Most European cities I go to, I find are great for a single trip but couldn’t imagine revisiting. Porto bucks that trend.
Holidays for me are about discovery through the local cuisine and wine. The thymey scent of the Luberon air can be found in both the herbal scents of the Rhone reds, and flavouring of the local Provencal beef daubes. Food and drink do more than bring together a place in harmony: they are the place.
Porto has a deep-seated history as the home of port wine: a fortified wine that adds brandy to stop the fermentation process and give the wines a high degree of sweetness and ageing potential.
Growing up, port had that bad reputation: cheap, sweet, sickly, dusty in the back of the alcohol cabinet. Now as a wine lover, it’s something I love, but in moderation and at the right time.
In Porto, the local winemakers, and riverside bar owners seem driven to try and change that. Port-based cocktails and mixers are available on most bar menus. Last year in London white port and tonic had made its way to the classier of drinks establishments.
This year, there’s one addition that needs brining over: two shots of tawny port, bitters, orange slice, topped up with soda. I saw it branded the ‘Bliss’, which I think might need a rename: bars of London take note for summer.
This week’s issue is a Porto Taste special.