Text Ilkka Sirén
By now I have already lost count of how many times I have visited Portugal. But traveling there for wine mostly has given me a very different kind of view of the country. I think I have visited a beach only once in Portugal which a bit weird, especially coming from the cold north. People told me there are great beaches in Portugal but I could only imagine. Until I visited Aveiro.
I was visiting Bairrada, a wine region known for baga-fame and thermal spas. I concentrated mostly on the first one. After a while of stuffing myself with some really delicious leitão and visiting a couple of wineries a local winemaker Filipa Pato (see Sarah Ahmed’s article about Filipa Pato here) suggested I should visit Aveiro. I had never heard of this city before but I was intrigued. So, we took off from Bairrada and headed to the beach.
Aveiro is known for a couple of things. The beaches are definitely on the must-see list you ever visit this part of the world. Aveiro is called “the Venice of Portugal” because of its canals and gondola-like boats. But let me tell you, this ain’t Venice and those are not gondolas. First of all the boats, or moliceiros, are very colourful and quite beautiful to be honest. But when you take a closer look you find that the décor is quite hmm… shall we say particular.
Being close to the ocean the seafood is no joke here. The abundance of fish, crab and all sorts of maritime treats is just mind-boggling. I never know what to order so I usually order a bit of everything. Seafood rice, shrimps, maybe some clams and oh yeah, fish-of-the-day whatever that may be. Let’s not forget the wine. When you’re in Aveiro geographically speaking Bairrada would be a good choice to start.
I had a Quinta das Bageiras Bruto Natural Rosé 2011. A fresh and savoury sparkling wine from one of the best wine producers in Bairrada. 100% Baga, 100% kickass. An inexplicably good match with all kinds of seafood. Of course if you are in Aveiro for dessert you have to try the Ovos Moles. A local sweet delicacy that is made from egg yolks and sugar. If you are into really sweet things then is for you.
The beautiful beaches and the proximity to some of the most exciting wine regions in the world makes this city a great destination for surfers and foodies alike. Whether you want to catch a wave or an afternoon buzz drinking some delicious wines and eating world-class seafood, Aveiro is the place for you.