Goldwasser From Gdansk, Poland (and some news)

Goldwasser from Gdansk, Poland

Have you tried Goldwasser (German “gold water”) before? We were only introduced to the liqueur this week, when our couchsurfer from Gdansk gifted us with this bottle. The first thing you’ll notice is the floating flakes of — real — 23 carat gold, followed by the 38% (!) alcohol content! The recipe of root and herbs have been a closely-guarded secret for hundreds of years, and it has a long, fascinating history, including some legends.

From Local-Life.com:

Local legend (which abounds in Poland) states several murky tales about the invention of Goldwasser, mainly revolving around the god Neptune bestowing the delectable drink upon Gdansk’s citizens. In one he is so sick-and-tired of residents throwing coins into his fountain on Dlugi Targ that he strikes his mighty trident splaying shrapnel everywhere, and this, inexplicably, is why you’ll find gold pieces in the vodka. The other, even more inherently suspicious, claims a Neptune overjoyed by the coins he was being lavished with decided to reward residents with an archetypal water-into-wine manoeuvre by turning the fountain water into vodka. Greedy merchants and landlords hauled it away by the barrel, but not the virtuous owner of restaurant Pod Lososiem – oh no; his vodka is filled with gold forever after for his good stead. Seems a bit of sly marketing on the part of the upmarket restaurant where the distillery once operated has entered the local psyche…

We tried some of this firewater on Wednesday night, and it really packs a punch! It’s supposed to have medicinal value, too, so down the hatch: Na zdrowie!

In other related news, although having a Polish couchsurfer was pure coincidence (and luck, for me):

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Can you tell I’m excited? It’s a six-day press trip sponsored by the Polish government, to promote the Polish food industry to Canadians. In a couple of weeks I’ll be in Warsaw and Poznan, eating, drinking, touring, and taking photos of everything. Nothing out of the ordinary for Gail at Large, except I’m on assignment in a journalist role. As my friend put it: “So, a Canadian raised Filipina who calls Portugal home will travel as a journalist to Poland in order to learn about and promote Polish food to Canadians… Yep, actually makes sense to me. — That should be a great experience!!”

But FIRST THINGS FIRST

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Casa Aguiar is hitting the road tomorrow morning and tripping around the country for nine glorious days, including places where Paulo has not ventured, eg. the Algarve. This also means I’ll be taking a holiday from blogging, too, but will likely take some pictures on my phone, which will end up in one or two of these places:

Instagram: http://instagram.com/gailatlarge
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ImageLegacy
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gailatlargedotcom 

See you on the 22nd!

Porto’s Lighthouse: Farol Da Boa Nova

Farol da Boa Nova, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (8)

Porto’s Farol Da Boa Nova, also known as Farol de Leça as it is located in Leça da Palmeira, is the second tallest lighthouse in Portugal after Aveiro’s Farol da Barra. We toured it last Saturday afternoon as part of Ciência Viva no Verão (nationwide summer open house for science activities).

There was a half-hour lecture in the museum before we were divided into two groups to ascend the 230+ steps up to the top, where the lens is housed. There isn’t much room up there! Or on the stairs, either, so if tight spaces aren’t your cup of tea, best to visit on a Wednesday when it’s quieter. However, the balcony has sweeping views of the surrounding area, which may persuade you to make that stair climb on a nice day. Last Saturday we had a mix of fog and sun, and as you can see in the photos, the weather was changing constantly in the couple of hours we spent there.

I could only find historical information about the lighthouse in Portuguese, but here are some specs:

Height: 46 m
Altitude: 57 m
Scope: 28 miles (52 kms)
Year: 1926

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September 6, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Porto’s Heritage Tram 1 To Passeio Alegre (Video)

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I’ve talked up the virtues of Porto’s Heritage Tram 1 before, but I think it’s high time for some video.

Disclaimer: I’m no videographer. In fact, I make no bones about the fact that making videos with my phone is a barely-manageable feat and it’s a miracle I haven’t yet dropped it into the Douro River or into the path of an incoming tram. If you want to see a GOOD video, check this one out — it shows the conductors, travel in both directions, what happens when cars and people block the tracks, the seat conversion, and more.

If you want to see what I shot yesterday, do lower your expectations first.

The first videoclip is much shorter, showing part of the second quarter of the journey between Ribeira in Porto centre and Foz, the mouth of the Douro River. The second video is much longer, showing the latter part of the journey, around three-quarters of the way.

[video link]

[video link]

September 9, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Random Porto

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sorry not sorry

Summer is hanging on tightly here and I have a sunburn today to prove it. I brought Hania, our Polish couchsurfer, around Porto and took advantage of the 27C weather to sightsee our legs off. Instead of posting a selection of sightseeing pictures, I decided to post some of my favourite random shots taken along the way.

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pigeon-headed

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block sun / catch sun

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diving spot

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puffy signage?

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chouriço assado

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catchy

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I have no idea

September 9, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Bacalhau Com Broa

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Behold, another creation from Mother-in-Law Restaurante: codfish with cornbread. The Portuguese are very fond of their bacalhau, which is curious because cod is not native to Portugal at all — it’s imported from Norway and Atlantic Canada. Yet, the Portuguese have managed to turn it into their national food — boiled codfish is even part of the traditional Christmas Eve meal (colour me surprised on that one).

Even now, my first taste of bacalhau remains my favourite: Bacalhau à Brás, the way Paulo makes it, closely followed by Bacalhau Com Natas (codfish with cream), the way I have learned to make it after lots of tweaking. Codfish has a distinct flavour and texture; some may find it too heavy, or salty, or chewy. It can be all of these things, which is why I prefer it à brás or com natas, both of which blend nicely with the other ingredients, lightening the fish taste and toning down the saltiness.

(In case you’re wondering why these dishes aren’t part of the Traditional Portuguese Kitchen series, it’s because we are sloths on the weekend and getting to the in-laws’ place early enough to photograph the cooking process in its entirety is a feat we have yet to repeat.)

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September 7, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Sunday Sunset

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I have stacks of photos from the weekend, but I’m going to reign myself in and post only these four of today’s sunset and hit the hay. We were driving to the Porto book fair at Crystal Palace when the sky kept changing, and taking photos from the passenger seat was less than ideal. Like the stellar husband he is, Paulo indulged my photographic urge to shoot the sunset from a variety of spots along the busy beach and pulled over for me four times, bless’im.

Cheers to a good weekend!

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September 7, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Just Another Day In Confusion-Land

turkey from the Portuguese kitchen

no one ever goes hungry at Mother-in-Law Restaurante

This is peru, not to be confused with Peru the country. Peru is turkey, not to be confused with Turkey the country.

Confusos? Confusas? Let’s just eat.