segunda-feira, 4 de abril de 2011
"A vast treasure trove"
"Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, is as robust and intoxicating as the fortified wine that is produced here. (...) Despite Porto's undeniable historic heritage, this is not a city trapped in the past. In fact, whenever Porto does look to the future, it does so with enthusiasm and success.(...) Reminiscent of a general store from a bygone era, nearby A Vida Portuguesa laughs in the face of globalization by carrying a range of Portuguese products from yesteryear that, although still in production today, have resisted the urge to change the times. Open since 2006 in the premises of an old-fashiones cosmetics warehouse that dates to the late 19th century, this retro emporium is a vast treasure trove of nostalgic household items from Porto and beyond. Beautifully displayed in original fixtures and fittings, treats in store include hand-made Claus Porto soaps, individually wrapped in tissue paper and packaged in gorgeously patterned boxes, the designs of which have remained unchanged for decades; crisp Emilio Braga notebooks, each one bound with a hand-sponged black and white "cloud" patterned cover, exactly as they've been since 1918; and Bordallo Pinheiro ceramics with designs dating back to 1884, the range includes plates, bowls, tureens, and serving platters in whimsical, natural shapes like cabbage leaves, strawberries, and fish. You'll also find cans of olive oil, handmade chocolates, hand-wooven wool blankets, nostalgic children's toys, traditional aluminium cookware, and handcrafted jewelry, all produced in Portugal in the same way, and boxed in the same pacjaging that they always have been. Although you may be familiar with some of these items (Claus Porto soaps are exported to the United States, and Oprah is said to be a huge fan) there's plenty more to discover. I learned that one product, Couto toothpaste, is not only popular because it retains its original retro logo and strong minty taste, it also, scores on its ethical credentials. Formulated by Dr. Alberto Ferreira Couto in Porto in 1932, it's favoured by vegans because it's a natural product that was never tested on animals. Similarly, grand old grandmothers come here from all across Portugal to stock up on Água de Colónia Lavanda or Benamor cleansing cream, products they've used and loved since they were girls. For us it's a fabulous place to shop, but for many locals it's a proper nostalgia trip.(...) A Vida Portuguesa. Occupying a building dating to the early 1900s, including toiletries, stationery, jewelery, food, handicrafts, toys and gifts." Stuart Haggas, European Correspondent, Passport magazine, April 2011.