Alentejo, Portugal - 4 or 6 nights
Available year round - Monday to Sunday/Monday to Thursday
Spend a week indulging in delicious Mediterranean cuisine of Portugal as you learn hands-on cooking techniques from your hostess and talented chefs. You will use the local flavors and herbs of the Alentejo. Your home for the week will be in the small medieval town of Évora which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An Active Gourmet Holidays' bestseller, this culinary holiday is one you will always remember and cherish.
On arrival day, you will be transferred from Lisbon Airport (or from your hotel in Lisbon) to Évora.
The cooking classes will take place in an ancient kitchen of a traditional farm, just outside of the Medieval 16th century wall of Évora, where your hostess lives, just a 15 minute walk away from the main square.
For those seeking a cooking vacation where you experience the local flavors and discovering authentic Portugal, this is the holiday for you!
Day one - Monday
You will be collected from Lisbon and driven to Évora, the charming UNESCO (world heritage patrimony) small town, full of Roman vestiges, medieval churches and palaces. Each street keeps the charm of the past, as a secret for you!
After lunch in a local traditional restaurant, we have the first orientation walk before the first cooking class, in a renovated but traditional kitchen, at the courtyard of the family house, with orange and lemon trees, just outside of the Medieval 16th century wall.
Then we have our first cooking class followed by dinner: Introduction to Portuguese Gastronomy, a study in influences and seasonings.
Overnight in Évora at your chosen hotel.
Day Two - Tuesday
After breakfast our second cooking class begins: the importance of fish and olive oil in Portuguese Cuisine. Lunch is a chance to sample your own cooking. Non-cooking partners are welcome to join at the table.
This afternoon we will visit one of the wineries of the Reguengos wine area, the most popular in the south of Portugal, blending ancient and modern winemaking techniques. The grapes of this wine region include Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, tinta Roriz, and Moreto for red wines; Roupeiro, Manteudo, Perrum, Antão Vaz for the whites - as Portuguese varieties, as well Cabernet Sauvingon and Shyraz. The nearby village of S. Pedro do Corval, is a good example of the best potteries of the region.
This is also the area where we find the oldest olive grove of all Iberian Península, with olive trees older than 2000 years. A few kms away, we have Monsaraz, a medieval hilltop village, where we will have dinner after visiting, under the shadow of the 13th century castle built by King Afonso III. This is a magical place!
Day three - Wednesday
Today's focus is on local produce: The abundance from local Farms and Ranches. This afternoon, we will tour through Évora, visiting the Cathedral (13th century), Chapel of Bones (16th century), Roman Baths and Roman Temple (1st century AD).
Évora is also a nice place for shopping. There you can find jewelry, cork articles (hats, shoes, aprons, purses, bracelets, etc), tiles, wines and much more.
Dinner at a local restaurant.
Day Four - Thursday
Today is your day off from cooking! Today we will drive into the Northen Alentejo, and before lunch at Vila Viçosa, we will visit its Renaissance Ducal Palace, and the historical Sanctuary of Vila Viçosa, where, John IV, King of Portugal gave his crown to the Virgin Mary, and named her Queen of Portugal. Passing through the marble area we visit the historical and white town of Estremoz, enclosed within its ramparts and overlook a vast plain of gnarled olive trees and wheat fields.
Then we return back to Évora, in time for dinner, passing through a cork factory. *If on the 4 day itinerary, after the tour you will be transferred back to your Lisbon hotel or Lisbon Airport
Day five - Friday
This region is known for its Aromatic Herbs and wild Flowers. This morning we will use them in the dishes that the locals have passed on through generations.
Enjoy an afternoon excursion to visit the fabulous pre-historical megalithic "cromeleque dos almendros", from 4.000 years BC.
This evening, sit down to a farewell dinner at a local Fado House. (We prefer having the farewell dinner this day since very often we have people leaving very early on Sunday, due to the flights back home.)
Day six - saturday
Today's cooking class focuses on the flavors of the south.
After lunch enjoy a siesta and a free afternoon to do some last minute shopping. Time to pack.
Dinner at local restaurant and overnight.
Day seven - Sunday
After breakfast we transfer back to Lisbon. If you have a very early flight on Sunday it can requires an extra charge for a special transfer. Please inquire.
