2018 “Discover Portugal” Cuisine & Culture Experience

Another UNIQUE Cooking Passions “Small-Group” Cuisine & Culture Experience

“This long-overlooked sliver of a country in southwestern Europe has suddenly become the hottest travel destination around, named by several outlets as the place to visit in 2017. Offering good food, rich history, great vistas, a temperate climate, and just about the closest thing Europe has to a bargain, what’s not to love?”
Neil Swidey, The Boston Globe

Get your sense of adventure and tastebuds ready and join Nico & Belinda Moretti of Cooking Passions Cooking School as they escort a small group of only 10 people to experience one of Europe’s oldest and fascinating cultures on their 2018 “Discover Portugal” Cuisine & Culture Experience!
If your idea of great travel experiences includes friendly locals, exotic architecture, medieval castles, cobblestone villages, captivating cities & appealingly authentic seaside villages, great wine (and Port, of course) and a generations-perfected cuisine that is fresh, authentic and full of flavours then the Portugal experience is a must visit!
The unassuming country of Portugal is quietly taking strides into the limelight. First-time visitors are usually struck by the friendliness of the people, the affordable food and wine, and the diversity of a country that is relatively easy to travel around in just a few days. Its cities – notably Lisbon and Porto – amply showcase Portugal’s former role as a maritime superpower that ruled the waves from Brazil to East Asia.
Our “Discover Portugal” experience will explore the country from Lisbon, one of western Europe’s sunniest and prettiest cities; to Porto, with its amazing history, medieval old town and fascinating Port history; and then onto the breathtakingly beautiful Douro Valley with its kilometres of spectacular terraced vineyards. And that’s before we start exploring its food…


– 11 Days / 10 Nights –
Tuesday 16 October 2018 to Friday 26 October 2018

We are currently accepting “Expressions of Interest” from clients
interested in receiving pre-release details of our 2020 “Discover Portugal” Experience.

€5125 per person  (Double or Twin Occupancy)
Single Supplement (Own Room) + €1065 per person

*ALL INCLUSIVE LAND CONTENT including 10 nights Deluxe Accommodation; Included meals daily as per itinerary; Cuisine, Wine, Port & Culture Experiences as per itinerary; Portuguese Cooking Class/Demonstration; All Land Transportation, All Private Guided Tours; Two English-speaking Private Group Escorts; Tour Photographer; Registered Nurse

Cooking Passions Cuisine & Culture Tours
Cooking Passions Cuisine & Culture Tours are designed so you can do as little or as much as you like, while allowing you plenty of free time to explore and immerse yourselves in the sights, shopping and eating that YOU want to experience (we’ll be happy to provide suggestions from our previous experiences). We’ve arranged all of the accommodations, land transfers, cooking classes, private guides and most meals, so that all you have to do is pack a bag, a sense of adventure and join us on one of our delicious & exciting culinary journeys.
Cooking Passions “Discover Portugal” Highlights
Portugal Facts


HISTORY –  Portugal has a rich and interesting history. It is one of Europe’s oldest nations, an ancient kingdom defended by hilltop castles and dramatic walled towns. One of the ancient Celtic nations, Portugal history included the Romans, Moors, the “Age of Discoveries” which established Portugal as a 14th century superpower, and the last dictator in Western Europe. Portugal was technically considered a country in 1143 after an array of power struggles and invasions, and joined the European Union in 1968. Following the lasting legacy of over four decades of Dictator António Oliveira Salazar’s harsh regime and isolationism policies, which saved Portugal from taking part in both World Wars, the revolution of 1974 which saw the overthrow of Salazar’s regime was the starting point of Portugal’s journey to its modern day democracy.

PEOPLE/CULTURE – The Portuguese people are incredibly friendly, warm and hospitable. As a small country which shares a border with the much larger and more powerful Spain, and as a Canadian, I felt that Portugal and its people are very similar to Canadians who also live in the shadow of its larger neighbour, who at times can be loud and arrogant about their privileges and power. The Portuguese have always held their own strong sense of identity and national pride against its larger neighbours, and are recognised as some of the friendliest, unassuming and fun-loving cultures in the world! The Portuguese population gives rise to a number of cultural festivals that are immensely attended by fervent citizens who love to take part in the events that retell their history, express their roots, and come together as a community. The folklore is vibrant and there is often traditional music played, home-made items for sharing, and elegant artwork including their famous azulejos – the beautiful blue paintings on white tile. The religious disposition among the people have inspired beautiful structures, art, and sentiments while also infusing the locals with bold personalities that can be very entertaining and fun!

