It is true, Port runs in the streets, in Porto

Trip Start Mar 01, 2014
Trip End Apr 05, 2014

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Flag of Portugal  , Northern Portugal,
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Well we had a good time today, rain and all, took the shuttle down to the city and crossed to the other side...the other side where the hills you see are filled with caves, the South Bank...the roads run on top of the caves, and it is true, in Porto, Port runs in the streets, Tony and I had a few chuckles at this sight because of course being on our own and walking we took another wrong turn and Tony took me to the top of the city from the other side.....way over on the other side, at the top of the other side. Hey, why not go big.... "can you see where we want to go?" Jim and Donna, remember the words..."just one more block"....we saw the Port and followed our nose, back down the hill!

Now as my cousin Karen will say, Mr. Whatmore this is a better history lesson....

The first shipping of Port Wine was recorded in 1678, of course the Brits are involved, the Croft Family, John Croft a Yorkshire wine merchant was the prominent figure after he took care of his ancestors investments from the fifteenth century.  After the nineteenth century the Crofts returned to England, but emblazoned on every bottle and on every door way of every building is..."any time not spent drinking Port is a waste of time". The Croft Caves were the first.....

The House of Croft is the oldest started in the fifteenth century. All grapes come from the Douro Valley and no where else. From what they call "the diamond ring"  the grapes are harvested for these wonderful Ports. Tony and I have found something we both enjoy and feel worth researching and tasting. At home we do not get the variety they have here. White, Rose, and every colour or hue in between there is a different taste and aroma, it is fun to go to a tasting and it is fun to get a little serious and ask many questions. It is appreciated and you learn a lot. It is not like wine, but a lot like wine.

Considered a Wine, Port is one of the world's great classic wines and no meal, formal or informal is complete without it. We can understand this having experienced this in this region.  The wonderful thing is they have not changed the way they are making the Port, five percent of the grapes at Croft are foot stomped and to buy these wines, if they work as they should, come at a very high premium. They will be laid down, purchased now but to be drunk in 2020 to 2045. I could go on and on about the how, where and why these grapes come from where they do and why they are protected forever in history, preserved forever for future generations but I have to say, it is worth the visit, the research, and the story if you are interested in Port, the stories tell the tale.

I did mention to you a sandwich that was a specialty from this region. Tony and I stopped at a little place to try this delight. From observation we knew it was to be shared. OMG I am going to try and make this at home and when I get it right I will make it for you. It is crazy good, a little something you cannot eat everyday, but you have to have it once. Here goes.....

The Francesinha means little Frenchie in Portuguese. Originally from Porto, it is made with bread, wet cured ham, sausage, and steak or roast beef. It is covered with melted cheese and then a hot thick tomato and beer sauce is poured over it. The sauce is a little spicy. Invented in the 1960's by a returned emigrant from France, he tried to adapt the croque-Monsieur to Portuguese tastes. Other versions dated to the nineteenth century. It is often a ritual meal eaten once a week when friends get together before or after attending local football matches. It is served surrounded by a bed of chips,the famous sauce and complimented with a draught beer. Locals have their favourite restaurants arguing about the quality of the sauce and meats. Every restaurant has their secret sauce. Looks huge but it really isn't.

Tomorrow we leave for the Azores, I hope to be able to communicate from there but if not you will hear from me soon! Glad to hear spring looks like it may be coming!
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Karen on

I'm sending this lesson to John as he, like my dad, loves port! Wonderful read this morning.

Carrie on

Reminiscent of the port running down the streets in Paris in A Tale of Two Cities. It was a omen of all the blood that was to be spilled during the revolution.

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