotels in the city accept daily visitors to their pools for a fee. Although a pool is not the ocean, usually has many other amenities available and is a nice option for the hot Summer days.


I love picnics all year around, but Summer is perfect to take a basket loaded with treats to the country side or to the beach. A blanket and some pillows are the special touch you need for extra comfort and style. Either a large picnic with a group of friends or a romantic one, just made for two, this is one of my favs for the season.


Most of the times is not so much for the drink as it is for the good company of old friends. Arrange a get together with some friends, head to a bar by the sea or on a rooftop and ask for some drinks. Laughters and cocktails (or mocktails) go perfectly with Summer.


Photo by Hampus Alexander Photography

Take advantage of the good weather and the warm Summer nights and go to a open air concert or to the movies. I have the dearest childhood memories of an open air cinema, where the film was projected on a white sheet stretched in the street. This year in Lisbon you too can go to the movies under the stars, all provided by Ciné Society. To make this experience even better, you can have that drink while you watch the film!


Stay on the beach until night, discover the best spot to wait for sunset in your city or in the city your are visiting, go to a sunset party somewhere and enjoy that perfect moment of color and light. You'll have the guarantee of a total exclusive, for each day will be different from the other. Do it by yourself or in any other good company and see how amazing it is.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Food Chronicles | 10 Things to Eat & Drink in Lisbon

Portugal is a great place for food lovers and Lisbon is no exception. You can find several suggestions for nice places to eat in Lisbon right here o the blog, but you just have to walk around in the city and most probably you'll have a great food experience waiting for you. Of course that with the growing tourism, there can be some tourist traps waiting for you but, most probably you will find good food and drinks at a very pleasant price. On this post I'll be charing with you some of the things that you will not want to miss while visiting the city.


If you visit Lisbon in the Summer, make sure you have some grilled sardines. This time of the year, the fish is loaded with fat (the good kind of fat that you must have!) and flavor. Unfortunately it has also lots of fishbones! Make sure you eat your sardines with a fresh salad and maybe some boiled potatoes. My tip: place the sardine on top of a slice of bread that you can eat in the end.


First let me explain for those  reading that are not Portuguese, what is a "Prego" (nail). If we are talking about food, Prego is a sandwich in which the filling is a beef steak, often spiced with mustard. You can find a good Prego almost anywhere in the city, but one of my favorite is the one at Prego da Peixaria where the beef loin melts down in the mouth and the bread ("bolo do caco", a tradicional bread form Madeira island) is delicious.


In Portugal you can find some of the freshest and tastiest seafood you'll ever eat. Look out for a Marisqueira (a restaurant specialized on seafood) and ask for your favorite seafood. Some of my favs include  Clams (ask for Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato), razor clams (Lingueirão), Grilled Limpets (Lapas) and barnacles (Perceves).


Portuguese love Petiscos! And what are Petiscos, you may ask. Well, Petiscos are a sort of Tapas, small portions of tasty food just made to share with our friends. In some restaurants you can find them on the starters section of the menu, and other places are specialized on this kind of food. Ask for some drinks and different options of food to share. Enjoy it!


No matter what you're eating, if you love a nice glass of wine you must have some Portuguese wine. Red or white, fresh green wine (great with seafood!) or rosé, you'll find lots of great options at amazing prices. Drink it while you're in the country and take some bottles home to remember your Portuguese adventure.


Nothing like a nice glass of Sangria on a Summer afternoon to wash down some tasty Petiscos or a greasy grilled sardine! Either red (my favorite) or white, this drink screams Summer. It must have lots of fruit inside the jug and also some mint and cinnamon sticks. You can also go for the more posh version of it, made with red fruits and champagne. I'm a simple girl and I'll stick by my red wine Sangria anytime I can!


Ginjinha, or simply Ginja, is a liquor obtained from the maceration of tart cherry, with spirit, sugar and cinnamon. Tis is a very popular drink in Portugal, especially in Lisbon. Made with the finest spirit and with local fruits, with  either no preservatives or artificial colorings, the liquor has a beautiful ruby color and a sweet and fruity taste. It can be served pure or with a macerated cherry in the bottom of the glass, what is called a “Ginjinha com elas”, meaning with them (the cherries). In this last few years, it became common to serve the liquor in a small chocolate cup, so if you like chocolate this is the way to try it.


Portuguese cheese is also not to be missed and if you're in Lisbon I suggest a good cheese from Azeitão. This sheep milk cheese is a DOP product and its soft and tasty paste is amazing. You can have it with a fresh white wine from the Setúbal's Peninsula Wine Region or with a Moscatel the Setúbal. Trust me, you'll love it!


No matter the restaurant you will find a long list of desserts to choose from. Some more sophisticated, some more traditional, but you can't get more traditional than choosing an Arroz Doce (Portuguese rice pudding). With lots of cinnamon on top is one of the best ways to taste our love for a sweet way to end our meals.


You can find Pastéis de Nata in almost every coffee shop in Lisbon (and all over Portugal for that matter!), but the original Pastéis de Belém, with its secret recipe, can only be found in Belém. The recipe, first developed by the monks from the Jerónimos Monastery, was sold to the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém in 1837 and since became one of the most famous pastries in Portugal and known world wide as Portuguese Custard Tarts.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Lisbon Chronicles | Santos Populares ( June's Street Parties)

The month of June is a special time of the year in Portugal, with lots of street parties across the country to celebrate its most popular saints - St. Antony, St. John and St. Peter.

