Food in Douro Valley
Last month I wrote about food at our quinta, and I would like to extend the topic to food in the Douro. Now this is very subjective, and I am not native to the region. But I know and am passionate about good food, so I will take my chances and share with you a mere glimpse of culinary possibilities in the Douro, and will focus on bolas and 2 restaurants, to tease your palate and to inspire you to come and visit!
Every culture has a bread-based speciality; pâté en croûte in France, pizza in Italy, pasties in England, empanadas in Spain and BOLA in Portugal! In the Douro bolas vary from town to town, bakery to bakery, home to home. An egg and olive-oil based bread dough, filled with a myriad of stuffings from simple ham, ham and cheese, or ham, chicken and bacon to the more oh! so! savory stuffings of bacalhau, sardines, or chicken, ham or bacon layered with slowly sautéed onions, black pepper and bay laurel, in sufficient olive oil, of course! We serve small squares of bola during our guided port tastings and they disappear in no time.
Tucked away behind the marketplace of Regua is Cacho D’Oiro, simply decorated inside with enlarged black and white period photos of the port trade in the Douro, and with an ever so pleasant staff and owner Avelino Pereira there for you. A favorite of ours since we bought the quinta in 1992, especially for a specialty picanha com feijão brasileiro, an aged rump steak, grilled whole on a spit with the thick layer of fat downside so most melts away and flavors the cut, seasoned with coarse sea salt, served tableside, sliced before you and others at your table and then brought back for additional grilling to repeat the process and the dining experience goes on and on…… Served with black beans, carioca, sautéed bananas, rice, hand-cut french fries and a salad of greens, tomatoes and onions. With a Douro DOC red wine you will think that you have gone to Heaven!
5 minutes from our quinta is D.O.C., a trendy and modern restaurant on a dock at Folgosa, where tradition successfully meets modernity in Portuguese cuisine with panache and skill. Gorgeous location, with stunning views of the steep terraced vineyards meeting the Douro river. Try the codfish with broa, shrimp with caril, pork cheeks with wild mushroom açorda (bread soup), serra cheese with Touriga Nacional marmalada and olive oil sorbet for dessert. The place has a wonderful upbeat feel to it, the menu is seasonal, and you will be guided effortlessly by the staff.
Would you like more impressions of and tips for Douro Valley’s food? Just let me know, send a comment and I will follow up in another blog in the future.