Wednesday, 6 August 2014

O descanso em Porto -Dia 3 éclairs e uma casa de chá extraordinária






















Day 3: There are cafés everywhere in Porto, from little old coffee shops to grand, ornate, historic belle epoque cafés like Café Guarany or Café Majestic.Others a little more modern and even more that are contemporary but have maintained a strong tradition.  
Another successful recommendation from our hotel reception desk led us to breakfast at
Leitaria da Quinta do Paço.Their reputation was as a  dairy, producing milk and manufacturing related products.Despite its modern make over,this tradition has been retained.This coffee shop is speckled with memories of the former dairy in the form of vintage photos on one side, and with artisan food products for sale on the other.
Forget Paris,France,this is Porto,Portugal This is the place where your taste buds will surrender to a multitudinous choice of éclairs. Dark chocolate, lemon, red fruits, caramel, classic or white chocolate are just some of the options. With or without whipped cream,normal size or mini ones, these pieces of heaven have followed the same recipe since 1920.
an oasis of calm in the middle of Porto

Our mission for day 3 was not to binge on eclairs but to spend some time meandering in the peace and tranquility of Serralves.Fundação Serralves is to Porto what Fundação Gulbenkian is to Lisbon.
Serralves is  one of the most important cultural institutions  in Portugal. It includes a Contemporary Art Museum, a Park and a Villa, each one an example of contemporary architecture, Modernism, Art Deco architecture and landscape gardening.We passed on the contemporary art and concentrated our interests on the gardens and villa,and as usual wherever we travel food is only a stone´s throw away and what we stumbled on was a step back in time.After a long and rather tiresome bus journey from the centre of Porto what more could one ask for than cold beer and wisteria. The peace and quiet of the Serralves tea house nestling under a wisteria covered pergola beside an old tennis court was the most tranquil setting for a glass of wine and a chilled cucumber soup.
Surrounded by green and dappled shade this "Tea House" is a place where time stands still and you feel like staying. What was offered on the menu here was beyond the call of a tea house.Understandably when new management took over in 2012 they called in the expert creative skills of chef Jorge Peres (head chef at Archive) as a consultant.It shows...
Steamed shrimp dumplings with soy sauce, sandwich of magret of duck with arugula and wild berry compote,salad of cold fish,cod sea bass fava beans and corgete.Cured sardines bruschetta and boquerones and olives on toast are some of the major options for snacking on throughout the day.The refreshments on offer far outshone scones and cake,there were interesting teas and infusions including possibly one of the most unique teas in the world the"O Porto Wine Touch"a black tea with raisins and port wine.the whole experience was too short and left me speechless.Next time I will return with a good book and another notebook to fill.There´s hurly and there´s burly and then there´s the Casa de Chá de Serralves but this special place is where one can leave the tumult behind and put your world to rights.
It takes great generosity to produce three-star food like this and serve it with such modesty in attitude and price. When the maîtresse ´d came to our table,she didn't brag about complex preparations or rare ingredients. Instead, she asked us: how did you like the food? We loved it!








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