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Alentejo is not only the largest producer of cork in the world, it is also an ideal destination for food and wine lovers. The sun-baked land has a long list of palate delights and is constantly increasing its popularity for the breathtaking landscapes and its unique food and culture. Imagine views of vineyards, olive groves, forests of cork oak and hilltop villages. One hour away from Lisbon, it has been named the Tuscany of Portugal and has earned its place as an area of great gastronomic traditions.
There are now 23 Michelin-starred establishments in the country, a yearly growing number that only strengthens Portugal's soaring culinary reputation. One hour east of Lisbon, you'll find the exclusive wine resort L'AND Vineyards. This oenophile's dream location is the perfect haven for those keen to enjoy the calm of the countryside. Indulge in relaxing spa experiences at the in-house wine therapy spa by Caudalie and revel in a gastronomic experience at the Michelin-starred restaurant - the first in Alentejo.
Led by Miguel Laffan, the Portuguese chef has been reinventing, reinterpreting and reinvigorating the roots of Portuguese cuisine and traditions. The menu has incredible dishes and food is creative and finely crafted. The dining room is absolutely beautiful, sparse and comfortable, with dozens of Tom Dixon-designed pendant lamps.
As you'd expect, wine resort L'AND Vineyards also offers a Complete Wine Experience Course which will not only guide you through the basics of wine production and tasting, but wine pairing as well. This experience also includes a tour of the vineyards and cellar led by an in-house expert.
Located in the picturesque village of Arraiolos - famed for its exquisite handwoven rugs - Monte da Ravasqueira is just one of the many traditional wineries which have opened their doors to curious wine enthusiasts. Enjoy a tour of the vineyards and wine producing facilities, followed by a visit to the spectacular private carriage collection. If you're traveling in a group of 10 or more, sign up for a wine tasting course where you'll learn to smell and slurp like the pros followed by a buffet style lunch.
At Herdade do Sobroso homestead, in Lower Alentejo, guests can explore the sprawling vineyard and indulge in some of the excellent wines and foods made on-site. There's also a 'Introduction to Wine' tasting course, perfect for anyone with an interest in wine, which will allow you to learn about big-picture concepts over some very fine wine.
The correct word is actually petiscos which are a Portuguese version of the well-known Spanish tapas - we're talking about small portions of any kind of food served in small plates. Usually served as a snack or appetizer - and more recently as a full meal on their own - petiscos can be anything from olive and cheese to octopus salad, chickpeas and codfish, or typical Portuguese sausages.
At João Portugal Ramos there's a Tapas Experience which works as a light lunch. Along with some classic savory dishes, it also includes dessert, tea or coffee and, of course, wine - white and red to pair with the meal. A tour of the winery and cellars is also included in the program which is available for two people and more.
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