Join us for a unique adventure outdoors where we will discover the wild plants, get a taste of coastal foraging, learn some foraging tips and taste unique wild teas. Your tour will begin at Killiney Dart Station on July 23 at 11am.
Would you like to get a taste of the Portuguese cuisine at its best? Everywhere in the world has dishes that connect the people to the land and bring us closer to the culture of a region. Getting a taste for the local flavours with some delicious dishes is one of the top ways to get to know a country and its history. Here are our top 6 must-try foods in Portugal:
The Portuguese version of the famous Spanish tapas, these mouthwatering bites are the perfect accompliment to a local beer or glass of Vinho Verde on the day by the harbour in Porto. Try the Bolinhos de Bacalhau (mini fish balls), presunto (a local traditional ham), Salada de polvo (octopus salad), Caracóis (tiny snails of the sea).
This traditional Portuguese soup translates to green broth and it eaten throughout the year. You will find it as a staple on most restaurants in portugal. When you taste it you will get a real taste of the Portuguese countryside. Often eaten as a starter course this is the perfect way to get a flavour of Portuguese cuisine. The main ingrediants include Kale, onion, garlic, potatoes and chorizo. Here’s a traditional Caldo Verde recipe from Portuguese Insider Tia Maria
More of a key ingrediant than a dish, Bacalhau is held close in the hearts of all locals in Portugal. Whether grilling it in the summer months or baking it in the winter, this fish is certainly on our list of must-try foods in Portugal.
Arroz de Tamboril
This dish also known as monkfish rice would be a savoured delicacy in other parts of the world but the readily available fish across the regions of Portugal make this a deliciously accessible meal. It is a traditional dish appreciated by locals. Key ingredients of Arroz de Tamboril includes monkfish, onion, cilantro, garlic, tomato, paprika and pepper.
Sopa de Cação
A heart warming soup filled with delicious vegetables that will fill you to the brim with energy. Yes please!
Ameijoas a bulhao Pato
Offered in most restaurant along the Atlantic coast of Portugal this is the perfect dish of shellfish on a summers day. Clam are cooked in oil, garlic, cilantro and a dash (or three) of white wine. Being so close to the sea it would be a shame not to sample the delicious seafood. Simply put this is a meal of cockles (clams) in a tasty white wine sauce. The secret is in the picking and the Portuguese shellfish farmers have made an art out of this. An extra benefit is that they are rich in fatty acids containing Omega 3 which has many health benefits.
Pastel De Natal
Last but not least the world famous Portuguese pastry of Pastel de Natal. This custard filled tart will have your mouth watering for days. Crispy on the outside, warm and creamy on the inside. What’s not to love? You will find these in bakeries and restaurants throughout Portugal. Each region has its own twist on the classic dish but all are delightful to eat.
When you think of Italy you must think of wine. Fields bursting with vines, heavy with ripened grapes and dying to be picked. Italy is home to some of our favourite vineyards and here is a simple map of the Italian wine regions to wet your tastebuds.
Romance, history and the floating city of Venice make this region of Italy a tourist hotspot. This is actually the largest wine producing region of Italy. Keeping with its romantic nature the area North of Venice is known for prosecco production as well as some refreshing white wines. It’s mediterranean micro-climates makes is perfect for producing sparkling dessert wines and you will find plenty of fizz on offer when you visit.
Discover the famous rolling hills of Tuscany when you visit any of the fantastic vineyards in this wine region. Some of the most renowned wines in the world come from this area. Wine is embedded into most aspects of life in Tuscany. The grapes hanging from the vines, the old houses on ancient vineyards and the tasty food pairings make it the perfect combination of food and nature. Chianti is certainly the most famous wine of the region and was established in 1932. Try the merlots and the cabernet sauvigan warm reds when you are in the area.
With the highest number of classified wines this area has some of Italy’s best rated wines. If you are a berry fan (as we are) then you will enjoy the red Dolcetto wine with its hint of blackberry flavour. You will stumbleupon wonderful producers around the area of Alba where you can pair the wines with the famous local truffles. If you have been lucky enough to taste an Asti wine than there is a high chance it came from Piedmont as they produce over 60 million litres of this sweet white wine each year.
Dating back to the 7th century, the wine production in this area of Italy is prolific and leave you with long lasting memories. Taste the local frizzante, sparkling wines, for a true taste of summertime.
Northern Italy is packed full of wine producing areas but Lombardy holds a special place in our hearts. Located near the Adda River, the vineyards here enjoy a mild climate and produce tantalizing red wines and sparkling delights. It’s location between the Alps and the po basin makes it an extra special place to visit at harvest time.
Medieval villages and iconic towns like Assisi make Umbria a must visit place when you are on tour in Italy. The benedictine monks were the first to plant vineyards here and the red wines are warm and bold. They have benefited from their world renowned neighbour, Tuscany and use their traditional Italian style to their advantage.
The Montepulciano grape is famous in Abruzzo and throughout the world today. This region is widely known for its rose wines and mountainous landscape.