CUISINE – Portuguese cuisine is born from the earth & the sea. It is hearty peasant fare full of strong flavours, many charting the culinary history of the country. There is no place in the world where seafood is more adored and masterfully prepared than on the coasts of Portugal. Then there is its famous dried salt cod or bacalhau which changed the course of Portuguese history. When it was discovered that the beautiful white fish caught in the cold Scandinavian waters could be dried and kept for long periods, sailors were able to go on long voyages of discovery to new lands, which then opened up trade routes. So loved is bacalhau now that there are recipe books entirely devoted to it, with a range of recipes from around the country. From fresh fish to octopus, you will not only find it all, but you’ll taste the sea like never before. The treat for your taste buds doesn’t stop at the delicacies of the sea but continues into vegetable dishes and fantastic desserts, highlighted by its most adored and popular Portuguese Custard Tarts – Pastéis de Nata.

PORT & WINE – Wine has been produced in Portugal’s Duoro valley for centuries. There are records of viticulture back to the time of the later Roman period.

Port is protected by European Union Designation of Origin so it can only come from grapes grown in the Douro region of Portugal – along the north east border, where the microclimate is perfect for vineyards. This is actually the oldest protected wine region in the world. The searing temperatures in the region meant that although the wine was made in the Douro, it had to be taken downriver to the cooler coastal climate of Portugal’s second city, Oporto, to be stored before shipping, and consequently became known as port. The process used makes it stronger and sweeter than normal wines, but it has to age in wooden barrels or sealed glass bottles for a number of years before it’s ready for drinking.

In a world long dominated by France, Spain, and Italy, Portugal’s wines seem finally to have emerged from the shadows. True wine aficionados may already know the secrets of Portuguese soil, but a majority of wine drinkers don’t know what they’re missing. Centuries of economic isolation had prevented trade with countries like Spain and France, forcing Portuguese growers to perfect their own grape varieties. Portugal has more than 200 indigenous grapes, only a few of which have traveled beyond the country’s borders. And while much of the wine world has been focused on Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Portugal has been developing a clutch of lesser known—yet no less impressive—wines.

2018 “Discover Portugal” Itinerary

Day 1 – Tuesday 16 October 2018 – ARRIVAL / LISBON

Lisbon –  Portugal’s capital and Europe’s second oldest capital city after Athens, continues to sit at the top of travel itineraries, and visitors usually can’t wait to sink their teeth into authentic pasteis de nata, try one of the many bacalhau dishes, and explore the Portuguese calçadas (traditional mosaic walkways). Despite the boom in tourism, Lisbon is still one of the most tranquil and affordable capitals in Europe. Visitors can anticipate winding, narrow roads, and phenomenal lookout points – walking at night is also a treat. In Alfama, mouthwatering aromas and wistful melodies (known as fado) drift from cozy restaurants that line the narrow, cobblestone labyrinth of streets. Don’t miss Chiado, the trendy district with the oldest bookstore in the world, or boho-chic Bairro Alto, which comes alive at night. Great weather and plenty of sunlight means there’s never a bad time to visit Lisbon.

14:00pm – Check in to our Lisbon accommodation – Lisbon Five Stars Apartment – ideally located in the centre of Lisbon.
Accommodation: Lisbon Five Stars Apartment – Praça Dom Luís

Located in Lisbon’s historical centre, the newly restored Lisbon Five Star Apartments “8 Building” is one of Lisbon’s reference buildings from the 1950’s. It’s central location is perfectly placed to explore Lisbon’s lively Mercado da Ribeira;  the famous “pink street” entertainment district and Lisbon’s waterfront area. It is also a short walk to Cais do Sodré train and tube stations. Its façade reveals a building with character and its clock tower provides breathtaking views towards the river Tagus.
To allow you to relax in more space than a traditional European hotel can offer, we have arranged for our accommodation to be in Building 8’s One-Bedroom Apartments. The newly renovated apartments offer 60m2 of living space including a kitchenette, living room, one bathroom and wifi, as well as views towards Lisbon’s River Tagus.
19:00pm – Welcome Group Dinner.

