Oporto smugness

Oporto residents have been smug since 1933. That’s the year when Arcadia, a wonderful artisanal chocolate maker, opened its doors in that northern city. In France, chocolatiers compete for the title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France and the winners receive plenty of fame and recognition. But these are not the ways of Portugal, where we often keep quiet about our great things. So, Arcadia remained under the radar for decades.

In 2010, Arcadia started opening stores outside of Oporto so the rest of the country could finally find out what they’d been missing. There’s a lot to catch up with, from dark chocolate made with São Tomé cocoa, to port wine bonbons, beautiful chocolate roses, and delicious “cat tongues.” No wonder Oporto residents were so smug!

Arcádia, Rua do Almada, 63, Porto, tel. 22 200 15 18, Av. de Roma 14D, Lisboa, tel. 21 840 8670, email online@arcadia.pt. Click here for the Arcadia website. You can also buy Arcadia chocolates at Portfolio, a store in the  Lisbon airport. Click here for their website.

The first Portuguese hero

Viriato was the first Portuguese hero. As a leader of the Lusitanos, he resisted the Roman invasion between 147 BC and 139 BC by waging a clever guerrilla war. He died in bed, assassinated by members of his tribe bribed by the Romans.

In the 1940s the city of Viseu erected an impressive monument to Viriato. But the most popular homage to the great warrior is not carved in marble or cast in bronze. It is made of eggs, coconut, and sugar. The V-shaped pastries called Viriatos are very popular in the Viseu region. And, thanks to them, all the little kids know the name of Portugal’s first hero.