A day of soups: password “Benoni”


Lunch at O Fialho, a family operated cervejaria restaurante in Lisbon yesterday of soups from Alentejo. Carlos (below) is the Fiaiho son who is waiter-cum-sommelier while mom cooks in the kitchen and dad works behind the bar. Mom has a sister in Benoni “and has given up on Portugal.” But visitors to Portugal sick and tired of expensive tourist tat should give Fialho a whirl as the food rocks while the prices are rock bottom.

IMG 5125 225x300 A day of soups: password “Benoni”

Speaking of bars, how’s this one in Evora: Café Estrela d’Ouro. Here is the barman opening a bottle of Guadalupe, a white blend from Quinta do Quetzal. €1.50 buys you a glass of this fruity white blend of Antão Vaz and Arinto. Quetzal is owned by a Dutch family, unlikely to shell out €300 for tasting notes by UK wine writers Sarah Ahmed and Jo Ahearne MW who are currently being pimped around producers by ViniPortugal as the answer to listings for Portuguese wines in the UK. While they may catch a few unsophisticated producers in Tras-ós-Montes, whether their wheeze will wash with sophisticated or ethical or English speaking producers, is doubtful.

IMG 5149 300x225 A day of soups: password “Benoni”

This grubby pay-to-play culture is the problematic and I wonder if Jo is still buying wine for Harrods and Sarah is still running the Portuguese desk at the Decanter World Wine Awards? If so, charges of conflict of interest are sure to howl around the spittoon while the role of ViniPortugal in this matter is still not clear. Who pays for the 15-26 July trip if its a money-making venture? Will the wines be assessed blind? Is this another UK wine writing scam? So many questions, so much soup…