Lisbon holds this party mood all month, but the days that precede the 13th are the particularly festive. Eating grilled sardines and drinking sangria (and beer) in one of the many food stalls in the street is part of the party. Walking around the decorated streets of the old town neighborhoods - like Alfama and Bica - is part of the fun. Dancing to the sound of popular music is a must.

If you have a girlfriend or want to impress that special girl, buy her a manjerico. The perfumed plant is embellished with a paper flower and a flag with a small love poem. In the other hand, all the single ladies that want to get married, only have to buy a St. Antony figurine, take it home and display the good saint facing the door. Antony is a celebrated match maker and he'll guarantee that the first guy to cross your door will be your future husband. So, what can I say? Please handle the saint with care and don't open the door to any unpleasant guy!

June 12th in the evening the is a parade (Marchas de Lisboa) at Avenida da Liberdade, a contest where groups from each one of the city's neighborhoods participates with an original song, choreography and original wardrobe.

All that been said, if you're in Lisbon, enjoy a good crowd, lots of smoke and noise, overpriced grilled sardines and bottled sangria, please go ahead and  plunge into this great Lisbon tradition. All the above is truth, but you'll have a lot of fun and, if the saint fancy you,  risk yourself to get an unexpected husband.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Lisbon Chronicles | Largo do Carmo

Largo do Carmo is a lovely square in Chiado neighborhood, covered with café terraces and frequently animated with live music and street performers. If you are lucky to visit it during Spring, you may have the chance to find the jacaranda trees all covered with purple flowers, but the square is great all over the year and a must go on this part of Lisbon.

Surrounded by some historical buildings, one of the most impressive is Carmo Convent, built in the 14th century. The church ruins and Carmo Archaeological Museum are one of the main interest points on the square and one that I really recommend you to visit (you can know more about it here).

In front of the convent, there is the Chafariz do Carmo, built in the 18th century and supplied by the Águas Livres Aqueduct. On the right side of the convent you can find Quartel do Carmo. This barracks which belong to the Guarda nacional Republicana (the Republican National Guard), played a very important role in 1974's April Revolution. Largo do Carmo was, therefore, one of the main sceneries of the revolution, as the place where the existing government surrendered to the revolutionary military movement. To perpetuate this moment, there is an inscription on the floor of the square dedicated to Salgueiro Maia (one of the Captains that lead the revolution).

On the left side of the convent, you can find the old Valadares palace. This palace stands on the site where the first Portuguese university was founded, in the time of King D. Dinis, before being transferred to Coimbra.  Between the Carmo Convent and the Valadares Palace you can find the access to Santa Justa Elevator, which connects Largo do Carmo to Baixa Pombalina (Downtown), in particular to Rua do Ouro (you can know more about it here). You can also access Terraços do Carmo from there, and enjoy a great view of Lisbon while sipping a drink on one of the bars.

To get there you can take a taxi, go up, from downtown, in Santa Justa Elevator or take the subway, exiting at Baixa - Chiado Station.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Wine Chronicles | Wine Tasting at Fernão Pó Winery (Palmela)

The wine region of Setúbal's peninsula (Portugal) is close to Lisbon and presents great wines from well established producers, with variety of wine tourism activities. I've recently visited some wineries in Palmela area. Fernão Pó was one of them and today I'm bringing to you some more information on it (and on its wines).

Fernão Pó is a family winery, resulting from the joining of two families related to winemaking for generations. Since its founding in the '50s, the winery has grown keeping its roots in the local winemaking tradition. João, one of the owners, reminds the visitors that then, wine was inseparable from food and sold at the cellar door. Buyers stock up for the whole year and became friends.

Today, Fernão Pó Winery seeks to combine the best of tradition with modern technology, while strongly committed to social and environmental principles, such as adherence to the Wine in Moderation and the Business and Biodiversity programs, in addition to producing grapes with environmental certification.

The grape varieties cultivated on the estate were carefully chosen, in search of genuine profiled, complex gourmet wines. On the 150 acres of the family vineyards stand out 84 acres of Castelão, the flagship grape of the region. But also spicy Cabernet Sauvignon, which ripens perfectly here. And also Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Merlot, Tannat and Alicante Bouschet. White grape varieties include local Fernão Pires, Syria, Verdelho, Viozinho and Moscatel.

At Fernão Pó, you can schedule a guided visit to the winery and wine tasting. On my visit, we were invited to a tasting of 3 of their wines that were paired with Tibornas (a Portuguese traditional recipe resembling Bruschettas) and with crackers with the winery's special wine jams. The tasting started with a glass of  ASF White DOC Palmela (Viosinho), a Silver Medal at Mundus Vini 2015, followed by Fernão Pó Reserva Red (Merlot) and finished with ASF Red Doc Palmela (Castelão (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat), a gold medalist at Mundus Vini 2015. Fernão Pó Winery takes very seriously the strong bond between wine and gastronomy, and at the tasting you'll receive sound advice on pairing their wines with specific foods. In general I'm partial for white wine and my favorite was the fresh ASF White DOC Palmela.

Apart from the visits and wine tasting at the cellar, Fernão Pó holds a regular calendar of wine tourism activities all year long. You can find all the activities and events, with prices, in a brochure available at the winery website (find link bellow). Next month (July 4th) will be held a lunch on the vineyards with a typical Portuguese Sardinhada (Grilled Sardines). The program includes a guided visit to the vineyards and to the cellars, lunch including typical products from the region and a wine tasting oriented by the estate winemaker. Looks like a great opportunity to to taste some nice Portuguese food and have a glass (or two) of wine.

Fernão Pó Winery
CCI 2402 Fernando Pó
2965-545 Águas de Moura

Phone: +351 917 500 198