Thursday, 5 July 2012

Umbria in Portugal -value for money

The view from our lunch table-Could it be magic?
Portugal has so much to offer – climate, food, wine, culture, beautiful scenery, and most of all, the people.In the six years we have lived here we have not only met, but built up friendships with, a very interesting cross section of Portuguese society and by cross-section I mean to include the expats among  the British, Dutch and French communities.
According to a recent Eurostat poll overall prices in Portugal were lower than average prices in the 27-member European Union. Taking all products together, costs in Portugal were 13% lower than the average.Food and non-alcoholic beverages were lower by 10%, alcohol and tobacco by 15%, clothing by 7%, and restaurants and hotels by 21%.Yesterday we put all this to the test and headed North off into the serra for lunch.Turning off the main road you follow a winding dirt track through forest, alongside dry riverbeds and then climb to high peaks of breathtaking beauty before you freewheel down again into the picturesque valley before ascending to yet another spectacular panorama.
When you arrive at O monte velho there is a terrace looking across the hills for miles, a bottle of wine is poured and almost immediately you are deep in relaxez-vous.The sign at the bottom of the hill said Umbria and the landscape and terrain did not deny it,we could have been in Italy.If we hade been in the real Umbria,with a comparable setting for lunch, our bill would have been double. It might just have well been Provence too and again the price of lunch in a location such as this would have commanded a steep hike in ones wallet.Dona Ana Lidia´s food surpasses any of these cuisines and adds a whole new dimension to traditional Portuguese gastronomy.What arrives on the table is home produced fare,cured hams, home made cheese and warm parfait of beetroot topped with almonds from the hills behind her home. In the words of Kander and Ebb...

"Money makes the world go around It makes the world go 'round.
A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound A buck or a pound.....
Is all that makes the world go around

Never mind the buck or the pound Whether it be pranzo, almoço or dejeuner it doesn´t  much to make a beautiful world go round here, just um pouco dinheiro.

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