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Tag Archives: Travel

Deciphering the Vibrant Street Art of Porto

Enchanting, mystical, charming…these three words perpetually fall off my tongue when I describe the city of Porto. It’s a city that holds a thousand secrets etched on porcelain tiled buildings and abandoned romantic gardens teeming with flowering camelia trees. It’s a city where a 102 year old grandmother draped in black will smile broadly as you pass by, oblivious to your “foreign” appearance; or where young teenage boys will respectfully part their testosterone filled wave of jostling in order for you and your mammoth stroller to pass. However, what truly makes Porto unique is its architecture. Never has a city whispered so many stories, or expressed such unique personalities, through its concrete walls. And though many of Porto’s buildings have […]

Vejer de la Frontera – The Dining Mecca of Costa de la Luz, Spain

One of the most unexpected thrills of Vejer de la Frontera for a first time visitor is the huge number of eateries hidden away in the beautiful Pueblo Blanco. A further surprise is the impossibility of eating badly in this gastronomic paradise. Vejer doesn’t rely just on summer tourists – there are the regular visitors as well; hence, if the food isn’t good, the restaurant will close. One would be forgiven for comparing Vejer in Cádiz, Spain to Ludlow in Shropshire, UK. Both are out of the way places, off the gourmet map. But interestingly, both have a plethora of spectacularly good eating places which makes Vejer a fab weekend getaway for the food minded. What’s made Vejer an enchanting foodie […]

The Lush Green Parks and Gardens of Porto, Portugal

There are few cities in the world that are internationally known for their parks. Off the top of my head, I can think of Central Park in New York City, Parc Guell in Barcelona, Stanley Park in Vancouver, Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Lincoln Park in Chicago and Monsanto Park in Lisbon, but never once has anyone boasted of the rich, green paradises of Porto. Never has anyone sat down with me and said, “Hey Gabriella, make sure you squirrel away some time to see some of the most delicious gardens, incredible vistas or panoply of birds that grace our city parks!” As a lover of all things leafy, I’m amazed that this nugget of information is kept secret, and […]

Friday Feature Photo: Strawberry Tree of Malaga, Spain

Photographer: Svein Erik Larsen Capture Date: December 2011 Location: Zagaleta, Benahavis, Malaga About: The Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree) is ubiquitous in Spain and functions as a bee plant for honey production, and dessert for birds who feast upon its fleshy red fruit. The strawberries are also used to make jellies, jams, cold beverages and liqueurs (such as the Portuguese medronho, a type of strong brandy). Although the photo was taken in Malaga, it’s commonly seen in every corner of Madrid as it’s featured on its coat of arms. Purchase: Please contact us directly if you’re keen to purchase any of Catavino Friday Photo images. Note that the images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.

Eggs: Sweet and Savory Portuguese Recipes

Prior to my migration from America to Portugal in 2011, I had often heard of the love affair that the Portuguese have with their eggs, especially when used in their sugar laden sweets. I didn’t really understand that eggs were also loved as additions to savory dishes until I got here and was pleasantly surprised by both the sweet and savory side of the ovos de Portugal. As savory dishes go, I find the egg to be an afterthought, an addition, not the center of attention that they often are in American cuisine. When it comes to ervilhas com ovos escalfados, or peas with poached eggs, that is definitely not the case. If there were no eggs in this dish, […]

The History of the Egg In Portugal: Why Portugese Cuisine Can’t Live Without It

If you ask the Portuguese, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I would place my bet on the egg. Ovos are found throughout Portuguese cuisine. They’re poached in soups and açordas; fried on top of steaks, alheiras and francesinhas; boiled with fish and mixed into many of their beloved bacalhau dishes; and beaten with sugar and cinnamon in numerous desserts and sweets. Even the Portuguese chicken soup- canja, traditionally includes the boiled yolks of the un-laid eggs still left inside the chicken after its killed! So why does the egg seem to symbolize as much “à portuguesa” as their national anthem in their culture? Where did this love for eggs originate?    This was the question I set out […]

Friday Feature Photo: Herdade do Esporão, Portugal

Photographer: Ricardo Bernardo Capture Date: May 26, 2012 Location: Herdade do Esporão, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Portugal About: Table set in Herdade do Esporão’s recently renovated restaurant in the Alentejo.  Between the lagoon, and the table, young vines from this charismatic Alentejo wine producer can be seen. Desktop Wallpaper: To download this image, simply right-click on the image and select “save link as” or “save target as”, then select the preferred location on your computer to save the photo. Purchase: Please contact us directly if you’re keen to purchase any of Catavino Friday Photo images. Note that the images are not to be reposted on any web site or blog without the express permission of the photographer.

Top 10 Things to do in Jerez – Other than Enjoy Sherry!

The history of Sherry is rich. For starters it is one of the oldest wines in the world, introduced to Britain when notorious pirate Drake, plundered Cadiz and filled his decks with over 2000 barrels as a gift for his adored Queen Elizabeth 1st. But prior to all that, the Moors tended the chalky vineyards around their occupied city of Sherish and made their wine of present day Jerez. For centuries, Britain was the main market for Sherry, sending their sons to oversee production- hence the many Anglicized names involved in the industry. A sometimes forgotten fact is that Sherry can only be called Sherry if it is produced within the DO of Jerez- likewise, Champagne can only be Champagne […]

Friday Feature Photo: Timelapse Video of Santander

Santander en movimiento – Timelapse – by www.mariosetien.com from Mario Setién on Vimeo. Videographer: Mario Setién Capture Date: February, 2014 Location: Santander, Spain About: The intention of the video is to help both natives and non-natives alike to appreciate an incredibly dynamic and beautiful place: a place where sunrises and sunsets catch your breath; where music, art and theater are reveled; where food is the backbone of the culture. The motivation is to spur fresh eyes to see a city that’s not only stunning, but alive.

Cecina de Leon: Mouthwatering Cured- Smoked Beef from Spain

When my husband’s family goes to Italy for Christmas, Jamon is never missing. Served reverently on a large platter, after having been cooled and aired out, it is passed and eaten immediately. Hence, in the spirit of fantastic flavor, we brought Cecina from Leon – a sublime experience. I was accustomed to ordering it in restaurants, which is typically good, but nothing to rave about; but this Cecina was something different. With a beautiful dark cherry hue, a tender mouth feel, sweet and slightly smoky, it was beyond memorable. Why was this so good?  Let’s cut back to a month earlier…… One of our wedding presents was a weekend in a Parador. These reconverted castles, monasteries or important buildings are […]