With the last vestiges of summer ebbing away, girl-about-town, Ana Silva, heads back to sunny Portugal to drown her sorrows…
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After a girls’ weekend in Lisbon earlier this year, we decided to head back for more, and this time we let the boys come along too. However, a change of scenery was needed – I wanted them to see more of Portugal, especially the bits that no one has ever heard of. A day of wine tasting and thousands of calories was on the cards, and after a 90 minute drive south of Lisbon we were there!
Our first stop, and a scorching 40C, was Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. It was so hot that we cooled down with a glass of one of the award winning house blends, Peceguina, whilst looking out over the infinity pool and golden Alentejo scenery. It’s so quiet that you feel like you are miles away from civilisation, but in style. Hungry from the drive, we soon headed over to the restaurant, which features a 3-course menu for 30€ (seriously?). Michelin-starred chef Joachim Koerper is a new arrival at Malhadinha, and we went crazy for his take on typical Alentejo food – chickpea stew, iberico hams, and delicious (though non-cholesterol friendly) desserts. After our indulgent lunch, we were taken on a private tour of the estate, or “Herdade” as the Portuguese call it. We tried some promising grapes in the vineyard, then wandered round the horse stables and of course the winery, where we couldn’t resist trying and buying some more of the delicious rosé.
Tired and in need of a rest – one of the side effects of so much indulgence – we checked in at Herdade dos Grous, one of the most recognized winemakers in the region. Stylish yet traditional, our suites overlooked the incredible landscape; a lake, olive trees, and yet another infinity pool. Dinner was amazing; we went with a tapas theme and tried every starter on the menu, accompanied by the staple Moon Harvest red reserve, which certainly has a different taste. After a couple of days it was time to get back to normality, so we drove up to Lisbon for a bit of cosmopolitan acclimatisation… we couldn’t just come back to London. But that will be a story for another time!