AccommodationLisbon Five Stars Apartment – “Building 8”

(Included Meals: D)

Day 2 – Wednesday October 17th 2018 – Lisbon

am – Breakfast at your leisure
10:00am – To familiarise ourselves with one of Europe’s oldest capital cities, this morning we have arranged a guided walking tour of a few of Lisbon’s main attractions. Lisbon’s 3,000 years of proud history has always been on the edge, where land meets sea and Europe meets Africa, making this a city built on exploration, conquest and adventure. From the rise and fall of a global empire, to the clutches and release of a reclusive dictatorship, from a city destroyed by earthquake, to a rebuilt cultural destination, we will experience this stunning city and its fascinating history.

Lunch & Afternoon at your leisure – Following our walking exploration of some of Lisbon’s main central sites, spend the afternoon in the charming Alfama district, travelling on Lisbon’s famous Tram 28.

Alfama – The Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. Much of Lisbon’s heritage is condensed into the wonderfully preserved sights of culturally rich and charming Alfama, where guests can notice some traces of both the Arabic influence and Lisbon’s fishing past. Alfama’s narrow alleys and small squares invite you to explore its hidden corners, unique fish smells, the sounds of Fado, and fresh laundry hanging out of the windows – all of these create a friendly local community of people, who, despite having a rather humble lodging by today’s standards, remain open-minded and shine with happiness.

pm – Remainder of the evening at your leisure. For those that are interested, we can head up to one of Lisbon’s many “miradouros” or viewpoints for a pre-dinner drink and view of the sunset. Lisbon’s superb natural setting, spread across seven hills facing the Tagus River, offers a network of terraces from which to contemplate the beauty of the city. Popular with locals, day and night, everyone has their favorite and you’ll also find your own. You’ll discover many others by chance as you wander around the narrow streets and staircases that often frame staggering vistas.


AccommodationLisbon Five Stars Apartment – “Building 8”

(Included Meals: B)

Day 3 – Thursday 18 October 2018 – FREE DAY (Sintra & Cascais Optional Visit)

am – Breakfast at your leisure. Today is an opportunity for you to do as much or as little as you like and explore Lisbon at your leisure. For those that are interested, join Nico & Belinda for the short train trip to the famous village of Sintra. Due to its popularity, an early start will ensure that we can enjoy the town before the crowds of tourists arrive later in the morning. Following our morning visit to Sintra, we can then head towards the seaside village of Cascais for a seaside lunch and visit of this former fishing village.

Sintra – Just 40 minutes and a world away from Lisbon is a land of castles and palaces. With its cool, lush hills and proximity to the Atlantic coast, Sintra is where Portuguese royals used to spend their summers. Today, the concentration of these former regal estates and equally fanciful gardens has turned this UNESCO World Heritage site into a popular day-trip destination. After seeing the 19th-century Romantic architecture, cobblestone streets, and dense forests, you’ll understand why Lord Byron once referred to the town as a “glorious Eden.”

Cascais is a delightful Portuguese fishing town, and is the Lisbon’s coastline most popular holiday destination. The town is situated on a beautiful coastline, and during the summer it is a bustling resort, with a buzzing holiday atmosphere. Historically, Cascais was a minor fishing village, until King Luís I (1838 – 1889) chose it as his royal summer retreat. Trailing the Portuguese nobility were the high society of Portugal, who in turn constructed lavish villas, ornate mansions and exquisite gardens. Today, Cascais is an elegant fusion of decorative 19th-century architecture, traditional Portuguese charm and outstanding tourist facilities, which together creates a magnificent holiday destination.

pm – Dinner tonight will be across the road from our apartment accommodation at Time Out Lisboa, housed in the Mercado da Ribeira, the oldest and largest food market in Lisbon. Transformed by Time Out magazine in 2014, Lisbon’s 122 year-old urban market is now an overwhelming foodie free-for-all of 40 food stalls, several of which are run by award-winning chefs and Lisbon’s top restaurants. This is the first market in the world where everything has been chosen, tasted, and tested by an independent panel of journalists and critics. You’ll find everything from some of Lisbon’s finest seafood to tuna sandwich on bolo de coco (carob bread) to Henrique Sa Pessoa’s suckling pig to artisanal cheeses and charcuterie from Manteigaria Silva.

