The idea of luxury
Contributed by Jens Hoffmann
I love it to be in Portugal, we srtayed in the charming hotel “The Yeatman”
A luxury wine hotel and spa with views of the UNESCO World Heritage city and the Douro river.
I delights its guests vwith an impressive location.
It occupies a terraced site on the slope of a hill on the banks of the river Duoro.
The hotel has numerous references to its great history and location in the historic heart of Vila Nova de Gaia next to the ancient ‘lodges’ where Port houses have aged their wines for over three centuries.
Try the pool.
Many of the oldest Port firms were founded by British merchant families and are owned by their successors to this day. The Yeatmans, who entered the Port trade in 1838, were among the most distinguished and enterprising of the Port families. Their descendants maintain this tradition as owners of three of the most famous Port companies.
In 1756, the port wine producing Douro region was established.
During the rule of the Marquês de Pombal, an association was founded to guarantee the quality of the portwine which became very popular in England.
By law merchants were permitted to import the portwine at a low duty, while war with France deprived English wine drinkers of French wine. The long trip to England often resulted in spoiled wine; the fortification of the wine was introduced to improve the shipping and shelf-life of the wine for its journey.
The British involvement grew so strong that they formed a trade association that became a gentlemen’s club and at dinners they use portwine to toast the Queen.
Thats a nice story.
So the Yeatman is a first class hotel in the Douro Valley, a Relais & Châteaux property which helped establish this beautiful region as a destination for luxury wine tourism.
It became Porto’s address of choice, the hotel which defines the city.
Culinary enjoyment is a further theme at the luxury wine hotel. With around 20.000 selected wines, the wine cellar offers the best slection of Portugese wines worldwiede.
Besides this the Yeatman offers a unique beach experience the whole year, we enjoyed the 20 kilometre long beach.
And you should try the lovely Vinotherapie spa.
Finally the Port wine: It all started in 1678, after the British blockaded French ports when the two countries were at war. The British began importing wine from Portugal’s Douro Valley. Back then Portugal’s wine was dry, full-bodied, and had a high alcohol content. All that changed when the British added neutral brandy during fermentation to preserve it better for long boat trips. But adding brandy changed the natural fermentation process, and prevented the leftover grape sugar from turning to alcohol.
That resulted in a sweeter, fruitier wine that is now usually enjoyed as an apéritif or after-dinner wine.
If you travel in Portugal enjoy everyting.
Try to find your way to Lisbon.
Our resto tip in Lisbon: “Eleven”
An ambitious place, set on a slightly remote hillock in the outskirts of Lisbon, a modern building with a large dining room, two private dining rooms and a small outside dining setting upstairs. It is very smartly decorated in a modern style, with tables large and generously spaced.
Amuse bouche was nice, a slice of ham on a piece of toast, basic but good. Next was a mousse of horseradish wrapped in smoked salmon, with a beetroot sauce poured over it. I think salmon and horseradish is a great flavour combination. Yummy. Than we tried Parmesan mousse in a ravioli carbonara, which featured excellent pasta, nice bacon and a Parmesan mousse that was not too strong.
The desserts were even in a higher league the lemon souffle was superb, cooked perfectly through, light and fluffy with full but not overwhelming lemon taste, served with a good passion fruit sorbet.
A cheese and fig tart was better than it sounded, the pastry excellent, served with fig chutney and honey ice cream.
To be honest, this was the best cooking that we had in Portugal.