There’s so significantly to do in the centre of Portugal, I’m nevertheless writing about it, you guys! It is also been a when because I posted something, so right here we go.
Following we left Casa da Ínsua and our cheese-generating adventure of dreams, we headed west to the Aveiro area to go to the city bearing the similar name. Aveiro city is nicknamed the ‘Venice of Portugal’ due to its popular canals, architecture and colourful Moliceiro boats.
But 1st, lunch! We stopped in the neighbouring city of Ílhavo to expertise some of the very best seafood in the Aveiro area. Mare Restaurante & Gin Bar is proper beside the sea, so you just know it is gonna be very good. It is vibrant, inviting, and nicely decorated. Mare presents a hefty choice of gin, serve their personal craft beer and just by the door there’s a tiny shop exactly where you obtain olive oil, cans of sardines, dried seaweed, cakes and biscuits to treat your self. Or, like…other individuals. That is not as exciting although.
We sat at a lengthy table by the window and enjoyed a crisp glass of white Quinta Da Mata Fidalga. Dry and fruity. The fantastic accompaniment for devouring sea creatures.
Quickly numerous plates appeared. All sorts of tiny morsels. Lovely spongy bread (you know the sort, slightly sweet, spongy texture but not dry!) and tripe. *Vegans appear away now* Yes, tripe. Pork guts floured and then fried, so they finish up super crispy. I will attempt just about something, and when I did attempt the tripe, the flavour is super intense. A bit significantly for me.
There we have been, discussing who enjoys tripe and who does not, not a care in the globe. All of a sudden, a couple of (incredibly friendly) servers method the table with big steaming pots. Yay! I believed (and almost certainly mentioned aloud) a different loved ones style meal! I loved this aspect of the trip.
Off comes the lid and the steam twirls toward the ceiling, releasing the scent of ambrosia. It has arrived. The pièce de résistance a wonderful fish stew. Not specifically the most handsome dish presentation-sensible (or even a runner-up) but it was almost certainly one particular of, if not my favourite dish of the trip.
Tender chunks of flaky fish and delightfully meaty squid in a light tomato broth, laced with fresh herbs and spices. The odd mouthful would present a chunk of veg or two and tiny, bite-sized pieces of beautifully cooked potatoes. Potatoes truly thrive in a very good stew, do not they? They act like sponges. They attain their complete possible as the king of starches when liquid is involved. They are carrying out the most.
Dessert (which I only had a tiny of, as I may well or may well not have had two helpings of fishy-delishy) was leite creme queimado, a different take on crème brûlée, one particular of my best 3 appreciate-of-my-life desserts. God, I just appreciate crème brûlée, do not you? It is the very best! Anyway, this was a tiny thicker and softer but not as thick as the tijelada we had in Piódão.
We left Ílhavo just after our hearty lunch and inside 15 minutes we have been in the quite city of Aveiro. Just before I could say ‘Venice of Portugal’ we have been whisked onto a Moliceiro boat, prepared for a boat ride along the canal.
These Moliceiro boats I hold mentioning are pretty popular. They have been initially utilized for harvesting seaweed in the Aveiro lagoon, which was utilized as fertiliser on the neighborhood sandy soils. This trade died just after the introduction of modern day fertilisers, so these days they serve as one particular of the city’s touristic highlights, painted in bold colours and covered in illustrations. The styles on these boats are in some cases religious, normally humorous. Do not be alarmed if you see a boat with a topless lady painted on the side, it is entirely typical you guys. If you see an actual topless lady in the boat, that may possibly be weird. Just go with it either way.
Our boat guide told us all about Aveiro and some of the very best landmarks to go to Mosteiro de Jesus, Museu de Aveiro, the Rossio Location and the old train station. The tour was good and entirely cosy…we each and every had a warm fuzzy blanket, and going below tunnels is generally exciting. The sun began to set and it was then I realised the SimplyB group have been developing magic once again. Bottles of espumante (Portuguese champagne/sparkling wine) appeared and we enjoyed sundowners cruising along the canal. I told you in all the posts so far that these guys have been very good.
Nightfall = hotel time, so we skipped off the boat, satisfied and giddy from the bubbles, prepared for our subsequent cease. Above are a couple of images from a cute tiny shop close to exactly where the SimplyB mobile was parked. Just appear at these colourful boxes of tinned sardines, cod and bottles of port. The essence of Portugal in one particular tiny space!
We stayed at the Montebelo Vista Alegre Ílhavo Hotel, and let me inform you anything, this spot was a significant five-star hotel. The lobby? The rooms? The facilities? All outstanding. The spot is modern day, only a couple of years old, entirely chic and totally spotless. There are pieces produced by Vista Alegre all more than the spot (such as the wonderful espresso cups pictured above in my area) simply because the factory of these wonderful globe-popular porcelain styles is proper subsequent door.
