Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hidden Backroads with Taste of Porto

About a week ago, I got to go on a fabulous food tour with Taste Porto where we got to try authentic, yet not the stereotypical food they offer. From the delicious aperitif accompanied with a moscatel, to the hearty Porto sandwiches, this 3.5 hour tour will have you leaving more than satisfied, but also struggling to walk up the hills that make up beautiful Porto.

Taste of Porto’s Mission: Taste of Porto wants to show you a new light to Porto- that’s why they don’t show you the typical, traditional food that you might have heard if you did your Porto foodie research before which includes, Port wine, Pastel de Nata, La Franchesinha, and Bolos de Arroz. This is because they want to introduce flavors that are not only typical to Porto, but off the beaten, non-tourist path. 
Pasteis de Chaves at Loja Dos Pasteis de Chaves: Although a lot of bakeries claim to have the Pasteis de Chaves, this one is authentic since the meat inside these flaky, savory pastries is actually from the town of Chaves in Northern Portugal. I also recommend going back to try more of their sweet and savory flavors which sound heavenly! 

The Bifana Sandwich at Flor de Congregados: From the bread to the pork lion to the cured ham, this sandwich is all types of delicious. The bread is perfectly warm, soft and recently baked, the pork lion, which is roasted for hours before, leaves a juicy, savory touch (needing no condiment), and the cured meat puts in that perfect amount of salty flavor to top it off. To wash off your palette, the sparkling Portuguese wine (which has a burgundy color!) perfectly pairs with the sandwich. 

Leitaria da Quinta do Paco: This was the perfect sweet touch after trekking uphill for a good 20 minutes. These elcairs aren’t like the French elcairs one normally thinks of since they consist of whip cream instead of cream. This makes the pastry very fluffy and lighter so you don’t feel (as) heavy after eating one or two. The shop, which used to be milk shop, also sell savory elclairs for those who don’t have a sweet tooth or are lactose intolerant. 

What Makes the Tour Unique: What I loved most about this tour was the relationship our tour guide had with each local business. Being from Porto, she was able to tell us places where she spend her childhood days and businesses where her and her family would go- either on a daily basis or for special occasions like Christmas. Also, the close relationships she had with the businesses we went to made the experience extra special and authentic. She mentioned that since the Bolhao Market will be closed for the next three years due to renovations, the Bolhao Wine House will have to be moved to another location. However, she made it very clear that due to their close ties with the wine house, Taste of Porto will follow them wherever they are temporarily placed. The unity Taste of Porto has with their partners really speaks volumes!

Succulent espresso at Cafe Guarany

What you need to know before the tour:
  • Wait until the end of the tour to buy the delicious goodies: Each guest is given a little Taste of Porto passport at the start of the trip, which is super handy when trying to remember all the delicious foods tasted, but also great since you get discounted items or complimentary food and drink at some of the locations.

  • Book your tour at the beginning of the trip: We made the mistake of booking it on Saturday when we had a flight to catch back to Madrid the next day at 6:30 am. Our tour guide knew so many great places to try different types of Portuguese food that we couldn’t possibly go to any of them since we were full the entire day! If I had to do it all over again I would had definitely gone on Friday! 
Duoro wine tasting with cheese and charcuterie at Taberna do Largo
  • People with allergies or dietary issues have no fear: while I don’t have any dietary restrictions, Taste of Porto takes extra care of those with any allergies or food restrictions by double checking to see if any clients have any sort of issue. 
  • The Bolhao Market will be closed by July of this year: For those planning to travel to Porto this summer and for the next three years, you will be unable to go to the famous Bolhao Market since they will be closed for renovations, but you’ll still be able to go to the Bolhao Wine Store, of course!

What's your best foodie memory in Porto? Mine was definitely this tour- will definitely be coming back to try their new tours in the future!

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