Saturday, May 25, 2013

Douro River Valley Tour 3: Wine, Cheese and Presunto Tasting in Lamego

When it’s raining cats and dogs outside and you are only seeing silhouettes, the next best thing to do is to duck indoors and reward yourself with some happy time. And that’s what we did.

Maria, our tour guide from Living Tours said that we will be going to Lamego (part of the Viseu district) for our first wine tasting (and pairings with cheese and dried meats) of the day. It will be the first for the group but not for me as I have already had my Vinho Verde tasting earlier in Amarante.

I can tell you this, everyone was looking forward to the tasting because we have had enough of the bad weather.

Almost there Lamego...

We finally arrived at the Casa do Presunto in Lamego, and I think, and this was after googling, the official name of the wine and ham shop is ‘A Presunteca’.

Website: A Presunteca (not really a working website but you can see their address, telephone and email)

They are located just beside the monumental stairway to the Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Church perched on top of the city. Maria told us briefly about the church before entering the shop.

Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Church

This church used to be a pilgrimage site, with hundreds of devotees coming from all over Portugal, Europe and the world (I would not be surprised, the Philippines as well) before and climbing the 686 steps to the top one at a time as a sweet offering to their lady. All I can say is that, the views up there must have been awesome. The pilgrims have since moved to Fatima, the largest pilgrimage site of Portugal.

No more pilgrims here, the pilgrimage has moved to Fatima.

Nowadays, the church is an oasis of greenery and tranquillity, and granted the weather was fine, I would have climb my ass all the way up to the top. The easy alternative though of escaping inside Casa do Presunto and treating ourselves with some wine, cheese and presunto was much more appealing.

The tasting begins!

Before we start, this wine and ham shop offers (so it seems) free wine tasting, so if you are in Lamego, drop by here. They have a nice area where you can sit and sample their items. They are easy to locate as they are beside the monumental staircase.

These are the wines available for tasting for our group and even though I wanted to taste them all, I behaved and settled for the one that I have not tried before. A ‘Moscatel’ from Douro, Portugal. I have tasted Moscatel wine before, usually from France, but not from Portugal, yet.

Moscatel is a sweet wine, usually drank as a dessert wine.

Then the man from the shop prepared some bite pairings for our wines of choice. There were some local Portuguese cheese, chunks of lemon bread, a variety of dried meats and a plate of presunto (the dried ham version of Portugal). Ah, yummy!

This is so much better than staying outside under the rain. I do not mind staying indoors for now.

Finally, some small talk with the group

The Dutch guy came up to me and asked if I speak Dutch since they heard from Maria that I live in the Netherlands. I said – Ja zeker, ik spreek nederlands! And that was the start of an interesting conversation with the family.

It turns out that the Dutch guy and the Belgian guy have been on holiday to the Philippines last year for 4 weeks (or longer, I already forgot). They were raving about their time there, about the Filipinos, the country, the practices and their experiences. This was also when I found out that the mother moved to Brussels when she was younger (40+ years ago), the son was then just a few years old and the daughter, who was with the family as well in the trip was not yet born. She was later born in Brussels. It is very interesting to note that the Dutch children kept their Dutch accent, however not as rough as most Dutch people have. They clearly do not have Flemish accent.

The Dutch language has a rough accent. Unfortunately, it is not an easy language to master its pronunciation if you are not born or did not grow up here.

After the tasting I bought some dried meat. I thought that this would be a nice present for the Dutchman (as well as another thing I bought for him) but when Dutchman tried it at home he doesn’t really like it. He is a creature of habit you know so it takes a while for him to like something.

I love ham so much and I am so going back to Spain later this year and bring for myself a scrumptious leg like this. Jamon Iberico, that is. But on the picture above is the Portuguese Presunto.

It was still raining when we left the shop. Maria said that our next stop would be Peso da Regua, another important city in the Douro River Valley. I hope that when we arrive, the rain would stop by then.

Previous entries:

Douro River Valley Tour 2: A rainy and misty 'Douro viewing point' stop
Douro River Valley Tour 1: Amarante village, Vinho Verde (green wine) and some Travel Agency rant

Travel Period: March 2013
Destination: Lamego (Viseu – Douro), Portugal

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