We felt pretty confident about the nice weather, and had left our big winter jackets at the hotel. After taking some pictures, we realized how silly we had been; the hovering grey clouds forced us to get back on the bus to retrieve our umbrella, jackets, scarves, and other off-season travel essentials from the hotel. However, we didn’t make it back to Oporto that day, because the sun was shining in Foz do Douro.
Foz do Douro means “mouth of the Douro,” so, as you would expect, the town sits where the Douro River meets the ocean. It is a beautiful part of Porto, and even if your hotel is downtown (although, in my opinion, you’d be foolish not to stay at 4Rooms), it is worth getting on the tram and spending a day wandering around the Foz.
The first place we happened upon was Forto de S Joao Baptista da Foz, built in 1570.
From there, we went wandering down the cobblestone streets that make up Foz do Douro’s downtown. Restaurants, shopping, and Saboriccia. Oh, Saboriccia. Basically, it’s my dream shop, full of wine, award-winning sheep’s milk cheese, olive oil, cured meats, fruit, veggies, almonds, and other produtos regionais. Many of the items in the store, like the produce and the cheese, are from the family farm. Everything is from Portugal. We walked in, and I was so happy I nearly started crying. It only got better when we met Ramiro, one of the brothers who owns the shop. Ramiro is a kind, gregarious, enthusiastic farmer; he works on the farm most of the time, but we were lucky enough to be in the shop when he was down for a visit. He showed us around the shop, letting us taste the incredible cheese, telling us all about the products, and insisting we come back the following day when they were having a wine tasting. He helped us choose some wine: an incredible Vinho Verde and a delicious Douro red. We couldn’t resist getting some fruit from the farm- who knew you could grow kiwis in Portugal?!
Saboriccia and Ramiro’s kindness made our day. We grabbed a late, light lunch in one of the many restaurants in the Foz (ask at Saboriccia, they’ll give you a good recommendation), and headed back to the hotel to enjoy our wine and fruit.