Though we are staying in Palmela, we drive into Azeitao periodically which is about 13 kilometers (eight miles) away. It is where we stayed previously. It is difficult to get Azeitao out of one’s blood. Vineyards, hundreds of years old, seed the countryside providing both wine and visual warmth.
The restaurant, Wine Corner, is within the winery, Jose Maria da Fonseca , one of our favorite restaurants we have found in Portugal—both the ambience and food are a draw.
The area known as Azeitao is actually made up of a number of villages—all small and picturesque. In the heart of Azeitao is Vila Nogueria de Azeitao, amply inviting and for lack of a better word, cute. The main drag, if you can call it that, has a number of small shops, coffee shops, restaurants, and the famous Jose Maria da Fonseca winery.
The famous Jose Maria Da Fonseca winery lies in the heart of Vila Nogueria de Azeitao.
Our favorite coffee shop, Casa Negrito, has both indoor and outdoor seating. The pastry for which Azeitao is famous, the Torta de Azeitao, is a rolled pastry filled with what I believe is a cinnamon cream center. Of course, I had to have one. The staff is quick and efficient, and the shop appears to be the busiest in town.
Within the Jose Maria da Fonseca winery is a wine shop and restaurant. When “Deke” and I went into the wine shop, we expected high prices; however, what we found were low-cost to luxury options. The restaurant, Wine Corner, is one of our favorites we have found in Portugal—both the ambience and food are a draw. We liked it so much that we patronized them twice—once for our 10th Anniversary—a biggie.
Me standing next to the grape fountain in Azeitao.
One of the most unique curiosities in town is a grape fountain—I have never seen one like it anywhere. Not far from the grape fountain is a statue of Carlos Alberto Ferreira Junior, a man who gave his time and talents for the Azeitao area.
Deke having a little fun with the statue of Carlos Alberto Ferreira Junior, a man who gave his time and talents for the Azeitao area.
Not too far from the center of Vila Nogueria de Azeitao is Azeitao Bachaloa Parque II. There is ample grass for my dog Schpilker for which she was very happy. The rough thing was that when we got out of our car, Damien’s dogs were jumping up on their owner’s fence with the intent to come and eat us. If anyone saw “The Omen,” you’ll know what I mean.
There are also walking paths, workout equipment, and a playground area. A unique feature of the park is sculptured olive trees—something I had never seen before.
A unique feature of Azeitao Bachaloa Parque II is the sculpted olive trees.
On a grimmer subject (depending upon how you look at it), is the Azeitao Cemetery. The Portuguese approach to death seems very different than the American sentiment. Within their crypts, you can sometimes see the coffins inside through a window. I have never seen this in the United States. They also tend to favor photographs of the deceased, and the graves are well-tended. There seems to be more of an acceptance that death is a part of life and more visits to the cemetery in general.
Within the Azeitao crypts, you can often see the coffins inside through a window. The Portuguese also seem to favor photographs of the deceased.
Outside a visit to the cemetery in Azeitao, whether you’re coming for a day-long wine tour or a drive around the countryside, Azeitao is worth a return visit.
An Azeitao vineyard under a moody sky.