There are a lot of wine websites on the interwebs. There is no better regional wine website when it comes to depth and breadth of content and expertise.
Lenn Thompson

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Beyond ‘Caldo Verde’—Three Soups and Wine Pairings to Try This Season

It’s safe to say that “Caldo Verde” (Kale Soup) is likely the most famous of Portuguese soups. Its garlicky puree and toothy kale, finished with “Chourico” (smoked sausage), is a delight. But despite the popularity and ubiquity of Caldo Verde, the three Portuguese soups that are dearest to my heart and ideal meals for the cold months ahead, are the “Sopa de Feijao” (Bean Soup), “Sopa de Feijao Verde” (String Bean Soup) and “Sopa de Abobora” (Pumpkin Soup). I associate these three hearty soups with three people and a place—my mother (Maria do Ceu) and my two aunts (Tia Lucinda and Tia Benvinda). The place is Bemposta do Campo, the village where my maternal family hails from in the southern-central […]

Portuguese Wine Pack to Entertain Family without Breaking the Bank

Despite Portugal being one of the smallest countries in southern-western Europe—about the size of the state of Indiana—it is blessed with contrasting terroirs and region-specific wine varietals that result in an abundance of wine and spirits offerings. Home to the Douro Valley, the oldest demarcated wine region in the world, Portugal’s long-standing tradition in wine-making coupled with modern efforts, has contributed to a lengthy list of quality drinking choices from the North to the South of the country and practically everywhere in between. You can expect everything from “Espumantes” and fortified wines, including the famous Port wines, to brandies and aged aguardentes (fiery water, if you will), and even Portuguese-only wines like the young fizzy “Vinho Verde” and “Vinho Verde […]

Part 2: Summer Recipes to Quell Portuguese ‘Saudade’

Editor’s note: In Part I, we quelled our ‘saudade’ with a trip to the seaside town of Setubal for its piscatorial delights, then journeyed to the countryside village of Monsanto for carnivorous temptations. In Part II, we go to the root of it, Lisbon, the capital of ‘saudade.’ In the Fado classic, “Cheira Bem Cheira a Lisboa” (Smells Good Smells like Lisbon) the song says the city smells of flowers and the sea. It does, but that’s not all. In the colder months, the air is perfumed with the scent of strong espresso escaping from the multitude of cafes onto the cobblestoned streets where it mixes with the aroma of roasting chestnuts. During the warmer months, grilled fish and pork […]

Part 1: Soulful Summer Recipes to Quell Portuguese ‘Saudade’

Editor’s Note: In our two-part series, Sonia travels through the seaside town of Setubal for sumptuous red snapper and then head to the historic hilltop village of Monsanto to chomp on succulent veal. In Part II, we take it to the capital of “saudade,” Lisbon. In late May, I left for Portugal on vacation. I hadn’t been back in almost three years. That’s usually just about how much time I can stand without going there. I call it the two-year itch. As soon as I hit that mark, I begin to wither like a flower that’s been away from the sun for too long, and the “saudades” get stronger. There is no exact translation of “saudade” to English. The best I can […]

Cooking up a Farewell Feast with Moscatel

Parting is such sweet sorrow. That Bard really knew what he was talking about, didn’t he? It’s this way with Gabriella and Ryan’s announcement that Catavino is saying goodbye. My emotions were mixed at hearing the news. Initially, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t have my monthly outpouring of a favorite Portuguese dish, wine or region that I’m used to sharing with all of you through the lens of an expat living in America. And I thought of how much I would miss your comments at the end of my stories; the inspirations, the exchanges, the camaraderie of like-mindedness. Then that other saying sunk in: the only constant is change. And it sounds like Gabriella and Ryan’s change of plans […]

Beira Baixa: Roads Less Traveled Part II

Editor’s Note: In Part II we continue our travels through the Beira Baixa, pairing two area reds with a regional duck dish. I enjoy reading wine labels, but I can’t ever recall a time when one jerked a tear out of me. But two bottles of red from Quinta dos Termos in the Beira Baixa region of Central Portugal have managed to do just that. There may be more personalized wine labels out there, but I have yet to lay eyes on such heartfelt words on the back of any bottle. Realizing there will be nuances lost in translation, the label on the 2005 Tinto Reserva, reads “Though it may be drinkable as of now, with pleasure, it will improve […]

Beira Baixa: Roads Less Traveled

Editor’s Note: In this PART I of “Beira Baixa: Roads Less Traveled” we delve into the area’s challenges while highlighting its largest private wine producer in the Cova da Beira wine region. In Part II, we’ll explore more about its wines, and pair two with a regional dish.   I have this fear that one day the primeval hamlet of Bemposta do Campo, in the Beira Baixa region of Central Portugal where my mother’s family is from, will disappear. Sometimes, I feel as if it was a mirage to begin with or that it’s a top-secret destination that my family guards and sustains simply with love and memories. I may sound mad, but there is somewhat of a basis for […]

In the Big Apple: Dinner and a Movie Portuguese-style

Earlier this month, I somehow managed to convince my husband to go watch a nearly five-hour long movie. But it wasn’t just any movie, it was one based on the novella “The Mysteries of Lisbon” by the 19th-Century Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco, and starring some of my favorite Luso actors (mixed with a French cast) popular on Portuguese soaps and domestic movies, such as Adriano Luz, Ricardo Pereira, Jose Afonso Pimentel and Maria Joao Bastos. It’s not every day that a movie inspired by a Portuguese writer and with predominately Portuguese actors gets play at the Lincoln Center in Upper Manhattan or at the IFC Center in the West Village. Granted, these are exactly the types of venues that […]

Cheers to the Return of Alfama to the New York Restaurant Circuit

Though New York City is indeed a melting pot with a hodgepodge of restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world, Portuguese restaurants do not abound, unfortunately. New spots have propped up breathing new life into Portuguese options in the Big Apple, like George Mendes’s Aldea and Chinese/Portuguese fusion Macao Trading Co. Others like Pico came and went, and few have stood the test of time like Pao. When in the late ’90s Alfama opened its doors in the West Village, I was sure it would be one of those Portuguese restaurants that would stand the test of time, but after a successful 10–year run it closed its doors over an unexpected rise in rent. I was stunned and saddened, recalling my memorable […]

Grilling Season: How Portuguese Expats Fire it Up and What They Pour to Cool Down

Portuguese expats in the U.S. like to joke that if there’s a waft of sizzling sardines in the air then a fellow immigrant can’t be too far. They’re usually right. Growing up in New Jersey, expats’ grills were hardly ever graced by the usual American fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, porter house steaks, ribs, lobster tails or corn on the cob. Our grills brimmed with sardines, carapau (small mackerel), pork cutlets, cod fish, pork belly, chourico (Portuguese sausage) and whole or select chicken pieces. The side dishes generally consisted of boiled young potatoes, skin on of course, garnished with olive oil. Or, a salad packed with lettuce, tomatoes, and olives and charred red and green bell peppers. To top the […]