Porto is Portugal's second largest city and arguably its most beautiful (in my opinion ;) I had never been before and arrived late afternoon with the crew to our hotel, The Yeatman. I stepped out onto the balcony, and I could see why. The Old Town lined on either side of the river Douro full of zigzagging narrow streets with medieval relics, old churches, bell towers and the iconic bridges. The Luis I Bridge with upper and lower deck crossings being my favourite was quite a sight, made even more pleasing with the sun setting.
As always with filming we were a little behind so Matt, our cameraman and Producer Sarah quickly filmed the sunset (with seconds to spare may I might add). Whilst I got to enjoy a pleasant welcome on the terrace with Marta and Frederic from the tourist board. They were very welcoming and excited to meet to me. But even more excited and eager for me to get out for dinner because they had a surprise treat for me. ‘Surprise food’ eh… I loved it already. I’m not a fussy eater, so anything I’ve not tried before is always a culinary joy for me but what I received was something I was totally unprepared for.
We arrived at a restaurant on the banks of the River Douro in the Ribeira District, sat down and was told my order had already been taken, fair enough. I looked at the wine list but was told my meal was made to be had with beer, interesting… So then it arrived, it was called a Francesinha (Little Frenchy), and I’m so glad I had only a light lunch earlier. Originating in Porto in the 60’s it an adapted croque-monsieur for the Portuguese palate and nowadays locals will have their chosen destination with their very own favourite Francesinha. With the typical arguing about the quality of the sauce, bread and meat. It is a no holds barred sandwich. The stacking of ingredients were as follows, white bread then sliced steak, a layer of ham, sliced sausages, cheese, another layer of white bread then topped with more cheese and a fried egg. Oh and around the stacked sandwich like a castle moat was a spicy tomato and beer sauce.
WARNING: This is not for the faint hearted. Marta later pointed out that it’s best eaten after a big night out in the early hours of the morning to soak up the excess partying ;) My opinion, it was tasty but tough work. An overload of meat with the richness of the cheese and egg plus that gravy nearly pushed me over the edge. But for Queen and country I soldiered on and tackled the beast to the very end. For any first timers, this meal could easily be shared between two.
Sliding into a food coma, I was reminded (again, to the amusement of the crew) that we had one final piece to camera to do before bed. We took a walk or rather a waddle up the hill to Candido Dos Reis that is known for it's great nightlife. Candido Dos Reis is a vibrant area with young and old embracing the city where you can enjoy coffees and cocktails into the very early hours on a nightly basis.
The next day we were up early to shot my next recipe, my Portuguese Tortilla, on the banks of the River Douro in the grounds of the Yeatman Hotel. The town looked just as spectacular during the day and once again #FoodWithAView was doing exactly what it said on the tin.
So apart from the stunning views, amazing architecture, friendly locals and super-sized sandwiches, what else is Porto famous for? Well, PORT!
With the filming of the recipe ‘in the can’ we took a short walk to Taylor's Port Cellars and was shown around and even got to try some of the variations of Portugal's most famous fortified wine. Like much of what I've experienced in Portugal it was full of flavour with and with so much history behind it, you can see why the people of this country are so proud of their produce.
And that concludes my week of #FoodWithAView on Good Morning Britain. I hope you've enjoyed the videos, pictures and blogs. It's been a pleasure to be given the opportunity to be your guide and hope to see you all soon.
Take care, Andy