AccommodationLisbon Five Stars Apartment – “Building 8”

(Included Meals: B)

Day 4 – Friday 19 October 2018 – Lisbon 

am – Breakfast at your leisure.
10:00am – This morning we will meet up with food journalist and Lisbon local, Célia Pedroso for a half-day Lisbon Culinary Gourmet Walk. Célia co-authored the book “Eat Portugal”, winner of a Gourmand World Cookbook Award. Our walk will take us through Lisbon’s greatest market, the Mercado da Ribeira, with a crash course in the building blocks of Portuguese cuisine through the various fishmongers, produce sellers, butchers and artisanal producers of breads and local olive oils. We will then set out to visit some of the time honoured establishments in the neighbourhoods around the market.

pm – Remainder of the afternoon at your leisure.
20:00pm – Final Lisbon Group Dinner

AccommodationLisbon Five Stars Apartment – “Building 8”

(Included Meals: B, L, D)


Day 5 – Saturday 20 October 2018 – Obidos & Aveiro

am – Breakfast at your leisure.
9:00am – Check out from our Lisbon accommodation and Group Transfer to Aveiro, with visits to two picturesque Portuguese towns enroute – Óbidos & Costa Nova.
10:30am – Guided tour of the medieval town of Óbidos.

Óbidos – The picturesque and well preserved town was settled prior to the Romans’ arrival in the Iberian Peninsula, and the town prospered after being chosen by the royal family. King Dinis offered it to his wife, Queen Isabel, in the 13th century, and it became part of Casa das Rainhas (Queens’ Estate), who improved and enriched it throughout the various dynasties. Óbidosradiates Portuguese charm, from the narrow cobble streets, the quaint houses, and through to the imposing medieval castle which once guarded the region.

– Visit to the seaside village of Costa Nova and their brightly striped “haystacks“.

Costa Nova – Throughout the 19th century, Costa Nova’s traditional structures were used by fishermen as storage and shelters for seamen and the fishing boats of the nearby Aveiro Lagoon. Over the years they have been further converted into living spaces where fishermen and their families have used them as beach houses.

14:00pm – Arrival at Aveiro and check in to our hotel – Hotel Moliceiro.

Aveiro – Established in Roman times, Aveiro was initially known as Aviarium, meaning, “a gathering place or preserve of birds“. As a seaport, Aveiro was at its most important in the Middle Ages, up to the end of the 16th century. The gradual silting up of the River Vouga and a great winter storm of 1575, which formed a sandbar across the river mouth, led to the demise of Aveiro’s port. As well as fishing, the town’s other major industries were based around the shallow lagoons that seperate Aveiro from the Atlantic. Here vast saltpans were formed and a salt making industry grew that still exists to this day, although not on quite the same scale. It was salt from this area that allowed the Portuguese to colonise the world on endless sea voyages, with the salt used to preserve the cod the Portuguese fished for from Canada’s Newfoundland area across to Norway’s northern waters. Another industry based around the lagoon is that of seaweed harvesting, the produce of which is used as a natural fertiliser. Dubbed ‘The Venice of Portugal‘, the town has both canals and gondola like boats. The boats are known as barcos moliceiros and are in fact the traditional flat bottomed boats used for collecting seaweed from the lagoon.

pm – After check in, the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to explore the town of Aveiro.
19:00pm – Group dinner at one of Aveiro’s best seafood restaurants.

