Tuesday, 16 December 2008

A Casa Portuguesa

A word about a Sunday afternoon's outing to A Casa Portuguesa in the Gracia neighbourhood of Barcelona.

A Madrid-based school-friend of mine has got himself a Portugese girlfriend, whose countrymen and pals own this classy but reasonably-princed rincon full of Portugese goodness. We took a couple of hours out to give this joint the once-over.

I am insisting, these days, on starting with a white, whose citrus tones can combine genially with the fatty opulence of many different cheeses. Take this 2007 Loureiro from Quinta de Gomariz, for example. One sniff of the sampler glass was enough to convince us to go for the entire bottle. The assistant told us it was vinho verde, rather than white, and forms a slight effervescence in the bottle whilst developing. It had a punchy peachy nose, with secondary aromas of elderflower, and its fizz made it a top choice to combine with the creamy cheese board that we had been served. The stuff was fruity, like a Galician white, but also had a lot of floral notes that we discovered as the glasses went down. The acidity was just right, and it was long too, for a young wine. Highly recommended!

We followed this course with some Portugese puddings and a bottle of tinto. The pastries, known as Pasteis de Belem, were little custard tarts in filo pastry cases, heavily flavoured with cinnamon, covered in caster sugar and served cold. The wine, a 2006 blend of aragones, trincodeira and castelao grapes was from the Alentejo region. Vampire-ruby in colour, it was quite light in colour, spicy on the nose. In the gob, we got cherry, black pepper and clove. Quite dry at first, it had a sweet aftertaste; after my final sip, I let out a prune burp.

The total, for five of us to enjoy these delicacies, was 35 euros, which I think is more than reasonable. As my friend Belen put it, "menos mal que nos queda portugal".

Mark Philip Dix I

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