In Porto, Part one

October 1, 2014

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A little while back, I headed to Porto to find out more about the wine from the region, as part of the Discover The Origin campaign; we all know I am not exactly a connoisseur of the subject, but I thought it would be interesting for someone like me, who is from a typically younger generation, than who would usually be involved in such an experience and see what I generally make of it all, here’s the first part to my visual diary!

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Our TAP Portugal flight landed around 2pm, we headed straight to Hotel Teatro, (which quite literally used to be a Theatre) checked in and were on our way to the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto, in a nut shell, it’s the place where they decide what actually passes as Port wine, they discuss matters of trade and such.

We arrived and immediately were given a tour of their labs; they keep all the bottles they receive covered, so when tasting and testing on the wines the team remain completely unaware of where they are coming from and in turn, unbiased.

The guys there seemed super passionate, so I can assure you, the future of Port Wine is in pretty safe hands..in case you wanted to know.

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Later on in the day we headed to Graham’s, a Port Cellar who originated from Scotland. The main lobby area was museum like, with glass cased artefacts and information written across the walls, it told you all you needed to know about how Graham’s became who they are today.

This was my first introduction to the wine, not just port, but wine in general, so I see it as my duty to full you in on “Port Basics”.

Okay, so..

White Port: Made from white grapes, this gold-coloured wine can be off-dry or sweet. Served with tonic and ice, white Port can be a bracing warm-weather apéritif.

Ruby Port: This young, non-vintage style is aged in wood for about three years before release. Fruity, simple, and inexpensive, it’s the best-selling type of Port. If labeled Reserve or Special Reserve, the wine has usually aged about six years and costs a few more pounds.

Vintage Character Port: Vintage Character Port is actually premium ruby blended from higher-quality wines of several vintages and matured in wood for about five years. Full-bodied, rich, and ready-to-drink when released, these wines are a good value.

Tawny Port: Tawny is the most versatile Port style. The best tawnies are good-quality wines that fade to a pale garnet or brownish red color during long wood aging. Personally I find Tawny Ports great as a dessert wine.

Colheita Port: Often confused with Vintage Port because it’s vintage-dated, colheita is actually a tawny from a single vintage. In other words, it has aged (and softened and tawnied) in wood for many years. Unlike an aged tawny, though, it’s the wine of a single year.

Late Bottled Vintage Port (LBV): This type is from a specific vintage, but usually not from a very top year. The wine ages four to six years in wood before bottling and is then ready to drink, unlike Vintage Port.

Vintage Port: The pinnacle of Port production, Vintage Port is the wine of a single year blended from several of a house’s best vineyards. It’s bottled at about two years of age, before the wine has much chance to shed its tough tannins. It therefore requires an enormous amount of bottle aging to accomplish the development that didn’t occur in wood. Vintage Port is usually not mature (ready to drink) until about 20 years after the vintage.**

Seriously, that’s about all you need to know right now in order to get the right port for the right occasion. So continuing with my day..

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At Grahams, we explored their pretty extensive collection of wine, a few I saw dated back to 1868, how crazy is that? Kinda makes you wonder if you would be able to tell the difference between something so old and full bodied against something new and potentially cheap from your local super market, anyway, before dinner we tried a few different Ports including a vintage and Tawny, I’m pointing these out because they were my favourites. I guess it was how smooth they went down and their sweetness that I preferred. My palette is far from ‘Sophisticated’ enough to appreciate wines that are slightly bitter or that are dry.

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Finally after the tour, we headed to another part of the building which housed a restaurant called Vinum. I was told that there were a few main dishes that were typically Portuguese, such as slow cooked lamb, anything Cod related and Alheira, sausage that could contain all kinds of yummy things from bread to other kinds of meat to cheese. We tried the latter two that night but were promised that this trip would definitely see us trying everything on multiple occasions *spoiler alert* we totally did!

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After what felt like a long day, we headed back to the hotel where I planned on crashing as I knew the next day was going to be pretty busy, instead I stayed up all night catching up on Pretty Little Liars, yeah..

PORTOAnyway, stay tuned for part two!

