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The Culinary Treasures of Portugal
with Chef Anita Lo: May 20-28, 2018
Travel allows you to "expand your palate," writes Chef Anita Lo in Cooking Without Borders. She should know: she leads our custom 8 day culinary adventure to sunny Portugal. The trip starts in Lisbon, Europe's second-oldest capital and a city that tantalizes the senses with its Moorish architecture and beautifully tiled walls. Next, we'll visit the seaside town of SetÃºbal, a fish lover's paradise. In the Alentejo region, known for its olive oil, wine, and cork, we'll get to experience the art of cheese making, carving presunto (dry-cured ham), and biodynamic winemaking, as well as a hands-on cooking class with Chef JosÃ© JÃºlio VintÃ©m. He will open up his kitchen to Chef Lo where each of them will present courses made using locally sourced ingredients, prepared with local olive oil, and paired with local wines.
Day 1, May 20:Airport transfer to the grand Alma Lusa Baixa Hotel, on the iconic plaza PraÃ§a do MunicÃpio in Lisbon.
Time to relax after your flight.
Tonight, our group enjoys a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (D)
Day 2, May 21:Breakfast at hotel.
Private transfer to the town of SetÃºbal and its fish market, where you'll have time to discover the freshest fish on the coast!
After a seafood lunch at the seaside town of Sesimbra, we will return to Lisbon for a walking tour, including: a visit to Manteigaria Silva, a typical grocery; a tasting of the Pastel de Nata at Confeitaria Nacional; a visit to the SÃ© de Lisboa - a 12th century Cathedral built right after the conquest of Lisbon by the Moors in 1147; and finally a walk up the hill to see the castle of SÃ£o Jorge from where you can see the city of Lisbon, and the River Tejo beneath you. Evening and dinner at your leisure.
Overnight at Alma Lusa Baixa Hotel (B, L)
Day 3, May 22:Breakfast at hotel and check out.
Private transfer to Alentejo where the landscape of farms is interrupted only by old oak trees. This area of Portugal is famous for its local cuisine, castles, Roman ruins, wines, olive oil, and cork. Our first stop is Herdade do Freixo do Meio, an agricultural project started in the early 90's based on responsible social and enviromental policies. The farm is 100% free of toxic fertilizers, pesticides and GMO's. We will tour the property and learn about the cork production process and its history. Lunch will be cooked on an open fire in brass and clay pots, accompanied by locally produced wines.
After lunch, we will learn how to make Herdade da Amendoeira raw sheep and goat cheeses.
Our next destination is SÃ£o LourenÃ§o do Barrocal. This is a beautiful country estate where we can relax, ride a horse, cycle, have a massage, swim and stargaze. The estate has an excellent wine cellar and produces its own wine.
Dinner and overnight at SÃ£o LourenÃ§o do Barrocal. (B, L, D)
Day 4, May 23:Breakfast at the farm.
This morning, our first stop is the village of Monsaraz, an ancient settlement, painted in bright white with narrow streets, churches and a castle.
Afterwards, we visit an organic wine estate for a tour and tasting. The hot arid summers of the Alentejo contribute to the deep red color and spicy flavors of this region's famous wines.
Dinner will be at Adega Velha, a typical country Inn. We'll be serenaded by a musical group singing acapella style Cante Alentejo, a type of Alentejo song.
Overnight at SÃ£o LourenÃ§o do Barrocal. (B, L, D)
Day 5, May 24:Breakfast at the farm.
This morning you'll experience a hands-on cooking class with Chef JosÃ© JÃºlio VintÃ©m and Chef Anita Lo, followed by lunch. Chef VintÃ©m specializes in the gastronomy of the Alentejo region and gained recognition after opening a restaurant focusing on traditional gastronomy from Alentejo. He is an active member of the Slow Food Movement.
Afternoon is at your leisure to relax, swim, walk, ride a horse or have a massage.
After dinner, we'll do some stargazing.
Overnight at SÃ£o LourenÃ§o do Barrocal. (B, L, D)
Day 6, May 25:Breakfast at the farm and check out.
This morning we'll transfer to the village of Barrancos, for a very special experience. The Casa do Porco Preto (House of the Black Pig) is a factory where you'll get to see the traditional salting, drying units and cellars for this special hams, a culinary treasure recognized worldwide. The carving of the presunto is an Art. During the visit, you'll get to carve a ham and taste loin, smoked sausage and salami along with bread and wine (Alentejo water).
Continue to your accommodation at Herdade da Malhadinha Nova a wine and olive oil estate for dinner and overnight. (B, L, D)
Day 7, May 26:After a hearty breakfast, we visit Comporta for a walk along the wide, sandy beach. After lunch, a short drive takes us back to your hotel in Lisbon. Enjoy a free afternoon to wander or shop. In the evening, we'll have our farewell dinner at the Michelin starred Feitoria Restaurant.
(B, L, D)
Day 8, May 27:Breakfast at the hotel and check out. Transfer to Lisbon airport, for your flight back to the USA.
End of services.