Magic fills the air, uplifting both our spirits and the clouds in an otherwise perfectly blue sky. It is the beginning of October here in Lisbon, and we are yet to wander around sun-kissed by summertime. Temperatures day and night are somewhere between 20°C to 30°C, inspiring us to unpack our summer dresses once more, beaming back at all the happy people we meet. And yes, they are happy everywhere here: “It is in our nature as Portuguese people, to welcome our visitors with genuine interest, openness and friendship”, Filipa Valente of Taste Of Lisboa Food Tours tells us, smiling. But let me start from the beginning. First of all, I want to take you on a journey. A journey through Lisbon where my friend Bianca and I simply enjoyed getting lost. To do so, follow me through some of Lisbon’s oldest city districts named Baixa-Chiado, Alfama & Mouraria.
Starting our city exploration of Lisbon on a perfectly warm, late summer day, heading down Rua Augusta and right up to the (world-famous) Praca do Comercio.
Bianca & I can recommend you head over to the new Museu da Cerveja in order to enjoy a somewhat more expensive, but nice large beer taking in the atmosphere at Praca do Comercio.
Sampling our first dinner at one of Lisbon’s many top local gourmet places means you can’t really go wrong: Delightful, juicy codfish served with veggies awaits us here.
Know this man? Famous Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa takes a rest in Baixa-Chiado after having written many beautiful stories and poems on Lisbon, and Portugal …
… while right beside, we enjoy staying at the “Lisbon Poets Hostel”, a good base full of individual character and charm for your exploration of the city of Lisbon.
Exploring the city means Bianca and I check out Alfama district overlooking the Rio Tejo of Lisbon the next morning.
“Looking for adventure”, you can take a typical Lisbon city tram, such as this historic line 28 here!
Taking a rest high above the city centre with my dear friend Bianca (and isn’t she gorgeous … the view, of course!) …
… the view, the view: Beautiful downtown Lisbon from near Castelo São Jorge.
And who would not want to be this here in Lisbon, happy? 🙂
Looking down this street tells me why I love wandering and getting lost in cities: To feel the atmosphere. To listen to the people passing-by. To stop, look, feel and to learn.!
Ahead of starting our tour with “Taste Of Lisboa Food Tour”, I can only recommend you to check out Mercado do Ribeira (Metro Stop Cais do Sodre): It has reopened after extensive renovation in 2014 and now welcomes gourmet (wine) travellers with modern amenities such as quaint little tasting huts and – free WiFi!
“Taste Of Lisboa: This is my third visit to town already, but never have I felt so accomplished nor strong about Lisbon than during our culinary storytelling tour, dear Filipa!”
A tour of a kind is offered by dear Filipa Valente, of “Taste Of Lisboa” Food Tours, turning fellow travellers into friends and connecting us through heart, spirit, soul & food!
Do you know the feeling of “having arrived” in a particular place and time? While I talk to Filipa about my trip to Portugal and further south into the Algarve as a new destination for local crafts & creative tourism in Loulé, I become aware of my increasing passion for Portuguese food, Portuguese people, even the Portuguese language that I have simply picked up and learned speaking over the summer. Encouraged by our exchange, I recite a poem by Fernando Pessoa, prompting Filipa to say: “Mas tens alma portuguesa Elena …!” Warmth spreads through my body, I feel light-hearted and just so honoured by this. Yes, it has happened to me, dear readers. Portugal is in my heart: From a mere day trip to Lisbon all the way to our surf camp in Ericeira and up to a most inspiring culinary exploration of Porto & the Douro valley, I have to tell you this: It must be love. 😀
And so it happens, that during Taste Of Lisboa Food Tours …
… our wonderful Filipa knows exactly how to win us over in a culinary way of exploring the city! Being a former manager at IBM, she really knows what she wants, too: To infuse people like Bianca and me with the same kind of enthusiasm that she has for the culture of her country and for her love of food & drinks here in Portugal. “I am a big eater .. No seriously, I am”, she laughs despite appearing fit and slim. It is only us that are eating during the Taste of Lisboa Food Tour though, and honestly: You can always walk the talk in Lisbon, its many hills naturally decreasing the calorie intake you will have during the three-hour tour. Off we go, therefore, exploring Lisbon the culinary way!
Dear Filipa Valente, mastermind & tour guide of Taste Of Lisboa, beams at us happily during our welcome at the start of the tour.
The first tasting stop already lives up to some delicious, quirky local storytelling involving typical Bacalhau fish from Portugal …
… while my true food love is for beautiful “Alheira” sausages … to die for !!! A must on your next visit to Portugal.!
Love the beautiful Pata Negra ham, too …
… as well as the juicy sandwiches we get to taste in our second location of the Downtown-Mouraria Food Tour …
… including spicy (smelly!) cheeses that are served with even spicier chilly sauce …! Don’t forget the cool beer to go with it.
During the Taste Of Lisboa Food Tour, Filipa goes on to share many local food & culture stories about the city and its history, such as the famous Mouraria district as seen in the back of this photograph.
Shortly before we dive into Mouraria, another plunge lures us in with those beautiful mussels …!
Filipa does a great job at being a “door-opener” in the most literal way possible, allowing us to really get behind the scenes of what Lisbon has to offer – ancient, precious tile art called “Azulejos”.
Mouraria is one of the birthplaces of Fado in the city of Lisbon …
… which is confirmed in this cute little pub in Mouraria, drinking delicious Ginja sour cherry liqueur while listening to typical local Fado, of course !!
Bianca & Filipa share a word of friendship at Taste of Lisboa Food Tour …
… before heading to one of our last tasting stops on this tour of a total number of six: Delicious foreign influences marked by Portugal’s former colonies …
… last but not least, we are in for a banana creme dessert of a kind at this particular Slow Food place in Lisbon: Master chef cooks without any oven or plate, but allows this creme to develop over more than 12 hours time, gradually bursting into all the flavours it can have. Wow – I have never tasted anything quite excellent like this before!
Thank you so much, dear Lisboa Food Tours …
… and especially you, dear Filipa, for allowing us to sample the best Lisbon has to offer in terms of quirky little food stories, exceptional hosts & chefs and all those meaningful connections to places in the city thanks to its food & drinks. Wonderful!
Disclaimer: Thank you, dear Filipa Valente, for offering to invite me on this Taste Of Lisboa Food Tour. All opinions are my own.
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