** Details on wine, referenced form here

Geneva: Parks & recreation..

September 7, 2014

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Geneva, for me, is the kind of place, that no matter how many pictures or films you see that feature the city, you still won’t fully grasp how great of a place it is. The endless green areas, pops of history that are literally on the street & the countless amount of culture-filled opportunities they have. Perhaps whilst living in London, I’ve become complacent as I don’t really research all that my city actually offers.. anyway just being in Geneva for a few days, really showed me how great & inviting a city really can be.

When we arrived at the airport we grabbed a ticket and jumped on a short train ride to the city centre, from there we headed to Hotel N’vy to check in & drop our stuff; then we picked up our city transport card and were off. We had a tour of the city, seeing cool spots, like the Jet d’Eau, a fountain, that pumps around 500 litres of water a second.

**All transport for tourists is free btw, how convenient and awesome!**

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Towards the evening we headed to Parc des Eaux Vives. As we were told it might rain, we didn’t have the intended outdoor picnic, but honestly that did not put a damper on anything. In between dinner courses, Ashanti and I, were discussing how we envisioned Geneva to be, based the fact that we thought it would be identical to Genovia, (which we know if fictional) from the Princess Diaries, I digress, the food was great but honestly the location was pretty magical, what with the copious amounts of flowers, view of the lake & later on, sunset.

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The whole trip was based around us visiting the Open Cellar’s in the Genevan countryside, here’s a little outline/tips I have for the Open Cellars tour..

  • Buy a wine glass for five franc’s – Do Not loose it, as it’s essentially your ticket to get into everywhere, plus it’s what they serve your drinks in, obviously..
  • Wonder around the open wineries, tasting their selection, accompanied but great food & lovely people.
  • Get really into the community vibe, as the whole atmosphere is pretty friendly!
  • Personally I’d suggest having a car with a designated driver, so that you can really travel deeper into the countryside to see some of the more rural vineyards. Biking it looked fun, but once you’ve had a few glasses of wine, I question, just how fun it would be..
  • When it comes to food, try everything! It’s all SO good.
  • I’d go to around 4-5 ‘wine’ stops; at each one you can hang out, take in the view, meet new people and of course drink wine & eat. You want to fully appreciate the stop, so spend time there.
  • Always have a bottle of water, two reasons, you will end up drinking a lot of wine, but also the weather was quite hot in May, so keep hydrated folks!
  • Lastly take loads of pictures on your first 2 stops, after that, put the camera away & really get into the fun that is, Caves Ouvertes.

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As you know i’m trying to do as much filming as possible, so here is the one I shot with the help of Ashtanti..

oh & check out the Jet off to Geneva site, for info on a SUPER cool competition, where you could win your very own trip to Geneva, filled with fun things to do!

Places in the video

I stayed at the.. Hotel N’vy

We had dinner on the first night at.. Restaurant du Parc des Eaux Vives

We had dinner on the second night at .. Cottage Café, Rue Adhemar-Fabri

We had a buffet brunch in a cool Scandinavian decorated restaurant.. Les Halles de l’Ile

On the third day Ashanti & I visited the.. Jardin Botanique

x

Antler detail.

August 31, 2014

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I’ve got A LOT of pictures and not so much time, so here and there I’ll drop in a feature that literally only has pictures – don’t hate me, I just want to show you everything, besides we can’t all be Shini – coming up with witty commentary to accompany every subject out there, can we now..

Anyway, we were shooting a few months back and here are the shots! I originally wore my white SuperGa’s but Shini essentially through them to the curb and replaced them with these Leopard Kurt Geiger’s that look awesome, but were not so fun to walk in..

I digress, I wanted to show you guys this beige beauty a.k.a Leather bag from Antler. It’s my “throw everything in but still remain beautiful bag’! Antler are known for their luggage but they have a range of pretty cool hand bags & accessories, you can check the rest out here..

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In case you wanted to know..

Coat- Next

Skirt – ASOS

Top - GAP

Tights - Wolford

Bracelets – Astley Clarke & Monica Vinader

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