AccommodationHotel Moliceiro – Aveiro

(Included Meals: B, D)

Day 6 – Sunday 21 October 2018 – Porto

am – Breakfast at your leisure then check out from hotel.
10:00am – Aveiro canal cruise on one of Aveiro’s brightly painted moliceiro boats as we explore the canals and channels of Aveiro where we will see the historic centre of the town, the salt pans and historic salt storage warehouses and Aveiro’s cultural centre.

11:00am – Group departure for Porto.

Porto – Portugal’s second largest city opens up like a pop-up book from the Rio Douro.  Humble-yet-opulent Porto entices with its higgledy-piggledy medieval centre, divine food and wine, and charismatic locals. With its medieval heart, contemporary buzz, magnificent gold-leaf-laced churches, and, as the author JK Rowling discovered when she lived and taught here, there is something inspirational about it that tempts you back. Porto’s most striking characteristic is that of ‘faded grandeur’. In Europe there are very few remaining cities that can do ‘faded grandeur’ quite on the scale of Porto, you’d have to travel to Cuba or Argentina for competition. The feeling is accentuated by the mix of Baroque, Neoclassical and splash of Belle Epoque architecture in varying degrees of preservation.

12noon – Pre-Check In (our rooms won’t be ready until 2pm) to our accommodation which is located on Porto’s waterfront in the UNESCO World Heritage Centre known as The Ribeira.  Originally the centre of commerce for the city, with big sail ships docking and unloading at the Cais da Ribeira, the Ribeira is centred on the Praca da Ribeira, a sloping square with pavement bars and flanked by colourful 4 or 5 storey blocks with washing permanently hanging from the balconies. Now-a-days the area is the city’s most popular night spot, with a plethora of small bars, cafes and night clubs scattered around the square, riverside and numerous winding streets.
AccommodationPorto River Apartments
We have arranged for One-Bedroom apartments of 41m2 to allow you more room to relax during our exploration of Porto. Porto River Apartments is located in a 17th century historic waterfront building in the heart of the Ribeira. It’s 16 newly renovated apartments combine history and comfort in a fusion of authenticity and modern.

Each apartment has pine-wood floorboards, exposed stone walls and crisp white linen which creates a rustic yet contemporary look. Big windows flood rooms with natural light and our selected apartments for the group include river views with the city’s iconic Dom Luís I Bridge as your backdrop, as well as Porto’s famous Port Houses located a short walk across the Douro River in Vila Nova de Gaia.  The São Bento train station and main square, Praça da Liberdade, are a 10-minute walk up the hill.

13:30pm – Once we have dropped off our luggage, we will go for a short 2km walk, to become familiar with our Porto location, as we head to lunch at the 1* Michelin-starred Antiqvvm in Porto.

Antiqvvm – Chef Vitor Matos Michelin-starred restaurant is where he indulges his passion for the use of the freshest seasonal products harvested from the region. His cuisine leans towards Mediterranean influences, embracing both traditional and contemporary techniques. Matos started out studying confections and pastries in Neuchâtel., Switzerland, and later worked his way through the kitchens of some of Portugal’s top hotels, such as Vidago Palace and Tiara Park. He earned his first Michelin star while head chef at Largo do Paço in Amarante. His high-quality cuisine is enhanced by stunning views over Porto from the refurbished 19th century Quinta da Macieirinha.

pm – The remainder of the evening is available for you to relax. For those that are interested, and are interested in just a little late night bite, we can go for a walk to explore some of Porto’s historic centre and go to sample a “taste” of one of Porto’s most famous dishes, the Francesinha, which translates as the “Little Frenchie“. This is Porto’s decadent answer to France’s “Croque Madame” and is not for the faint hearted. It’s a huge meat-filled toasted sandwich topped with egg and cheese, smothered in a beer-based sauce, and always served with French fries.

