A Snapshot from a Portuguese Summer
Dear friends of Laroot,
We were lucky enough to get to visit a few incredible places this summer, starting with Lisbon. There we discovered the beauty of Portuguese Tabernas, old school taverns that serve typical Portuguese food, where the menu is always written on a chalkboard, and there’s a family ambiance full of music and laughter. Wandering through the hilly streets of Lisbon we stumbled upon Taberna Portuguesa, where we enjoyed a classic chicken sausage and delighted in the simplicity of a chopped garlicky herbaceous tomato and the tastiest sauteed mushrooms that felt like they were foraged that morning.
We continued our Taberna tour with Taberna do Calhau, another local spot that is unassumingly excellent. We didn’t think twice before ordering the prawn with anchovies, the Sardine tomato toast, shishito peppers, and the crispy duck rice, paired with a full-bodied Portuguese natural red wine… safe to say we were blown away!
As sardine lovers we were charmed by Lisbon's commitment to the tinned fish, in the form of a shop called O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa, a colorful carnival display of cans representing every town in Portugal ! The history of the sardine in Portugal is long-lived, as sardines are loved and deeply ingrained in Portuguese culture not just in the cuisine, but also in their art, music, and literature. There is even an annual Lisbon Sardine Festival every June in honor of St Anthony of Lisbon, and it’s said the Portuguese eat 13 sardines per second on that day!
As 48 hours flew by, we felt like we barely scratched the surface of the incredibly vibrant Lisbon food scene before we were off to our next destination, the beautiful beach town of Comporta. A place that remains to be experienced is Taberna da Rua das Floras, a highly recommended spot where the line forms around the block as soon as it opens- so come early if you want to snag a table there.
In Comporta we were mesmerized on bike rides along the magical, seemingly endless rice fields that are home to storks, hummingbirds and butterflies. We enjoyed long, cozy beachside lunches where we ate freshly caught fish and potatoes. Our culture highlight was taking a ride into Grandola, and discovering a restaurant that serves regional food from Alentejo. The specials are written on a piece of paper ripped out of a notebook, the food is hearty and home-cooked, and the place is bursting with personality due to its spirited owner. At the end of our meal, we shared a drink and a toast with the owner of this special place. It was a lovely reminder of why we are always seeking, exploring and learning about different cultures & traditions - so that we can connect with and celebrate people from all walks of life!