Portugal Wine Ladies in Lisbon

Portugal Wine Ladies in Lisbon

Twelve ladies got together to show off their wines and wineries, a small event held at the lovely Altis Belem Hotel in Lisbon. What a brilliant idea!

Do you feel intimidated by wine events where all the wineries tell their story on a very professional wording, adding a lot of jargon and addressing us as they were standing in front of sommeliers?
Well, you are not the only one. Most of the times I would prefer to listen to a wine story in plain english, with people that enjoy drinking wine – like me – in mind. But that isn’t a reason to keep you away from wine events, you just need to go more often, at least that’s my plan to learn.

While I have studied Portuguese wines at college I am not near a wine professional, sure I am familiar with the Portuguese terroirs, grape varieties and how wines are made. But I can resume it to: I enjoy tasting and drink wines full stop.

The Portugal Wine Ladies event had a first day for professionals and a second day open to the public. I went on Saturday afternoon – the second day – however I’m afraid that most of the Wine Ladies used more jargon than was really needed, what made me for sometimes to just nod. Even on a non-professional day I could easily spot several well-trained wine connoisseurs.

Greeted by a Wine Box display
Greeted by a Wine Box display
The event room - photo courtesy of Altis Belém Hotel
The event room – photo courtesy of Altis Belém Hotel

Each winery had between 4 to 6 wines to offer, there was a total of 60 wines to taste, as you can imagine much beyond my capacity. I know I could just smell, check the colour, taste and spit like a pro, but I was on a “enjoy the moment of sipping a little wine” mood.

So a small selection of what was offered made me happy, I tried to select wines from different regions and more reds than whites. I started with the whites and this one made my afternoon – Mirabilis – a Douro valley Grande Reserva – sweet, citrus, strong – an amazing delicious wine from Quinta Nova. Actually the name says it all: Marvellous!
That’s the kind of white wine that I can perfectly see myself drinking during winter, I’m only been kept of doing it on a daily basis due to the price tag (around € 30,00 per bottle).

From the reds, Quinta de Chocapalha winery conquered my heart even before I tasted the wine, Alice the “wine lady” got it right from the beginning, and we could hear her passion while she described the wines and terroir. She introduced me to her new wine “Mar de Lisboa” – which means, Lisbon’s sea. It’s a red fruity wine and a very light one from the Lisbon Region. It’s a much more affordable bottle, around € 5,00, which I plan to add to my personal “cellar” as my everyday red wine.

Mar de Lisboa (Lisbon's Sea)
Mar de Lisboa (Lisbon’s Sea)

A final note to Joana Pinhão, which introduced me to the Van Zellers wines, red wines from Douro valley region. On top of my list for future purchases.

I hope that this was the first of many events for the Portugal Wine Ladies. I left the event with a long list of Portuguese wines I want to try.

If you are in Lisbon next weekend (1st to 3rd of November), there will be a Wine Market at Campo Pequeno.

No visit to Altis Belem Hotel has ended without a visit to the 38º41' bar, and it's opens views to the river.
No visit to Altis Belem Hotel has ended without passing by 38º41′ bar, and enjoying it’s open views to the river.

Tomatada – a hot tomato soup with poached eggs

Tomatada – a hot tomato soup with poached eggs

After making two batches of tomato jam, some spicy chutney for fish, and even musaq’a (a middle east dish with aubergines, tomato and chickpeas). I think it’s time to enjoy Tomatada before the tomato season comes to an end.

You need sweet over ripe tomatoes to make this delicious hot tomato soup with poached eggs. No canned tomatoes, nor sugar, neither carrot is allowed. You really need to find the most fully developed tomatoes to enjoy the soup’s unique flavour.


Serves 5

1kg of ripe tomatoes
500 ml of water
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
5 eggs
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp of olive oil
Herb bouquet: Fresh oreganos, mint and parsley
Fresh ground black pepper
Alentejo’s Bread

1 chouriço (portuguese chourizo)
1 large red sweet pepper + 2 garlic cloves chopped

1. Peel and thin slice the onions.
2. Peel and chop the 3 garlic cloves.
3. Peel and chop the tomatoes (keep the juices, do not drain the tomatoes)
4. Remove the skin to the chouriço, and slice it.
5. Put a heavy saucepan on low heat, add the chouriço and let it fry on its own fat. As soon as the chouriço is crispy remove it from the pan and set aside. Keep the melted fat in the pan.
6. Add the olive oil, onions and garlic to the pan. Keep the low-heat and let them cook until soft.
7. Add the tomatoes, 250 ml of water, the herb bouquet, the bay leaf and season it with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to your taste. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes on a very low heat. Stir often.
The need to add the extra 250 ml of water will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are and if you like your soup more of a thick sauce or a watery soup. Keep adding it along the cooking process to reach the desired consistency.
8. Roast the bell pepper, remove skin and seeds. Cut the pepper into thin stripes. Place the pepper on a bowl add the 2 chopped garlic cloves. Season with olive oil and salt. Set aside.
9. As soon as the tomatoes are cooked. Check the seasoning.
If you like to keep the soup like a sauce, poach the eggs separately on water.
If you like your soup more watery, poach the eggs directly into the soup. Cover the pan and let them cook for around 4 minutes.
Serve immediately, with bread slices, olives, the chouriço and the roasted sweet peppers.

I have offered the roasted sweet red pepper as a side dish because one of my kids doesn’t really enjoy the flavour. But you can add the raw sweet pepper strips to the soup at the same time as the tomatoes and let it cook.
Other Portuguese sausages can be cooked together with the chouriço, for example morcela (a portuguese blood sausage) and farinheira (a smoked sausage which the main ingredients are: pork, garlic, flour, pepper, potatoes).

This recipe is from the Portuguese Cuisine of Alentejo’s region, south Portugal.

Bom proveito! (Enjoy it!)