Wandering through the beautiful Baixa and affluent Chiado neighbourhoods, our guide spoke passionately about Lisbon’s architecture, history and culture, ensuring that we would leave with more than just a taste for Lisbon’s many wines. Stopping off briefly in the Barrio Alto‐ a collection of vein‐ like cobbled streets (full of old ladies and their washing by day, and young party goers by night), we sampled cheese, bread, pumpkin jams and the delicious Porco Preto (Black Iberian Ham). The Portuguese equivalent of Spain’s lauded Jamon Iberico, Porco Preto is gamey, nutty and melts like butter in the mouth‐ often served in shavings as a pop of saltine goodness.
Having scaled a couple of Lisbon’s notorious seven hills (leave your Louboutins at home ladies), we popped into a traditional local store to try arguably Portugal’s most famous export– Port! Huddled in the treasure trove of Portuguese delicacies, we learned about Bacalhau (Salted Cod), Sardines, and Whiskey, watching the city start to close its doors and gear up for the evening revelry. Our next stop was back down at Sea level in the Rossio area, to try Portugal’s favourite liqueur– Ginjinia, a saccharine sweet and sour cherry concoction, with alcohol soaked cherries in every bottle. Whilst not to everyone’s taste (think Calpol moonshine), it provided the internal warmth necessary to get to our final stop. Casa do Alentejo doesn’t look much from the outside, but once through the door and up the stairwell, the foyer is reminiscent of a Moroccan riad, ornate tiles lining the walls and floors, palm trees and even a statement fountain. Foregoing the fancier restaurant upstairs, our little group descended to the basement Taverna to sample Jewish sausage, eggs, breads and a smorgasbord of traditional and delectable bites. Wine and conversation flowing, we raised our glasses to a truly fantastic food and drink experience.