Vinum “III Jornadas do Boi de Trás-os-Montes”

Boi2015 - 9Another year, another edition of Vinum’s gastronomic “festival”, the restaurant of Graham’s Port Lodge, a partnership with the Basque group Sagardi that brings to its guests the Festival of Trás-os-Montes Ox. An event consisting on the celebration (forgive me the vegans and vegetarians, but I think celebration is the proper word) and the presentation of a unique meat, the Old Ox meat (13 years old, with over 1300 kg), which this year they found on the border of Minho and Trás-os-Montes, after a long an intense attempt to persuade Mr.  Armindo Soares (82 years old) to sell the animals he treated like family along the years.

Boi2015 - 7An imposing  large chop

The careful choice was once again carried out  by Imanol Jaca, the most reputed meat supplier of the Iberian Peninsula, and Inaki  Viñaspre, the helmsman of the Sagardi group.

Boi2015 - 8 Inaki  Viñaspre

After a reception with Tonic Port and a nice codfish salad, in a finger food style, we went to the tables were once again the fantastic bread from Vinum was shining (still unbeaten as the best bread in the city) and the olive oil from Quinta do Ataíde. Followed the only white produced by the group, the young and uncomplicated Altano Branco 2014.

Boi2015 - 6Alheira, toast and peppers 

To start the menu of this festival, one of the icons of Trás-os-Montes’ gastronomy, the alheira, without great preparations like tradition dictates, nicely grilled over toasted bread and peppers to brighten the flavor.

 Boi2015 - 5Codfish, White beans and clams 
A palatable and tasty white bean soup with clams and half cured codfish. Cookings on spot, with a delicate and interesting match between the sea flavor and the earthy taste of the bean. A beautiful beginning!

Accompanying an also interesting Pombal do Vesúvio 2011.

Boi2015 - 1

Boi2015 - 2Meanwhile in the kitchen…

Boi2015 - 3Large chop of Trás-os-Montes ox, roasted piquillo peppers
And here comes the king of the party, the reason of us being reunited at Vinum, the Ox large chop. Stupidly delicious meat, without secrets in the preparation, just salt and a sharp domain of the grill. Delicate and soft flavor, a fat to eat and cry for more (yes, mister nutritionists, dietitians, vegans, and so on). This year, maybe due to its size, age and also quality of the animal, the dairy and herbaceous flavors the Basque like so much in the maturation of the meat were even more noticeable than in the previous editions. For sure the best meat yet of these festivals. So much that in the end, and with the rest of the table a bit ashamed, I had to grab the bone and enjoy the most I could form the animal. High score to the sides, already a tradition, some true piquillo peppers, which sweetness balanced perfectly with the meat.

On the glass, the company couldn’t been better as well, with an excellent and elegant Quinta do Vesúvio 2012, showing that year after year, the Vesúvio DOC wines are revealing as part of the great Douro wines.

Followed some national cheeses, with Queijo da Serra and some cured cheeses of half cure, but the highlight is for the rare quality of the Stilton, so rare to find. Accompanying, as it should be, the Port, with a Vintage da Graham’s, from 1977, one of the historic years of the house, in a great shape, with a seductive nose and a mouth filling our measures, a wine still with a lot to offer.

As dessert, a chocolate cake with a Chocolate and Coffee Mousse, accompanyed by a Vanilla icecream. A simple ending and well prepared, I just dispensed the adding of coffee.

Between conversations, we finished the Port, while wishing that next year, Mr. Armindo Soares would sell another pair of his loved animals!

If you’re curious and wanting to taste this meat, be aware te menu (93€ without wines) is ending, so you better hurry!

Restaurante Vinum 
Rua do Agro nº 141 (Graham’s Port Lodge), Gaia
+351 220 930 417

Versão Portuguesa

 Photos: Flavors & Senses 

– We were at the presentation of the III Jornadas do Boi de Trás-Os-Montes by invitation from Symington,whereas this not alter our work, being the opinion and the text of the exclusive responsibility of the author.

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