6 de març 2005

Palace Hotel, Buçaco

Location: Portugal, Serra do Buçaco
Opening Hours: every day, reservation is recommended
Prices: high (for Portugal)
overall rating: a must go there



The Palace Hotel in Buçaco is one of Portugal's most famous hotels. It is located in a palace built in the beginning of the 20th century mimicking manuelinic style. Located in one of the most beautiful national parks it is sourrounded by woods featuring trees from all over the world which portuguese explorers brought back from their voyages.

In such a place only the four courses menu was an option. We began with an amuse geule (paté de figado), offered by the house. It was definitely the begining of a beautiful friendship! For starters we had espargos com queijo da serra, soupa de legumes and sardinhas à chéfe. These divine creations were followed by tamboril enrollado em bacon and massada de tamboril. Third course tourné de pato and vitela mirandesa. This abundance of delights was highlighted with a combination of desserts. As a worthy finish of such a bacchanal we chose Fim de Seculo and oporto wine (Niepoort vintage 1995 and LBV 1992).

The most notable thing about Buçaco, worth not only a paragraph of it's own, but whole books of it's own, is the wine. Only available in Buçaco and three other hotels in Portugal, made especially for these hotels in the region of Bairrada this wine is the nectar of ancient portuguese gods. The white is fruity but corpeous as only a Bairrada can be, available in vintages from 1944 to 2000 (which we tasted). The red is a largely dominated by Baga grapes, which give him a rich warm flavour, with light notes of tannines. Also this wine is available in vintages from 1944 to 2000. The 1995 is more mature as the 2000, while the younger is more vivid in it's fruit notes. These wines are definetely on the list of portugals best's wines, surpassing many famous wines from france, spain, etc.

All of Buçaco Palace Hotel forms a great ensemble, the fine food and wines are served by descrete but attentive waiters, the glasses are refilled when necessary without unnecessary invasions. Overall, this Hotel is a place to be when in Portugal and well worth the money.

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