Iberian Treasure – the hoard from Lisbon

As I was saying in the overall post on Lisbon, this is Vasco de Gama country. Portuguese is a wonderfully rich sounding language; did you know that you pronounce the S like a SCH? Vaschgo de Gama country. Lisch-boa. 

Here’s what we brought back from the trip.



Very pleased with this terrific hoard!


We bought the most expensive bottle (by far) in the Pingo Doce (the supermarket of course. Everybody knows PDs). The supermarket is the best place to buy wine according to Rafa, the free walking tour legend, and the bottle we chose from the Tejo region cost 13.90 Euros. I think the next most expensive bottle after that was 8 Euros and that too was an anomaly. The point is we have limited space so may as well maximise the value per litre.

It’s a 2012 called Conde Vimioso. We also got some Spanish reds at the Madrid airport, under guidance of the wine staff there who helpfully recommended two bottles from the region of Ribera del Duero. The lady helping us seemed fairly passionate about this region. We simply pointed out that we had 30 Euros to spend and were at a loss. Very keen to confer knowledge and advice, this seems to work. So we now have a bottle of something called Celeste, a Crianza from 2013, and another called Cruz de Alba, also a Crianze from 2013.

Both cost about 15 Euros. The Celeste is supposed to be very soft and might stand up to less heavy flavoured foods than the Cruz. Both were promised to be very good and relative bargains as well. [Update – we opened the Cruz with some lamb bolognese and it was pretty good – definitely not soft, could stand up to the meal. Not stunning, but we enjoyed it very much.]

Sausages – one peppered wild boar and one venison. It was claimed that the animals were hunted just 10km away from where we bought them which was… a very well stocked petrol station on the A5 highway on the Spain side.

Cheese – from Portugal we picked up a sheep’s milk from the supermarket. Unfortunately we couldn’t find the Serra cheese, which we ate practically as our dinner at a restaurant near the Rossio area on our last night. That cheese is very good and is best eaten ‘dripping off the fork’.

The other cheese we picked up – and this is pretty damn exciting – is a raw milk cheese also from petrol station Spain. We plan to share it with (lucky?) friends in our new apartment once we move in next month (whether they like it or not). Having literally just been listening to the part of Michael Pollan’s latest book (“Cooked”) where he mentioned a few deaths still caused each year by raw milk and raw cheese, (right after we bought said cheese) we figured we’d better sample some of this cheese ourselves before serving it to any friends. Actually Josh let’s plan for only one of us to eat it, so the other can dial 999 if need be.

Olive oil – when olive trees are such a feature of the countryside it just makes sense. Both bottles are organic, one seems more premium than the other. Looking forward to making some good sofrito with the stuff. [Update – just opened the Portuguese olive oil and it seems to have a spiciness to it. Really interesting!]

Sardines – just look at the packaging. Two of these in particular, the Miverna and the Tenorio are so elegant and well designed. Some of the packaging reminds me a bit of WWII designs. It’s funny how foods that come about through necessity can outgrow the era of need to become delicacy in their own right. Could it be that some of this is due to the story and memories behind the flavour – that somehow memories that you may not have had yourself, could have infused into the food?

Can’t wait to try all of these things – especially the raw cheese!


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