Eternal beauty in the heart Alentejo

One of the pretty places in Portugal.

Salt of Portugal

Composit São Lourenço

We hope the gods of the sea will forgive us, but São Lourenço do Barrocal made us forget the ocean and its waves. We were dazzled by the exuberant fields covered with white daffodils, surrounded by the simple elegance of the old farm buildings.

São Lourenço has been in the family of its current owner, José António Uva, since the 19th century. It once employed 50 families who lived and worked on the farm. The estate was occupied in 1975, the year in which José António was born, as part of the wave of expropriations that followed the 1974 revolution. After the property was returned to the Uva family in 1984, the abandoned fields were replanted and the farm was brought back to life. But the buildings that once served as cellars and accommodation for the workers remained in ruins.

After studying in Paris and working in London, José António…

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3/9/17 A New Role Model!

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Hello, this is Liz, Maggie’s mom. Thank you all for your kind words, well-wishes, and woofs! in response to Maggie’s post yesterday.

I did eat the eggs (Maggie helped) and had no pain at all. Today, I’d like to share my new personal role model with you!

This is Ernestine Shepherd. She celebrated her 80th birthday last June. This picture came up when I searched for her on Google Images. I do not own the picture. That’s right. She’s 80.

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I saw Ms. Shepherd’s video on Facebook, where she talks about getting up at 2:30 every day, running for ten miles, and by 7:30, is in the gym – where she trains a group of ladies.

This woman is awe-inspiring for me. She didn’t start working out until she was about 70 or 71, if I have my facts straight. She worked out with her sister (“I had never done…

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In vino veritas

Salt of Portugal

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In Roman times, wine making was a simple affair. The grapes were crushed and stored in large clay amphoras where the fermentation occurred naturally. The skins, seeds, and stems were stirred during fermentation. Then, the pomace fell to the bottom of the amphora, acting as a filter so that the wine, extracted through a spigot, ran clear.

Wine makers in Alentejo are using ancient amphoras, too large to be made in modern ovens, to revive these old ways of making wine.

We’ve been looking forward to trying these wines. After our recent visit to Esporão, we finally got our chance—we brought home a bottle of their amphora-made Moreto wine.

Drinking it was a grand occasion. After all, this was the kind of wine with which Caesar celebrated the conquest of Gaul, the wines with which Mark Anthony wooed Cleopatra. We closed our eyes and sipped the precious liquid. It tasted pure…

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Water (2 IMAGES)

Petals Unfolding

Well, since so many of you would like to see more playing from me, I played again.  The image in this post was taken in Como Park on February 24th.  This view always catches my eye no matter the time of day I go.  I always stop to stare because there is just something that draws me each and every time.  That day was no different.

So in stepping off the path, I walked nearer to the water’s edge until the view I wanted for my image appeared.  Sigh … Staring just staring, as I felt tension leave my body and my mind, with my Soul drinking thirstily.  I did not want to disturb the moment by even getting my phone out of my pocket.  Yet I did and I framed what I saw, pushing the shutter.

These past few weeks have been extremely intense and I have been barely able to get…

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The best cheese in Azeitão

It is a real treat.

Salt of Portugal

composit-queijo-azeitao

In the beginning of the 19th century, a farmer called Gaspar Henriques de Paiva moved from the Beira region to Azeitão, near Lisbon. He liked his new home, but craved the taste of the famous cheese made in Beira’s Estrela mountain. In 1830, Gaspar brought some “bordalesa” sheep from the Estrela mountain to Azeitão and arranged for a shepherd to come once a year to help him make cheese.

Gaspar owned only a few sheep, so his cheeses were small in size and his production low in volume. But the cheese was so great that it quickly gathered fame. Gaspar taught his neighbors how he made cheese with only three ingredients: sheep milk, cardoon and salt. Soon there were several cheese producers in Azeitão.

We traveled to Azeitão to try the cheeses made by the current generation of producers. When we asked the locals about their favorite cheese, they we unwilling to take sides…

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The last harbor

Hungry ?

Salt of Portugal

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The existence of one of Lisbon’s best fish restaurants has been a closely guarded secret for more than half a century. Its name is “Último Porto” (the last harbor). Now that the secret is out, we might as well confess everything.

The restaurant is tucked away in the corner of one of Lisbon’s harbors (Rocha do Conde de Óbidos). It is not a glamorous place. But for fish lovers it is heaven.

There are tables inside and an esplanade surrounded by containers that is very pleasant when the weather is warm. It is easy to park and the walk to the restaurant is beautiful with the river in front of us and the city on our back.

“Último Porto” opens only for lunch and it is always full of locals. Grilled fish is the main event and the stars of the show are the “salmonetes” (mullets). Their skins are colored with yellow and…

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Cave 23

This may make your mouth happy.

Salt of Portugal

composit-desenhos-cave-23 Dinner at Cave 23, ink and watercolor on paper, Fernanda Lamelas, December 2016.

Ana Moura, the young chef at Cave 23 in Lisbon, was born in a family of gourmands who planed vacations around restaurant outings. Her father, António Moura, runs a jewelry firm that produces sumptuous pieces of handcrafted filigree. Her mother, Fernanda Lamelas, is an architect and a talented watercolor painter.

It is easy to find traces of parental influence in Ana’s food: there’s an architectural quality to the presentation and an intricate detail that makes each dish look like a piece of jewelry. The hake, as white as a pearl, came adorned with a spirulina mayonnaise, dressed with a bouillabaisse sauce, and accompanied by pennyroyal, mustard, curry leaves, Alentejo bread, manga and white truffles. The cheese tart was encrusted with a ruby-red muscatel gelatin, delicate milk paper and honey foam.

Ana’s cuisine is centered on the flavors of…

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Gold from Bombarral

More

Salt of Portugal

aguardente-sanguinhal

“In Bombarral, each generation produces brandy for the next,” explained Ana Reis, one of the heirs of Quinta do Sanguinhal, a wine estate in Bombarral that dates back to 1871. We were standing in a room full of contraptions that a century ago were used to distill brandy. After distillation, the precious liquid sleeps for decades in oak barrels before it emerges with a beautiful orange color and a bouquet of alluring aromas.

The Bombarral region has ideal conditions to produce fine brandies. Everyone there seems to have an old casket of brandy at home to share with friends on special occasions.

If you don’t have friends in Bombarral, you can buy the wonderful brandy made by Ana Reis’ family at Quinta das Cerejeiras. It has a smooth taste, full of depth and wisdom. We love drinking it in the Winter, imagining the sunshine of the ancient Summer that produced this liquid…

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