Time is a funny thing. It seems both like only yesterday and like forever ago that I was living in Lisbon. Way back in January, before Covid was a thing, I spent a month in this amazing country, and a gift of a lovely bottle of port from my father gave us the excuse to plan a date night to spark my memory.
If you’ve been to Portugal, I hope this date night brings you back to a magical time. If you haven’t, I hope it gives you the desire to visit.
To read ALL of our travel-themed date night itineraries, click here.
Portuguese-Themed Date Night
Eat: Feijoada, Pasteis de Nata, Port
As always, I made the main course and A added dessert. Dinner was feijoada, a hearty stew of beans and meat, served over rice. There are two distinct varieties of feijoada: Portuguese and Brazilian. Brazilian uses black beans while Portuguese uses red or white. I used both red AND white beans, along with beef and smoked sausage, onions, and spinach. It is seasoned with garlic, bay leaves, tomato paste, and thyme. I didn’t thicken it as much as I’d wanted, but I’m sure leftovers will have a better and thicker consistency.
Portuguese feijoada is hearty, healthy-ish, and delicious
Pasteis de nata are my fondest food memory from Lisbon. I ate these amazing custard tarts at least a few times a week, but the thought of making them at home was intimidating. That’s why I date an incredible baker! A not only made them, but did so in about an hour. They consist of a puff pastry rolled up and cut to give a spiral shape at the bottom, and filled with a creamy egg custard. Soooo good!
I still can’t believe A made homemade pasteis de nata
And of course, we enjoyed a few glasses of a fine ruby port. Strong and sweet, it tastes like Portugal in a glass.
Ignore the reflection of dinner in the port glass
Learn: The History of Portugal
Our dinner documentary was a truly lovely brief animated history of Portugal, featuring what seemed like video game graphics of battles. It was an educational watch.
While eating dessert, we set the mood by listening to an Amalia Rodrigues album. She is known as the best fado singer of all time, fado being the distinctly Portuguese music of mostly melancholy. (Madonna was doing fado concerts in Lisbon when I was there.)
Visit: Belem Tower and Pena Palace
Two of the more iconic spots in Portugal, we first visited Belem Tower via Google Arts and Culture, and then Pena Palace in Sintra via AirPano. Pena Palace is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, but the view from drone or helicopter is other-worldly.
Pena Palace is fanciful and gorgeous
Watch: Great British Bake Off and Night Train to Lisbon
After first watching a brief episode of pasteis de nata cooking (or attempting) on the Great British Bake Off, we settled in for our main event, a film adaptation of a book we read while I was in Portugal, Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier. It’s a slow film, and a slower book, but I enjoyed both. It is currently available for free on Prime, with commercials.
Night Train to Lisbon, a solid – if slow – film
So that was our visit to Portugal. I hope it inspires you to plan your own date night!
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