The Jewish history of Lisbon and Portugal is ancient, layered, remarkable, and was at times marked by unspeakable tragedy. Throughout hundreds and hundreds of years of existence in Portugal, Jews left their mark on the country both cultural and physical. While today, little is left of the physical world that Jews once inhabited in Portugal, there is still a small community, and if you tune in, you can still follow a virtual pathway that takes you to a time when Jews and Moors lived in harmony throughout the land, and Portuguese Jews played incredibly important roles in many epochs of history.
Portuguese Jews are Sephardic in culture, language, and gastronomic tradition – meaning, their origin and family tree binds them to the shared Jewish traits of the Mediterranean. Elements of Sephardic food and drink can be found in Spain, Morocco, Iraq, and Italy, but Portugal left its distinctive mark on the Sephardic legacy. Bound up in the cataclysm that was the Inquisition, many of the Jewish food-ways of Portugal have their origin in a story that is as bittersweet as it is interesting.
This full day Jewish culinary experience is not only engaging and rich in cultural and historical information, but its primary focus is exclusively on Portuguese-Jewish food and kosher wine!
Our tour with Ryan as our guide to the Douro Valley was spectacular. Excellent wines, wonderful views, terrific people and a delightful lunch topped off with a lovely boat ride. Highly recommended!
While the tour begins with a brief walking tour and historical overview, the focus of our tour is on food, market shopping, and cooking. Your Jewish guide, who is also a trained chef and former sommelier, will lead you through some of Lisbon’s most ancient quarters, while discussing the highlights of the Jewish history of Portugal, and many of the figures and famous characters who were part of the Jewish community at those times.
Your tour will then move on to a gourmet market where you will shop for ingredients to produce a sumptuous Sephardic feast. Transport will then be provided to the kitchen, and the remainder of the day will be spent sharing recipes, cooking the food, and finally, yes, enjoying the feast together. And, because Portugal is a land of wine, with its own tradition of Kosher wine that itself is steeped in stories and legend, your meal will include a delicious assortment of Portuguese Kosher wines that can be tasted, consumed and enjoyed along with the meal, and with expert description by your guide.
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