The Retirees go Abroad – the Iberian Peninsula – Food and Wine of Lisbon

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We returned to the square to meet our guide for the evening guided walk. Whilst there we watched a street performer “blowing bubbles”. Right on 4.30pm we found Andre our guide. We were joined by Paul and Catherine from the west coast of Canada and later 7 others all from the US of A – two of whom were from Texas and were there to run in a marathon on Sunday.

This was a food and wine walk which started at Tendinha (little tent) for traditional cod fish cakes and “green wine”. The majority of cod used in Lisbon is salted and dried cod (the same as the cod used by her sailing explorers over the centuries) so the cakes are naturally salty. The wine is made with a grape originating in Portugal and grown in the colder higher altitudes. It is light white and spritz – a good wine with the salty fish cakes.

Leaving Tendinha we went across to the Square do Figurea with a statue of Cortez on his horse. In this square is one of the oldest continually operating delicatessen in Lisbon – Manteigaria Silva and beside it the fish shop named after the cod fish – Bacalhoaria Silva. From the deli we tasted sheep’s cheese with quince paste and a tawny port – yum oh.

Our tour then continued in the Chiado district up the hill from the old city. Kerry met one of Portugal’s famous poets, we saw Portugal’s oldest coffee shop where expresso was first drunk in Portugal, and we made our way to Grapes and Bites for some tapas and red wine. But we are not finished yet.

We head back down into the old city through the tables of restaurants with the view which epitomises Lisbon to the first “Jingjinha” outlet in Lisbon. It is a sour cherry liquor first sold as a medicine but at 25% proof it soon became too popular to be a medicine. Our last port of call was a restaurant epitomising the cuisine of southern Portugal and having the most fabulous ambience – tiled walls and Moroccan styled court in the centre of the building, they served bbq choriso with salted mushrooms and a scrambled egg. I don’t think the egg was all that special but the other two dishes and the red wine was great.

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