A last minute invitation from Marco and Patricia led to an impromtu Sunday ride, that culminated in a lunchtime visit to Adega Regional Nariz do Mundo in Moscoso. We were amazed at the mounds of meat that were served and even more surprised at the very affordable price.
The initial leg of our ride took us from Porto to Guimaraes. Temperatures dropped along the way from 8C to a finger-chilling 6 degrees C (42F), reminding us that, despite the occasional sunny days, it is still winter. After meeting up with Marco and Patricia, we headed east to Cabeceiras de Basto. Whilst the temperatures gradually climbed to a more comfortable 11C (51F), we had to contend with several sections of road where frost was still present, in the shaded sections of road where the sun couldn’t reach.
The village of Cabeceiras de Basto gets part of its name from the legendary warrior (Basto) who resisted the Moorish invasions in that region. It was an important pilgrimage centre during the Middle Ages and a monastery was subsequently built there, with construction commencing in the 17th century.
During a short stop at Cabeceiras de Basto, we admired the Mosteiro de São Miguel de Refojos (Monastery of St. Michael of Refojos), with its impressive facade and twin bell towers. The interior features a large gilt altar and a matching pair of ornate organs that are decorated with sculptures of a faun or satyr (half man – half goat). Interestingly, the floor is comprised of many wooden hatches that cover burial vaults.
The Casa do Tempo (House of Time) is located behind the monastery and offers an insight into the history, culture and traditions of the region. Admission was free, so we took the opportunity to have a quick look around. I particularly liked the recreation of a traditional kitchen with all of the vintage pots, pans and paraphernalia. I was also intrigued by a straw suit and boots, alongside farming implements.
We didn’t have time to visit the rest of the village, as we needed to get back on the bikes and go eat some lunch.
Next up was the reason for the trip – regional food at Nariz do Mundo (Nose of the World). As we approached the restaurant, we saw a parked tour bus, and many cars parked along the road. The car-park was also full, but we managed to find a small space for our bikes.
The restaurant was full to overflowing! As we entered, people were standing in every available space, waiting for tables to become available. A large refrigerated display case held many cuts of beef. Behind it, a chef was grilling meat. The waiters were scurrying back and forth between the kitchen and tables, working as fast as they could. It was clear that we would have to wait a while, but the food smelled so delicious that we knew it would be worthwhile. Meanwhile, our mouths watered as we watched plate after plate of cooked meat pass in front of us.
Eventually, we were shown to a table and our orders were taken. Marco and I would share a platter of Chanfana (roasted goat) whilst Bev and Patricia opted for the beef steak. Along with that came rice, vegetables, chourico and some delicious pork and beans. Wine was included and some tasty bread. The meat orders are intended for two people to share, and there was plenty of it! The goat meat was so tender and delicious! I was enjoying all of the food but, before long, my stomach was straining under the load. I wanted to continue to enjoy the food, but I was rapidly running out of space to put it! We tried our best, but we couldn’t finish the mounds of meat that had been put on our table. We declined to order dessert, but were still served some ‘house cake’ and a type of French bread covered in honey. Oh, my poor stomach! Unable to eat another thing, we asked for the bill. Amazing! A total of €50 (12.50 each) for all of that food. No wonder the place is so popular!
Before leaving, we took a few minutes to enjoy the scenery around the restaurant. Open fields and distant mountains with cattle and chickens being raised nearby and a vegetable plot next to the restaurant. A lovely rural setting.
We headed home, via Guimaraes, with a lovely sunset to round out a very pleasant day-trip that had covered a total of 143 miles (230km). I was so full that I didn’t eat dinner. That one meal was more than enough for an entire day!