Touring a new city on foot always brings the place to life, and a good food tour adds an element I especially enjoy. Tom and I began our exploration of Portugal’s northern food scene by walking the hilly terrain of splendid Porto. It was a gloriously sunny day in May, with a light breeze, just right for tramping across broad avenues and plazas, before diving into steeply pitched cobblestone streets.
Our host, André of Taste Porto Food Tours, loves his city and loves to show it to visitors in small group tours to his favorite places.
There is much to see–and taste–here, and our half-day walkabout proved the perfect introduction to the city.
In operation for just over a year, Taste Porto is firmly focused on food tours. André also introduces visitors to his favorite local restaurants and wine tastings for further individual exploration.
A Taste Porto tour supports good works, too. A percentage of the price of each tour ticket sold is donated to AMI, a local organization helping the homeless.
André’s lively tour emphasizes local traditions, enriched with innovations from across Portugal. We met long-time shopkeepers, and young entrepreneurs bringing authentic regional flavors to Porto from Trás-os-Montes and as far afield as Alentejo.
Our tour was a “city walks intensive”, with plenty of opportunity to work off the calories we packed away. Porto, like Lisbon, is quite hilly, a fact of geography that put more than 13,000 steps on my Pedometer in the name of Portuguese food and wine. We began our walk at the Bolhão Market, and ended with sweets at Praça de Guilherme Gomes Fernandes in Porto’s ancient Vitória neighborhood.
Still more to explore
Like all good tours, this one was intensive, rather than comprehensive. We did not taste two of Porto’s more intriguing culinary specialties– Francesinha and the culturally important tripe–but André regaled us with the lore about the locals’ love of both.
I for one, was quite satisfied with the flavors, sweet and savory, that we experienced with Taste Porto, and did not feel deprived at the omission. Maybe next time?!
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Thank you to APTECE, the Portuguese Culinary Tourism and Economic Association, and Turismo de Portugal, for making our travels possible.
To see all our travel stories from Portugal, click here.