AccommodationPorto River Apartments

(Included Meals: B, L)

Day 7 – Monday October 22nd 2018 – Porto 

am – Breakfast at your leisure
10:30am – 1:30pm – This morning we have arranged for a private guided walking tour of Porto. Our 3-hour tour will walk us through the vibrant history of one of Europe’s oldest cities where we will discover some of its still hidden gems. Sites include the charm of Porto’s old town, the beautiful azulejo-tiled clad Sao Bento Train Station and explanations of Porto’s history brought to life by one of Porto’s locals.

pm – Remainder of the afternoon at your leisure. Suggested visits are to walk in the shoes of author J K Rowling, who wrote much of Harry Potter while living in Porto, visiting the Livraria Lello Bookstore (the inspiration to Diagon Alley’s premium bookstore, Flourish and Blotts) and has been voted one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, as well as visiting one of Porto’s most exclusive cafes, the beautiful belle époque Cafe Majestic where Rowling began to pen the first chapters of Harry Potter.

18:00pm – Prior to our visit to the Douro Valley tomorrow, this evening we have arranged for our introduction to Port at one of the newest Port Wine Cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia. Here we will learn Port’s fascinating voyage –  from grapes grown on the steep terraces upriver in the warm Alto Douro region until the juice arrives in Vila Nova de Gaia to be transformed into fortified wine and slowly aged in the temperate maritime climate before being tasted and shipped around the world.

Vila Nova de Gaia (simply ‘Gaia‘ to locals) is the hub of Portugal’s port wine industry and a sort walk over the beautiful Dom Luis 1 Bridge. The village takes you back to the 17th-century beginnings of port-wine production, when British merchants transformed wine into the post-dinner tipple of choice by adding a dash of brandy. This is the real Port Wine town; it’s where the grand lodges of the historic port wine producers are strung out along the “Ribeira” or water-front with their caves, aging tanks, and tasting rooms. Signs emblazoned with English names dominate the rooftops of lodges in the upper areas of the steep bank, while the home town producers’ modest lodges are more often found tucked into the lower slopes. They’re all here because in 1225 King Alfonso gave Vila Nova de Gaia town status, then quickly handed it off to the aristocracy because the bishops of Oporto were charging unreasonable shipping charges on the wines. Despite the “new-sounding” name, Gaia sits on a pre-Roman hamlet. A few of the most famous port lodges include Sandeman, Cálem, Graham’s, Taylor’s and Quinta do Noval.

18:30pm – Private tour, tasting and dinner at Churchill’s Port in Vila da Gaia.

Churchill’s Port grew from John Graham’s desire to continue his family’s historic Port making tradition, which dates back to 1820,  by setting up a company to produce his own, individual style of wine. In only 30 years of trading the company has built an enviable reputation for producing Port Wines of the highest quality, reflected by their impressive performance at comparative tastings over this time. All Churchill’s ports are produced at the Quinta da Gricha winery in the traditional granite “lagares” or foot-treading tanks built in 1852. Foot-treading achieves a gentle but thorough maceration of the grapes and skins without damaging the pips and thereby extracts the necessary colour and tannins whilst still preserving the fresh, natural grape aromas and flavours.

AccommodationPorto River Apartments

(Included Meals: B, D)

Day 8 – Tuesday October 23rd 2018 – Douro Valley

am – Breakfast at your leisure
9:30am – Check out from our apartments then Group Transfer to Portugal’s famous Douro Valley.

11:00am – Short visit to the Casa de Mateus (Mateus Palace) in the town of Vila Real, which is enroute to our final destination of Peso da Régua.

Casa de Mateus – Built in the first half of the 18th century, this palace set in beautiful gardens on a vast farm is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque civil architecture in Portugal. The Mateus Palace, was designed by Italian-born architect Nicolau Nasoni in extravagant style for the 3rd Morgado of Mateus and is depicted on every bottle of the wine that bears its name. The property is still owned by his descendants and the Mateus Foundation.Its interior decoration includes some intricately carved wood ceilings, furniture from several periods, 17th and 18th century paintings, silverware, ceramics and a library with a remarkable edition of the epic poem Os Lusíadas. The palace grounds include a chapel, water garden, a garden of box hedges in filigree patterns and a “Túnel de Cedro” natural tunnel made from interlinking cedar branches.

