Portugal - Part 1 - Lisbon

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We spent 2 weeks travelling around Portugal in July 2017. We had such a fabulous family trip making treasured memories. We started off in Lisbon and then drove to Serra da Estrela to stay in the wonderful Senses campsite for 8 nights and then up to Porto, followed by a stay in the lovely Quinta da Cancela in Guimarães.

We travelled with an almost 3 year old which we found much easier than we had thought it would be. It was great to have an adventure holiday with a little one. It turned into a foodie holiday as Portugal is such a great place for an abundance of organic food and seasonal produce, not to mention beautiful tiles! I am a little obsessed with tiles and Portugal really fed my obsession.  It really took us by surprise how great the food scene was - we loved every minute of it and would highly recommend portugal for families.

I have divided our trip into three parts:

  • Part 1 - Lison

  • Part 2 - Serra da Estrela

  • Part 3 - Porto and Braga

Portuguese Tart

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After a late flight into Lisbon, the next morning we found a cafe in the main plaza to enjoy a traditional Portuguese tart. If you have not had one before, I urge you to try one. While it may not be the most nourishing food, I live by an 80/20 rule. It is all about balance. I also believe it is important to experience the cultural foodie scenes when travelling, even if that means going slightly off piste from the 'healthy' food choices.

Go Natural

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One of our favourite parts of any trip is finding the local health store. This was our first trip abroad since having my daughter 3 years ago, during which time I have begun training as a Nutritional Therapist. All of our trips up to this point were in the UK so we were uncertain what to expect in Portugal's bigger towns and Cities. The 'old' me would have planned the trip in meticulous detail but I now go with the flow and enjoy finding our way once we arrive at our destination. It allows me to be more present.

Our first stop was the Go Natural health food store in Chiado. Part of a major supermarket chain in Portugal (Modelo e Continente), Go Natural has five branches in the City. This was a well stocked health shop with a large range of organic (biologica) fruit and vegetables, gluten, diary and wheat free option, natural cosmetics and bodycare including Lavera, essential oils, herbs, sprouted flours and more. There was also an organic restaurant attached to the shop but, as it was a Sunday, it was closed.

We bought a few bits for lunch and ate this sat on the tables outside of the shop. We bought our first Portuguese sardines and they lived up to their reputation. Just beautiful and such wonderful pretty boxes, too. The health food shop is located just up from the main plaza close to a smaller plaza where you can enjoy a coffee and see some historic buildings/architecture.

The address for the store we went to was Travessa do Carmo, 1 (Chiado), Mon-Fri 9am-8pm, Saturday 10am-8pm and Sunday midday -7pm.

In Bocca al Lupa

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We found this restaurant for dinner by a quick google search and it turned out to be just a 10 minute walk from our guesthouse. It was a lovely walk which took us to a part of Lisbon which we may not otherwise have found. There were quaint streets away from the hustle and bustle of central Lisbon. Beautiful tiled walls and floors, fresh flowers adorning the windows, Portuguese people taking life at a slow pace hanging their washing on their balconies or taking leisurely strolls as the day drew to a close and the evening began. We actually visited this restaurant at the beginning of our trip and at the end of the trip as we flew out from Lisbon. This conveys how much we enjoyed it.

The restaurant is 100% organic and they only use seasonal ingredients. The decor was what I would describe as rustic minimalist. We sat right in front of the wood burning oven at the back of the restaurant which my toddler loved to see. They also had a kids' corner with a great selection of books and puzzles to keep our daughter entertained.

The Portuguese culture speaks of a more family-centric culture. The owner was walking around with his young baby in the sling, while talking to diners and shuttling back and forth to the kitchen. There were also kids eating with their families much later than you see in England.

The pizza menu was extensive – after much deliberation I had smoked buffalo mozzarella, grilled courgette, artichoke and chive pizza with added garlic, my husband had the 4 cheese pizza and my daughter had the margarita pizza. They had a great Kombucha, too. I can categorically say they were the best pizzas I have ever had. They were so delicious. The price for the pizzas varied from 12.50 to 22.00 EURO. We decided it was worth spending the money to support a organic restaurant and to enjoy such well sourced food. The food did not disappoint and the restaurant was a great space to enjoy an evening in Lisbon. They also had the option for gluten free or kamut dough on the menu.

I asked the server about the organic movement in Lisbon. She said it is gaining traction but it is still too expensive for a lot of people. My vision is that, as more people can support such restaurants and make food choices which support organic farmers, costs will be driven down to make local, organic food more accessible to the majority.

Address: Rua Manuel Bernardes nº5 A 1200-250 Lisboa Portugal - closed on Tuesdays.

Breakfast

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We ate breakfast at our guesthouse the next morning as we didn't want to go far. The only options which we could see in the district around the guesthouse were typical European fare of pastries and carbohydrate laden offerings. We had brought a packet of Biona organic rye bread with chia and flax in our hand luggage so we ate that with the sardines we had bought from the organic health food shop.

BIONIO

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We left Lisbon to head to Senses campsite so we needed to have some supplies with us. We found another organic health food shop, Bionio, just out of the centre. Again, another well stocked shop. We picked up a whole range of food, a sample of which is seen in the photo below. I even found a Granola with olive oil – all of the other granolas that I were made with sunflower oil. I thought it would be useful to list what I bought for 114 EURO. I think it was expensive for some things, particularly the granola, but I think for what we got it worked out cheaper than the UK: 1 x Passata, 1 x Puree, 4 x Buckwheat Pasta, 2 x Granola (these were 9 EURO each!), 4 x Quinoa crisp breads, 6 x Simply raw fruit, nut and seed bars (Carrot, Pumpkin and Gigner, Brazil Nut and Guarana, Almond & Inca Berry), 4 x Sardines, 2 x Eggs, 2 x Kombucha, Papaya, Apples, Plums, Tomatoes, Avocados and cherry tomatoes, Olives, Kale Crisps, Maple & Coconut Oil Popcorn, 4 x Vegetable Crisps cooked in Olive Oil and Almond Butter.

We left Lisbon with a car full of abundance and grateful hearts as we headed to our campsite.

Also a little photo of 3 sardine boxes we found. they are so pretty!

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