*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc. Menus are samples and may vary according to the season
NON RESIDENTIAL MORNING OR EVENING COOKING CLASS
Take a morning or evening cooking class just outside the walls of Évora, within walking distance from the best local hotels. You will learn an appetizer, fish dish, meat dish, and dessert all accompanied by great Portuguese wines.
Your instructor learned to cook by watching her mother and aunts throughout her childhood (what better way??) and has also learned tradiitional Portuguese cuisine through classes and by cooking in the kitchen of the medieval convents. She graduated from the Escola Hoteleira de Lisboa and ran a restaurant for 15 years with 7 different chefs so has become well versed in the culinary traditions of her home country, Portugal through several different educational experiences.
Come visit this UNESCO World Heritage site and immerse yourself in the flavors of the delicious and healthy Portuguese cuisine.
A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 20 participants.
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party.Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest Airports: Lisboa (Lisbon) Airport (one and a half hour drive)
*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.
SIX DAY PROGRAM - WITHOUT ACCOMMODATION/US$2450
FOUR DAY PROGRAM - WITHOUT ACCOMMODATION/US$1625
DAY COOKING CLASS ONLY/US$150
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a 30% non-refundable deposit per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.
Available upon request for 2 or more persons. Based on availability.
SIX DAY PROGRAM WITHOUT ACCOMMODATIONS
*Transfers to Évora from Lisbon airport or from your hotel in Lisbon to and from Évora to Lisbon
*Five (5) cooking classes with meals and wine
*Two (2) additional lunches (one on Day One and one on Day Four)
*Two (2) dinners (one on Day Two and one farewell dinner on Day Five)
*Two (2) winery visits with wine tastings
*Tours with entrance fees: Évora (Roman Temple 1st C AD, Roman baths 1st C AD, Cathedral 13th C, Bones Chapel 15th C, University 16th C, all the Roman, Moorish, Jewish and Medieval period - Monsaraz (pottery village of S. Pedro do Corval and walking tour in the Medieval Village) - The towns of Estremoz and Vila Viçosa, passing though the marble area and cork factory,
Megalithic tour into the fabulous prehistoric area from 6.000 BC
FOUR DAY PROGRAM WITHOUT ACCOMMODATIONS
*Transfers to Évora from Lisbon airport or from your hotel in Lisbon to and from Évora to Lisbon
*Three (3) cooking classes and lunches (wine included)
*One (1) dinner in local restaurant (wine included)
*Two ( 2) lunches in local restaurants (wine included)
*One (1) wine tasting + guided visit to the winery
*One (1) visit at a local pottery factory + 1 cork factory
*One (1) guided walking tour in Évora (tickets included at Bones Chapel and Cathedral)
*One (1) guided tour to Monsaraz, a Medieval hilltop Village
*One (1) tour to the Marble and Cork area, visiting the Royal Palace of Vila Viçosa
NON RESIDENTIAL COOKING CLASS
*Cooking Class (starter, fish dish, meat dish, dessert)
Airfare, accommodations and personal expenses are not included.
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Cristine T., Halifax, Canada"I found AGH very easy to work with. They respond quickly and effortlessly to any questions. For my trip, I found the Alentejo beautiful, Évora enchanting, the cooking classes incredible and my host exceptional. The whole week was fabulous!"
Chef Valentina C., Las Vegas, Nevada
Christine P., Charlotte, North Carolina
"Dear Jo-Ann - My trip to Portugal was absolutely perfect! I honestly can't think of one thing that I would have changed - everything was so well done! The accomodations were beautiful, comfortable and conveniently located. The food and wine were spectacular. The cooking instruction was perfect, relaxed in an intimate setting and at a level that was easy to replicate at home. Sofia and Angela were wonderful, they made sure everything was taken care of and they allowed me to experience Portugal through the excursions, the cooking, and just getting to know them in a way that I couldn't have done on another trip. It is one of the best vacations I've ever experienced."
Jessie G. and Viren S., Falmouth, Maine
“Dear Jo-Ann - We had a truly magical time in Portugal. What a wonderful place with such interesting people! Once we were met in the hotel lobby, we had no worries and everything went smoothly--she took such very good care of us. Thanks again for a great trip and we will be in touch.”
This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE.
*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.