12:30pm – Arrival in Peso da Régua, our base for our visit to the Douro Valley. There is time before our 2pm check in at our hotel for a brief lunch stop where those that are interested in visiting the Museu de Douro can do so, or there are a number of bars & restaurants nearby that offer wine tastings of some of the Douro’s various estates. The Douro Museum is housed in the fully restored and adapted Casa da Companhia Velha, a building that is emblematic of the history of the world’s oldest demarcated and regulated wine region.
14:00pm – Check in at Quinta do Vallado. Remainder of the afternoon to relax on the grounds of the property.

Quinta do Vallado – Cousins Francisco Ferreira and João Alvares Ribeiro are the owners of the Quinta do Vallado, in the neighbourhood of Regua directly on the Corgo river. Vallado was once counted among the landholdings of the legendary Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, who in the 19th century evinced unimaginable dynamism, extreme vision and entrepreneurial dexterity, building a veritable empire. Her descendants Francisco and João have evidently inherited her shrewd business sense, as well as a deep love of the Douro. They have developed the Quinta do Vallado into one of the most dynamic enterprises on the Douro, built a charming and romantic country hotel next to the winery, and created a cult-wine to honour the great matriarch: Adelaide.

The 13 room boutique Wine Hotel first hosted guests in 2005 after refurbishing the original 1733 manor house which once belonged to Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. The winery itself was architect-redesigned and modernised in 2009, making bold use of local materials. We have arranged for rooms in the new wing build in 2012 which includes 8 rooms, a library, a chic living room and a dining room. This striking building has large glass windows overlooking the Corgo valley, cut-slate walls and wooden floors. The ethos is to use only Portuguese materials, products and produce (if possible from Douro or Porto) – from the slate to the toiletries to the goats’ cheese. Its restaurant features flavours and regional specialties enhanced by excellent home-grown wines. Other activities include spending time poolside, having a massage, or use one of the hotel bicycles to explore the area.

17:00pm – Private in-house guest winery tour and tasting at Quinta do Vallado’s winery premises, a short walk from the hotel. Although we should have missed the annual grape harvest which usually takes place towards the end of September, depending on the weather during the growing season, the tour will take us through the process of producing port and still wines from the property including the use of the “lagardes“, in which all grapes used to produce port are crushed by teams of workers with their feet, a tradition that has continued since the 17th century.

19:30pm – For those that would like to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif, we can meet in the Quinta’s private lounge room before dinner.

20:00pm – Quinta do Vallado Wine Dinner

AccommodationQuinta do Vallado

(Included Meals: B, D)

Day 9 – Wednesday October 24th 2018 – Douro Valley

am – Breakfast at your leisure
9:00am – Group Departure for the charming village of Pinhao.

Pinhão – Encircled by terraced hillsides that produce some of the world’s best port – and some stellar table wines, too, pretty little Pinhão sits on a particularly lovely bend of the Rio Douro, about 25km upriver from Peso da Régua. Wineries and their competing signs dominate the scene. Even the delightful train station has azulejos (hand-painted tiles) depicting the grape harvest.

10:00am – Winery Tour & Tasting at Symington’s Quinta do Bomfim estate in Pinhao, one of the Douro’s oldest and most respected vineyards. This historic Douro estate is situated on the north bank of the Douro River adjoining the village of Pinhão, the crossroads of the Upper Douro. The visit includes the old lodge built in 1896, one of the most magnificent such structures in the Douro Valley. This vast vat and barrel cellar, with its extraordinarily complex roof-structure, has been used for over one hundred years to hold all the Port Wines from every harvest at the estate before they are taken downriver to Vila Nova de Gaia for further maturing.

‘We are rather a curious blend of nationalities; a mixture of Scottish rationality and hard work, English common sense
and Portuguese flair, emotion and romanticism.’ 
Paul Symington

Symington’s Quinta do Bomfim – The Symington family, with Scottish, English and Portuguese ancestry has been present in the Douro for five generations — since 1882 — and through the current generation’s great grandmother, the family’s links to the wines of the Douro span 14 generations, to the mid-17th century and to the very beginnings of the history of Port. Symington Family Estates is an entirely family-owned and managed company and is one of the leading quality Port producers, responsible for the making of approximately 32% of all premium Port categories. Five of the family, Paul, Johnny, Rupert, Dominic and Charles work together maintaining the vineyards and making the wines of their four historic Port houses: Graham’s, Cockburn’s, Dow’s and Warre’s. The Symington family are the only Douro producer to have made a Port in the 21st century that merited a perfect 100 points from Wine Spectator; Dow’s 2007 Vintage Port. The family’s dedication to the wines of the Douro was further recognized when Wine Spectator ranked Dow’s 2011 Vintage Port as the Nº 1 Wine of the Year in 2014.

