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Doug Frost MS/MW http://dougfrost.com

Port – Uncovering this Hidden Treasure in the Algarve

Editor’s Note: Our newest contribution is from Eddie and Moses, founders of the recently created blog, The Algarve Buzz. If you haven’t had a chance to peruse their blog, I highly suggest doing so. The Algarve Buzz is not only an incredibly attractive site filled with interesting and well-written articles on everything from how Halloween in celebrated in Portugal to traditional recipes such as Risotto de Polvo (Octopus Risotto), but if you ever have a desire to visit the south of Portugal, their website will provide you a host of tips as to where spend your vacation when your time is rather limited. Today, in celebration of Port month at Catavino, they’ve offered some fabulous advice of places to check out if you’re a port lover in the Algarve.

Although port wine originates north of Algarve in the Douro that doesn’t stop southerners or the many tourist who visit the Algarve from enjoying the pleasures of a fine glass of port.

So how does one get the best of both worlds – the great weather of the Algarve plus, the fine flavors of port from the north, without actually having to travel there? Firstly, let’s qualify the difference between tasting port in Porto and tasting port in the Algarve.

In Porto you have the caves, the estates, the culture of wine and port in every breath you take. There is noting like being there, kind of like watching the world cup from gold seats and watching it on TV. However, the Algarve is stunningly beautiful, has incredible weather, nightlife, relaxing lifestyle, great food and its own exotic, warm charm and culture. So, like wine it all comes down to personal taste. If you want the authentic feel of dark humid caves, massive oak barrels and the smell of wine surrounding youâ€Â¦then you should definitely take a trip Porto. However, if you’re looking to holiday on sunny relaxed beaches, incredible weather all year round, great nightlife, a slower pace and some time to unwind, then the Algarve is the place for you.

The Algarve doesn’t have cold dark caves but we do have beautiful restaurants, bars and nightspots where you can finish off a great meal with, what elseâ€Â¦a fine port. Here in the south we’re loaded with all sorts of wonderful food and wine from around the country; the trick is to know where to get the good stuff. As with many things in the Algarve, finding the treasure means knowing the lay of land. Since many great finds, are still very much under the radar, I’ve done some digging to come up with the “Port Sweet Spots” to try. So, if you’re a port connoisseur or a curious novice, and a warm relaxed climate is for you – check out these hidden gems here in the Algarve.

I’ve noted my personal picks with *

Gourmet Shops

  • *Soares Wines & Gourmet – Vale de Lobo
    +351 289 353 421
    A wonderful selection of hard to find wines, ports and gourmet goodies, all in one beautiful shop. When picking up your port, look for dried fruits or chocolate, and best of all Faro almonds – delicious with a fine port.
  • Apolonia Supermarket – Amancil
    +351 289 351 440
  • Supermarket Batista – Lagos
    +351 282 789 231
  • Both Supermarkets above have a nice selection of gourmet products that are hard to find elsewhere and a great selection of higher end ports.

Restaurants

  • *Veneza – Paderne (Albufeira)
    +351 289 367 129
    If you love wine this is the place to drink and dine! This restaurant is very much off the beaten path but wine lovers will feel right at home. While dining on traditional Algarvian food such as cataplana, wild game and seafood, you’ll come to appreciate your surrounding of at least a 1000 bottles.

    Veneza is also happy to organize port and wine tasting on request, just let them know in advance and take a good size group so you get to taste more! And don’t forget dessert to accompany your port, a chocolate mousse is always great, but if you’re looking for something different, give their Queijo de figo (Fig Cheese) a try.

  • Amadeus – Amancil
    +351 289 300 134
  • Ermitage – Amancil
    +351 289 355 271
  • Either of these restaurants are wonderful and have great choices for fine ports, delicious meals and good service.

Hotels/Restaurants

  • *Estalagem Vila Joya – Gale
    +351 289 591 795
    Spectacular restaurant within the Vila Joya Hotel, food and service are fabulous, menu changes regularly, but do leave extra room for the dessertsâ€Â¦yes, they often serve more than one. Quality is everything at Vila Joya and this goes right to their chocolates – served at the end of the meal, make sure you have your port ready when some of these beauties arrive.
  • Estalagem Monte Do Casal – Estoi
    +351 289 990 140
    A historic building with excellent quality and selection of wines and ports – when you visit, it’s like you’ve stepped back in time. Try their “Bolo de Caramel” (Caramel Cake) with a fine tawny port – heaven!
  • Hotel Quinta do Lago – Amancil
    +351 289 396 666
  • Hotel Vila Vita – Porches, Lagoa
    +351 282 343 480
  • Two other great places to stay with wonderful accommodations, service, food, and no shortage of wines and ports to try.

Wine Bar

  • *ISO33 – Portimao
    +351 282 431 603
    ISO33 is one of the few wine bars in the region and it’s tucked away on a romantic side street in the historic city of Portimao. Converted from an old home and refurbished to blend traditional with modern, ISO33′s main focus is on serving a wide selection of wines and ports by the glass. ISO33 got its name from its founder who’s a photo buff and journalist, and uses the space to display both local art and photography.

Thanks Eddie! We truly appreciate the suggestions and encourage anyone who has either visited any of these places, or have additional suggestions as where we should enjoy Port in the Algarve, to leave a comment!