Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ginjinha

Ginginha is one of the most Portuguese typical drinks and today, we’ll introduce you to it. Present in every market or any typical tavern, it has its “hotspots” in Rossio Square.

The morello (or sour) cherry is the fruit of the morello tree (Prunus cerasus L.), which belongs to the same species of the cherry tree (Prunus avium L.). Although from distinct species, the fruit of both trees have great similarities, the morello cherry is more acidic than the cherry which is sweeter.

The morello tree had its origin in the Southwest Asia but was brought by the Romans to various places of their empire.

In Portugal, there are written references to its presence since, at least, the 1st century A.D.. In the 15th century, the use of the morello cherries was already very common in our country, either for fresh consumption or for medicinal applications. In the 18th century, due to conventual recipes, a handmade drink of morello cherries dipped into brandy started to be marketed. This experiment recipe later evolved into the well-known ginjinha (little morello, in Portuguese).

Nowadays, ginjinha is a liqueur obtained through the maceration of the morello (sour) cherries with sugar and aguardente (a Portuguese brandy), without preservatives. But still, it is frequently flavored
with other ingredients such as cinnamon stick or vanilla. It has a red or ruby color, it is fruit-scented, with velvety and sweet or bittersweet intense flavor. With an alcohol content of around 20%, it ought to be savored at a temperature of about 10°C, as a digestive, or simply whenever you feel like it.


The ritual of drinking this liqueur is very simple as you can either have it without the morello cherries, "ginjinha sem elas” (ginjinha without them) or with the morello cherries, "ginjinha com elas” (ginjinha with them).

Like other fado singers, the eternal Amália Rodrigues dedicated a fado song to ginjinha, praising it. It is a typical product of some Portuguese regions such as Serra da Estrela and Algarve, with a higher reputation in the regions of Óbidos and Alcobaça. In Lisbon, ginjinha is especially popular and it is one of the capital’s ex-libris.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Top 5 – 2017’s most visited Museums

The Directorate General for Cultural Heritage just released the information regarding the most visited museums during the 1st trimester of 2017.

According to several publications, Lisbon is one of the cities to visit in 2017, and among the features mentioned by all of them are Lisbon’s cultural and historical richness.

The Directorate General for Cultural Heritage, the organism in charge of museums and monuments, released the number of visitors all through the 1st trimester. As expected, the Museu Nacional dos Coches, just reopened, was the most visited museum of the 1st trimester, with an increase of 1,4%,  followed by Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, but the big surprises come from the Museu Nacional de
Arqueologia and the Museu Nacional dos Azulejos both presenting good results, with increases around 20%, as seen below on the top 5.

1. Museu Nacional dos Coches - 70.227 visitors
2. Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga - 47.089 visitors
3. Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea Chiado - 46.973 visitors
4. Museu Nacional de Arqueologia - 38.301 visitors
5. Museu Nacional do Azulejo - 33.568 visitors

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Reopening of the National Coach Museum

The National Coach Museum reopens this Saturday with a new museum project.

On May 20th, the National Coach Museum, one of the most visited museums in the country, opens at 10 am and will remain open until midnight. Displaying a unique collection of the world of gala coaches and carriages from the 17th to the 19th century, mostly from the crown estate or private property of the Portuguese Royal House.

Among the pieces is the "Coche dos Oceanos", one of the coaches of the embassy sent to Pope Clement XI in 1716 by Portuguese King João V.

The reopening on this exact date is not a coincidence. On May 20th  it is celebrated the European Night of Museums, created by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, which will fill the Portuguese museums with special activities throughout the night.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Top 5 – Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

This week we’ll write about the most important Portuguese museum, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga.

Created in 1884, and located in the Palácio Alvor for almost 130 years, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga has had its current title for more than a century. It is home to the most important Portuguese public collection of art, ranging from paintings to sculpture, and gold and silverware, as well as decorative arts from Europe, Africa and the Far East.

Containing over 40,000 items, the museum collection has the largest number of works classified by the State as “national treasures”. In its various sections, it also has a number of major works of art in the context of the world artistic heritage.

In this small article, we will give you the top 5 features not to miss, when visiting this treasure of Portuguese Culture.