11:15am – Douro River Wine Cruise – A short walk from Quinta do Bomfim, we will board Pipadouro’s “Friendship 1” historical boat for a two hour cruise along the Douro River while enjoying a couple of glasses of wine and admiring the spectacular terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley.

Pipadouro – “Friendship 1” – Gentleman’s Vintage Boat

This 66ft Wooden Yacht Classic was built in Christchurch, Southern England in 1957 at the request of the British Royal Navy. It has a double hull made of Honduras mahogany, copper riveted and is powered by two 308 HP GM engines. “Friendship 1” had been used by the Royal Navy in the mission of transporting its Admirals in their travelling to high sea for the exchange of officers in Warships. As this is an English boat, comfort could not help but be a feature, because it was a boat of the highest patents of the Royal Navy. Pipadouro is also proud of having a crystal Oporto Wine Decanter that is in the bar since the boat’s first mission. In 2007, it was restored with great care in order to retain its structural originality and incorporate a new security system, air conditioning, and waste treatment, enabling this 50’s Classic to be equipped with the best XXI century technology.

13:30pm – Douro River Wine Lunch – Group transfer to the wonderful DOC restaurant which sits on the Douro in the village of Folgosa.

DOC is the creation of Portuguese celebrity and Michelin star chef Rui Paula. DOC is an acronym for “Degustar Ousar Comunicar” (translated: “Taste, Dare, Communicate”). It is an opportunity for Paula to showcase his creativity in utilizing products from the region, borrowing from traditional Portuguese dishes and crafting modern cuisine for his guests to enjoy. DOC is also an apropos name given the restaurant’s location and architecture. Sitting right at the Douro river’s edge, between Régua and Pinhão, DOC features a spectacular semi-circular landing that acts as an outdoor dining terrace and functioning boat dock. It is a perfect setting to enjoy exquisite cuisine while watching the sunset over the vineyard-covered hills. 

pm – Evening at your leisure.

AccommodationQuinta do Vallado

(Included Meals: B, L)

Day 10 – Thursday October 25th 2018 – Douro Valley and Porto

am – Breaksfast at your leisure.
10:00am – Following check out from Quinta do Vallado, we will then enjoy a Portuguese Cooking Demonstration by the quinta’s chef.

12noon – Cooking Demonstration Lunch

14:00pm – Group transfer for our return trip to Porto
16:00pm – Check in to Porto River Apartments. Remainder of the early evening at your leisure.
20:00pm – Final Group Dinner in Porto

AccommodationPorto River Apartments

(Included Meals: B, L, D)

Day 11 – Friday October 26th 2018 – Departure

am – Breakfast at your leisure
10:00am – Following breakfast and checkout, we will say our final “adeus” (“goodbye” in Portuguese) and wish everyone well on the next part of their journeys. For those continuing their journey by air, the Porto Airport (OPO) is only a short 20-30 minute taxi ride away from the hotel.



To secure your places, please contact Nico Moretti at nico@urbanprovider.com.au or 08 9228 0507, and we will forward you a Booking Form, or you may download a copy by clicking here – 2018 Cooking Passions Discover Portugal Booking Form.
Booking Deadline : April 16 2018 – As the unique Luxury Boutique Hotels and apartment accommodations that we have selected for our tours are smaller properties with limited rooms.
Booking Deposit : A $AUD895 (per  person) BOOKING DEPOSIT is required to hold a booking for the tour, at the time of your reservation. Booking Deposits are used to confirm our accommodations and specialist tour provider services, at the time of our booking.
Final Payment : Payment in full is required at least 90 days prior to departure – July 16th 2018.
We look forward to hosting you on this very special Portual experience. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate in contacting us.
Boa viagem,
Nico & Belinda Moretti