Bathed, relaxed and refreshed, we congregated in the lobby amongst the artfully placed polished dinnerware, prepared for the evening’s surprise. We have been told we would be dining someplace genuinely unique. Thrilling, no?
The answer to my previously-rhetorical-but-no-longer-so query is yes! It turned out to be incredibly thrilling!
We arrived at our location/surprise Salpoente. The 1st impression? I wasn’t certain to be pretty truthful, it is not significantly to appear at from the outdoors. I can only describe it as two Vermillion barnyards side by side (I did later discover out Salpoente is a reconstructed salt warehouse). But after you stroll inside…BOOM! A breath of fresh air. Vibrant, plush interiors and friendly smiles await you. The walls are adorned with vibrant paintings.
Your coat will be taken with good care, and you will enter the lobby and bar (pictured above) with a glass of the finest espumante in hand. You will marvel at the truth that the spot is hopping, but the noise level is pleasant, adding to the ambience of the spot. Quiet mumurs of conversation, relaxing music. Completely chill.
In Portugal, Cod is God (I need to trademark this phrase, no?) and Salpoente’s head chef, Duarte Eira champions this philosophy, perfecting his approaches in preparing salted cod in an array of conventional Portuguese dishes served with a modern day twist.
What I loved straight away about Salpoente was the consideration to detail. For as we all know, it is the tiny issues that make up the larger image. A warm welcome, pressed tablecloths, wonderful silverware (hello, just appear at these lengthy sophisticated handles!) and of course, 1st-price service. And we hadn’t but eaten a morsel.
Time to go over the meals. The olive oil and butter have been heavenly, and there have been extra forms of freshly baked bread than you could shake a salted codfish at. I’ll be truthful, when I was asked what sort of bread I would like, I merely replied, “yes please.”
Our 1st course, Salpoente’s take on a classic Portuguese dish, the humble Açorda. Açorda is produced from bread, eggs, olive oil, salt, cilantro and garlic. Warming, filling, straightforward.
This dinky tiny bowl featured all of the above with the addition of cod row, prawns, fried onion and olive powder. It was merely beautiful and complete of flavour. It could give ol’ porridge a run for its income.
Dish two. Grouper with fried cuttlefish mash (yes that gleamingly wonderful glass-like inky puddle) with bacon and pea shoots. Just appear at that wonderful foam on best of the fish also. I loved this dish! Grouper is pretty mild so it paired properly with wealthy heady mash, a tiny salt from the bacon and pea shoots to liven it up. Pea shoots go good with every little thing, do not you believe? I’ve decided I will need to develop some. My incredibly personal secret stash.
Dish 3 (side note: all of these courses have been served with a mix of red and white Colinas wine) was a merely salt cod confit with child carrots and bean puree. Lighter than the other dishes and nicely seasoned. I enjoyed this dish, but the cod we had at No Tacho that Vitor produced nevertheless remains my favourite.
Following this course, we have been paid a go to by the major man himself, Duarte Eira. It was good to hear his passion about Salpoente’s journey and of his time spent in Norway perfecting his craft. We have been also joined by Miguel Ferreira neighborhood wine professional who chose our wines for the evening.
The final course sweet rice ice cream, Ovos Moles (Portugeuse sweet egg yolk, an Aveiro classic) cream cheese, fruit puree, berries and sweet crumble. Light and sweet with lots of contrasting textures. The colours have been revitalising, as was the espresso I had along with it.
A superb evening at this impressive and exceptional Aveiro gem.
The following morning just after a hearty breakfast (I would anticipate no much less from the fancy Montebelo) we walked across to the Vista Alegre factory, which has been about because the 19th century. The museum, nonetheless, was established in 1964. Anything old, anything new, every little thing porcelain and normally blue. Amongst other colours of course.
The tour was truly enjoyable and properly paced. Our guide brought us by way of many rooms of the museum with lots of views of the factory along the way. We found how the porcelain was initially produced, and how manufacturing has progressed more than the years, thanks to our superb pal technologies. We saw a lot of of the incredibly 1st performs and all the numerous ceramic types sold about the globe more than the final couple of decades. My favourite component was seeing the artists at function, painting wonderful styles on the ceramics with such finesse and concentration. We had to stay silent and no image-taking was permitted in this location for apparent causes.
The Vista Alegre Museum and Porcelain Factory in Aveiro is open from Monday to Saturday, 10AM to 7PM, and there’s a tiny café for your caffeine and sweet treat cravings.
The grounds among the factory and hotel are also worth exploring, I was particularly fond of this church in the image above. The factory (and lunch down the road in Salpoente, probably?) would be a fantastic way to devote the afternoon and attempt anything new. Just an hour from Porto.
For extra details:
Vista Alegre Factory & Museum
SimplyB Free of charge Tours Porto
Subsequent cease Costa Nova, a different town in the Aveiro area. Remain tuned – all these locations make for good day trips from Lisbon or Porto!
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