1 – Tentações de Santo Antão

Signed by Bosh this three-paneled painting displays the Earth’s four elements, making them the background of horrifying characters, it is one of the museum’s treasures and one of the world’s great paintings.

2 – Portuguese and Chinese Ceramics

The museum’s 7,500-piece collection of ceramics illustrates the interplay of influences. From the 16th century, Portuguese faïence shows traces of Ming, while the Chinese porcelain features coats of arms and other Portuguese motifs.

3 – Painel de São Vicente

Perhaps the most important Portuguese painting, the six paintings attributed to Nuno Gonçalves is a solemn and monumental assembly, representing the Court and various groups of Portuguese society at the time.

4 – Santo Agostinho

This mid-15th century work by Piero della Francesca was identified in 1946 as the missing panel of an altarpiece painted for the church of St Augustine in Borgo San Sepolcro, Italy.

5 - Namban Screens

After encountering Portuguese travelers in the 16th century, Japan’s artists portrayed them as namban-jin, or “southern barbarians”. The screens were not meant to be shown outside Japan.


Friday, 5 May 2017

SOPRA Festival at the National Coach Museum

Sundays at the National Coach Museum will be even more special and filled with music.

The National Coach Museum will present you with a quite different atmosphere, every Sundays in May and June.

The SOPRA Festival, chamber music for wind instruments, will take place at the new auditorium, hosting several performances by three groups. Here’s the complete schedule:

May 7th, June 4th and 18th
Brass quintet – Grupo de Metais do Seixal

May 14th, 21st and 28th
Clarinet quartet – Quarteto de Clarinetes de Lisboa

June 11th and 25th
Saxophone quartet – Tejo Quartet

Friday, 28 April 2017

Lisbon - One of Europe’s Paradise

Beautiful, inexpensive, safe ... Lisbon is one of Europe’s paradises, according to Time magazine.

In a ranking lead by Prague, Lisbon got 6th place right after Rome, Cracow, Crete and Paris.
Lisbon is praised by the US magazine for its "renewed attitude" and the articles also gives several tips for visitors wishing to spend a few days in the Portuguese capital.

The Torre de Belém, the Jerónimos Monastery, the famous Pastéis de Belém, the cable car 28, Alfama, the Sé and the Berardo Museum are highlighted as mandatory stops in a city that Time stands out also for its low prices and safety.

The list was created according to several criteria such as price, safety, quality of public transport, road traffic and quality of services offered to tourists.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Fado

The origin of fado is controversial, and there are those who relate it to the chanting of the muslims who remained in Lisbon after the 12th century’s Christian reconquest and those who associate it to the songs of the sailors involved in the portuguese discoveries that started in the 14th century.

However, the most likely hypothesis is that fado, with an urban matrix resultant of the different cultures existing in Lisbon, was born and imposed itself in the mid-19th century, from the fusion of a kind of popular songs ("modinhas") with others of afro-brazilian origin ("lundum").

Initially associated with the populace and with those who frequented the alleys, taverns and brothels of the capital’s old historical neighborhoods, fado was fast accepted by the higher socio-economic classes and even by the nobles, who introduced it in aristocratic salons, making it more melodic, literary and artistic.

Despite the impulse given by the radio broadcast, theatre, cinema and by the "casas de fado” (fado houses) born in the meantime, it was only in the 50s of the last century that fado surpassed boundaries and was projected worldwide, thanks to the greatest fado singer ever: Amália Rodrigues.

It is, in general, a sad song that expresses the nostalgia, melancholy and saudade (longing, missing) of the Portuguese people. It speaks of love, jealousy, pain and of the misfortunes of fate, and it may also be sometimes associated with bullfighting, religious themes, bucolic themes, etc.. Nowadays, it is almost always sung at night, by a man or a woman, the latter standing out in black clothing and with the traditional shawl. It is accompanied by Portuguese guitar (a 12 string instrument, with a pear-shaped box) and viola.

Classified by UNESCO, in 2011, as World Intangible Cultural Heritage, fado is the greatest Portuguese musical symbol, and, especially, the song of the city of Lisbon.