The Verdicchio grape is a sure encounter when you visit the Marche wine region of Italy. This is an acidic, dry white wine that goes perfectly with any fish dish on offer.
When in Puglia you have reached the heel of Italy. Vineyards and olive groves create a patchwork blanket look in this region. Full bodied reds are a staple part of the diet in this area and you will enjoy getting to know the flagship primitivo grape that is famous in the towns of Lecce and Manduria.
Last but least is the Lazio wine region. Home to the capital of Italy, Rome, the volcanic hills of Lazio make the ideal landscape for crisp, white wines.
Wherever you go in Italy have a sip or two of the scrumptious wines on offer. You will learn about the land, the nature, the climate and the culture through its many delicious varieties of grapes.
Let’s take a look at some of the fruit filled vineyards of Spain. Where are the wine regions of Spain and what delicious wines can we enjoy from the areas:
Pay a visit to the home of Spanish sparkling, and immerse yourself in Cava while taking in the mountain scenery and sun-drenched beaches. We’re talking about Penedés, an area of Catalonia in north east Spain — its capital Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is less than an hour by train from Barcelona.
You’ve probably drunk plenty of this region’s delicious wines, but perhaps not considered it for a holiday…Until now. With 60,000 hectares of vines spread over three provinces, Rioja might be vast — but if you know where to go it can make an unforgettable getaway.For easy winery hopping head to Haro Train Station Wine Quarter, where you’ll find the highest concentration of century-old wineries on the planet – in September they run the Haro Wine Festival… Or if you want to get involved with people throwing over 100,000 litres of red wine at one another, arrive June 29 for the Batalla del Vino, or ‘wine battle’. The mixture of these grapes often combines sweet flavours with sour and rich, producing some of the most unique wines in the world.
Rioja wines spend extra time ageing. Joven (young) wines are released without any oak ageing and have a pure fruit character. Crianzas spend one year ageing in barrel and one in bottle. Reservas spend one year in barrel and two in bottle. Gran Reservas age in barrel for no less than two years, and three more years’ ageing in bottles.
Finally, Jerez, the ancient heartland of Andalucía and fountainhead of Sherry wines. Forget any preconceptions you may have about all Sherry being sickly sweet or for nonagenarians — it’s multiplicity is staggering and it’s prized in the hippest hottest tabancos.
You won’t have to work hard to get a taste, the city is packed with bodegas and every pavement has its bars, with tables made from blackened Sherry butts.You can also wander about the small, flat town centre on foot, confident in the knowledge you’re never far from a cool glass of fino.In the early morning or evening, climb to the top of the Moorish fortress Alcázar, the view of Jerez vineyards stretching to the horizon is well worth the effort.
The Valencia wine region is one of the oldest in Spain. Grapes have grown in Valencia since the Neolithic Era. Most of the wine produced here is exported around the world, putting Valencia on the international wine map!
Though it is situated along Spain’s east coast, most of the vineyards are located deeper inland. The sandy, chalky, limestone-rich soil of Valencia produces a wide variety of wines, including world-famous Moscato grapes.The ageing process in Valencia is different than that of Rioja or Ribera del Duero. Crianza wines are only cask-aged for three months, while Reserva wines are aged for no less than six months.
CASTILLA Y LEON
This region of Spain producers some of the most renowned wines such as Ribera del Duero, Rueda and Bierzo. The traditional wine making in the area dates back to Romans. The red wines are held in high regard with the tempranillo of Castilla y Leon making it to restaurant tables throughout the world. In addition to it’s famous wines, this region is home to some of Spains most important historical sites, with over 300 castles and 400 musems.
Most famous for the crisp, white Albariño grapes, Galicia offers everything to the budding wine enthusiast. Located on the Atlantic coastline the Rías Baixas this region of Southwest Spain offers some of the best vineyard experiences. To sample some of the best known Rias Baixes wines head to the old town of Pontevedra or the lively city of Vigo for some tasters.
For a taste of the wine regions of Spain you can try some of our taste trails in the different regions or contact us to arrange a private grape picking experience.
I don’t know about you but everytime we get outdoors we feel a renewed sense of self. I feel the wind in my face, smell the freshly mowed fields and have a chance to make some head space for new thoughts. So why should be get back to nature and spend a little more time outdoors. Here are eight great reasons we think nature has it’s benefits:
Mental health and wellbeing
Calming effect – Better mood
Increases attention and sharpens your focus
Relax and reflect
The above list is by no means definitive. Every positive reason to get back to nature can be associated with looking after your mental health and well-being. Nature provides an escape from your daily routine, an excuse to get off the screens that invade our everyday and a way to reconnect with the world around us.
At OrchardsNearme.com we go to grow. Every experience allows us to immerse ourselves in the culture, history and food of the places we visit. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the sun kissed vines of the Duoro Valley, there is so much to be explored. Every moment of your orchard adventure is unique and will leave you with long lasting memories. Here are some of the top orchard experiences we would suggest: