Do you know what Porto’s secret sweet is?

One of the best desserts in town is the éclair 🙂

Leitaria da Quinta do Paço has a rich history that combines tradition and innovation. The tradition dates back over 100 years when the company started producing milk and its byproducts such as butter, cheese, and whipped cream.

Initially, it was the first milk distributor in the northern region of Portugal from its factory in Paços de Ferreira. It was also the pioneer in pasteurizing milk and distributing it in glass bottles to vendors in Porto. At that time, milk was sold to end consumers by women who carried it in jugs on their heads.

Over the years, Leitaria da Quinta do Paço has won numerous awards for the excellent quality of its milk products. However, as the company’s owners grew older, it faced stiff competition and lost its competitive edge. Consequently, the company was on the verge of shutting down, like many other traditional businesses.

However, in 2012, Leitaria da Quinta do Paço changed ownership and was restructured while keeping its original recipes.

If you are in Porto’s historic city center, you can find the store near the Lello bookstore on Praça Guilherme Gomes Fernandes or close to the Bolhão Market.

For more information visit the website

(All the black and white photos were taken from the official website of Leitaria da Quinta do Paço)

Quinta do Paço
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Who was Marques da Silva?

José Marques da Silva (1869–1947) was a Portuguese architect renowned for his contributions to the field of architecture, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Born in Porto, Portugal, Marques da Silva played a significant role in the development of Portuguese architecture and was a key figure in the transition from 19th-century romanticism to early 20th-century modernism.

Marques da Silva studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts (Escola de Belas Artes do Porto) in Porto, where he later became a professor. He also studied in Paris, where he was exposed to various architectural styles and movements, influencing his work.

One of his notable works is the São Bento Railway Station in Porto, an iconic transportation hub known for its impressive azulejo (traditional Portuguese ceramic tilework) panels, designed by Jorge Colaço.

Marques da Silva’s architectural style evolved over the years, incorporating elements of Beaux-Arts and modernism, while still maintaining a connection to traditional Portuguese aesthetics.

His legacy endures through his architectural contributions, and he is remembered as a key figure in shaping the architectural landscape of Portugal during a crucial period of transition.

For more information about this notable Arquitect, we recommend to visit his Fundation/Institute in Porto: https://fims.up.pt/

You can also book with us and discover more about the architecture of the city of Porto: https://ecolocaltours.pt/tour/architecture-route/

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Citröen E-Mehari a free spirit

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Porto and the Port Wine

Some say port was invented by British merchants looking to replace French claret, wich was boycotted during wars with France in the 17th century. By adding a little brandy to the local red Douro, they found the wine sufficiently fortified to withstand temperature changes and long sea voyages. It also produced a fresh sweet flavour that deepened with age.

Whoever invented it, port was a big hit with the British and became “as British as roast beef”.

The Meathuen Treaty of 1703 opened English markets to Portuguese wines and the British shippers of Porto became increasingly rich and powerful. The next 30 years saw an unprecedented expansion of trade in the Upper Douro and in 1727 a Shippers’ Association was established to regulate the trade and control prices paid to the Portuguese producers. The growth of trade gave rise to the famous port wine lodges spread over the hills of Vila Nova de Gaia.

To combat the English stranglehold, the King of Portugal’s Chief Minister, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Mello, later the Marquês de Pombal, founded the Douro Wine Company (Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro) in 1757 witch restored a measure of Portuguese control. 

The Douro Valley became the world´s first wine region with legal demarcation and Porto and its region a main engine room of Portuguese expansion and commerce.

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The city’s delicious sandwich

The Francesinha – One of the most famous sandwiches in the world!

One of the stories or legends, dates back to the period of the Peninsular Wars, supposedly the soldiers of Napoleon’s army used to make a bread sandwich where they put the most varied kinds of meat available and a lot of cheese, but without including the sauce, an essential complement introduced later by the “tripeiros” (citizens of Porto).

Today there is some unanimity in attributing the creation of the recipe to Daniel Silva, an employee of the restaurant A Regaleira, in the early 50’s. An immigrant in France and Belgium, some years earlier, in the restaurant business, he became familiar with the local gastronomy and in particular with the famous French sandwich “croque-monsieur”, very popular in these lands. This famous sandwich served as inspiration for the creation of our francesinha, whose name comes from “france”.

Here is a selection (possible), of the best restaurants in invicta and surroundings, to taste the “famous” sandwich:

  • A Regaleira, rua do Bonjardim 83 (ainda existe!)
  • LADO B Café (Coliseu) – rua de Passos Manuel, 190
  • Brasão – rua de Ramalho Ortigão, 28
  • Café Santiago – rua de Passos Manuel, 226
  • Bufete FASE – rua Santa Catarina, 1147
  • Restaurante CUFRA – Avenida da Boavista, 2504. (ou Edifício Transparente)
  • AR de RIO (Cais de Gaia) – Av. de Diogo Leite, 5. Vila Nova de Gaia
  • Restaurante My Palace – Avenida da Boavista, 4191
  • Capa Negra II – Rua do Campo Alegre, 191
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The oldest coffee shop in town

“The Porta do Olival café is the oldest establishment of its kind still operating in Porto. It is known that it was already active in 1853, in the same place where it still is. It is, therefore, as if it were more than 160 years ago. In an advertisement, published in 1926 in the magazine “Terras de Portugal”, it is already referred to as the oldest café in the city of Oporto.

The name “Porta do Olival”, is related to the door that existed in the so-called medieval wall, a solid wall built with thick granite blocks, between 1336 and 1374, to defend the city.

The wall was 11 metres high and 3500 metres long. The gate “Olival”, one of the most important in the city, was defended by a tower, built in the shape of a fortress. It took its name from a long land of olive trees that, since ancient times, existed on the site where it was built.

It was at this door that, in the 15th century, the City Council installed a bell, called the “running bell”, which was rung at sunset so that the citizens of Porto would return to their homes. Pilgrims would pass through this door, who had a shining star of a sanctuary on the horizon, like Santiago de Compostela, for example.

It was also through this door that, in 1387, D. Filipa, the eldest daughter of the Duke Lencaster, entered Porto to marry the Portuguese king D. João I.””

(…)

Germano Silva, Porto historian

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The most beautiful street in the city

Between 1521 and 1525 took place the works for the opening of the street Santa Catarina das Flores, today known only as Rua das Flores.

Starting at Largo de São Domingos and ending in front of the current São Bento Station, this new artery served as a connection between Cais da Ribeira and Porta de Carros, which gave access to the suburbs beyond.

A pioneer in the urban history of the city, the street of Santa Catarina das Flores was the first in Porto to be subject to specific rules for the construction of housing structures, but not only, regulating a kind of panoramic pre-project of the facades implanted on both sides of the street.

The wide, rectilinear design allowed for the construction of taller, modern and luxurious palatial houses, which, once occupied by the city’s elite, created along this artery a new area of power and social status that rivalled the traditional power of the Sé.

Built soon after the end of the old prerogative that prevented noblemen from staying inside the city, this street naturally served as a new home for families of the newly arrived nobility, but also families of the Porto bourgeoisie, some newly settled, others transferred from the New Street, and also families linked to the urban aristocracy, citizens engaged in positions the administration of the city as well as royal officials.

Part of the area given over to the new street was occupied by vegetable gardens belonging to the cathedral and the bishop, and it is likely that this is the origin of the toponym “das flores”, which is still used today to designate a street that is both unique and characteristic of the city.

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Delight yourself with Arcádia chocolates

With 87 years of history, Arcádia represents for the people of Porto the memory of chocolate in invicta.

For almost a century, Arcádia has served kings and queens, writers, poets, painters and other personalities from all over the world. Little by little, it conquered the most demanding palates and is now a national reference with stores all over the country.

Arcádia is known for its bonbons and cat’s tongue, but the constant desire for innovation brought to the world creations that today are part of the national imaginary and have become indispensable on any Portuguese table.

With more than 30 stores throughout the country, Arcádia is undoubtedly a brand to be considered.

For more information check out here: https://arcadiachocolates.com/

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Nasoni’s Bishop’s Palace

Although the history of the residences of the Bishops of Oporto near the cathedral is still little known, it is a fact that, at least since D. Hugo (1112/1114-1136), who was responsible for the definitive restoration of the diocese, a building with this function already existed. Over the centuries an architectural complex developed, of which various vestiges still exist, such as a late Romanesque frieze (13th century) to the right of the main door.

Between the 15th century and the end of the 17th century various works ordered by successive prelates can be documented. The decisive moment, however, came during the government of Friar João Rafael de Mendonça (17771-1793), to whom we owe, in substance, the palace that we can still visit today.

The construction of this Paço, for its architectural scale, conception and ornamental richness, provided the city of Oporto, for the first time, with the existence of a true palace, which we can consider as one of the most significant examples of the late baroque architecture in Portugal.

Designed by the Italian architect and painter Nicolau Nasoni, today it has several functions, from the bishop’s residence to the diocesan curia.

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A well-kept secret in the East Side

A well-kept secret in the eastern part of the city of Porto, the Casa São Roque – Art Center.

Located next to the old road of São Roque da Lameira, in the place called Quintas de Campanhã, the Casa de São Roque was a simple sobrado (townhouse) construction, of discreet presence, solid and well dimensioned, as seen south of the Douro River.

Between José Marques da Silva, the architect, and António Ramos Pinto, the manager, there was the necessary complicity to integrate the skills of the craftsmen in the transformation of the house into an eclectic palace. They followed the bourgeois conception of the exterior appearance, without wasting the interior refinement or the japoneiras garden, an identifying mark of Porto.

The history of Casa São Roque (formerly Casa Ramos Pinto) dates back to 1759, when, as part of Quinta da Lameira, it functioned as a mansion and hunting lodge, as was typical of Porto’s bourgeoisie and noble families.

In the 19th century it belonged to the family of Maria Virgínia de Castro, who in 1888 married António Ramos Pinto, one of the best known producers and exporters of Port wine.

Shortly thereafter, between 1900 and 1911, he commissioned the architect José Marques da Silva to remodel and expand the house, while Jacinto de Matos designed the garden.

In 1979, the whole farm and the house were acquired by the Oporto City Hall from the last owner, António Eugénio de Castro Ramos Pinto Cálem, grandson of Maria Virgínia and António. The furniture and the most important objects of the house were preserved and are still in use today in the collection of Casa do Roseiral, while the remainder was acquired by the antiques dealer Aurora Rodrigues Martins.

The building today retains its original eclectic style, introduced with the remodeling by Marques da Silva, who was inspired by 19th century French historicism and Belgian art nouveau, and has recently been rehabilitated under the supervision of architect João Mendes Ribeiro.

The Casa São Roque is today a landmark building of the period houses in Porto, for its architectural and decorative features where its winter garden is a unique example.

Besides the contemporary art exhibitions inside, you can also enjoy a varied cultural program, such as jazz or bossa-nova concerts in the garden, among other events.

It’s worth your visit!

(Photos by Ricardo Almeida)

+info: https://www.casasroque.art/pt/

 

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