We have discovered that the northern Portuguese town of Vila Nova de Cerveira is having a medieval festival.
We stumbled on it quite by chance last evening after returning from a day out in Porto.
Today is Saturday and we are keen to find out more and explore all the bits that we missed because last night it got too dark, was past the kids bedtime and because we were focused on the music and entertainment going on right next to our outdoor restaurant table.
It’s definitely worth a return visit, in daylight we start to see just how much we missed… we hardly know where to look first. It was Little Mr who dragged us to this stall… he spied that a drink was being served in a chocolate cup and wanted one.
Bad Luck for Little Mr. that the drink was alcoholic, he is severely underage and has no money so the answer therefore on all fronts was a resounding “No”.
Since I wasn’t driving our temperamental rental car, am of a legal age to consume alcohol, and had funds to pay for a taster, no such restriction applied to me and I was very pleasantly surprised by what I tasted.
So what was this drink? It’s called Ginjinha (or Ginja) and it’s a Portuguese specialty liqueur.
I liked it so much that we bought a bottle to take back to The Netherlands to open on a special occasion at soonest opportunity.
Naturally you would not have a chocolate cup on hand at home… so there were also tiny little earthenware cups in a “shot” size for sale on the stall as well. They were beautiful and they called me, but I already had other Portuguese Food goodies on my shopping list for every tiny spare space in our bags, so we bought not.
In total ignorance I knew nothing previously about this drink, and himself only knew that it was a popular in Portugal, and was a cherry liqueur that he’d tried before and liked.
I looked up Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginjinha to expand my crumb of information and found this:
Ginjinha or simply Ginja, is a liqueur made byinfusing ginja berries, (sour cherry) (Prunus cerasus austera, the Morello cherry) in alcohol (aguardente is used) and adding sugar together with other ingredients. Ginjinha is served in a shot form with a piece of the fruit in the bottom of the cup.
It is a favourite liqueur of many Portuguese and a typical drink in Lisbon, Alcobaça and Óbidos. Other regions produce ginja with protected designation origin, for example the Ginja Serra da Estrela.
The Ginjinha of the Praça de São Domingos in Lisbon was the first establishment in that city to commercialize the drink that gives its name to it.
The success was immediate and Ginginha became the typical drink of Lisbon. In the 2000s, the business was in the hands of the fifth generation. Currently, “the Ginjinha” is an exporter for the market in the United States. The production of Ginjinha reached over 150 thousand litres per year.
In many places of Portugal, especially in the Lisbon and Oeste regions, there are several producers of this traditional liqueur. In Óbidos, Ginjinha is commonly served in a small edible chocolate cup.
… So Thank you Wiki for enlightening me, here are some photos of the rest of the stall…