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I was watching an American program on TV the other day and they mentioned that something would be good for a Den or “man cave”
I think that I understood what they meant. The kind of place in the home where men like to hang out or watch sport on TV.
The “man cave” is alive and well here in central Portugal. Here they call it the Adega, the place where wine is made and stored. The good news is that whenever you visit a Portuguese friend or neighbor with an Adega they will always say would you like a glass of wine “gostaria de um copo de vinho”
It is very important that you don’t pass up this opportunity if you want to get to know people in your locality.
Not just for a drink ( which helps your fledgling Portuguese no end) but the opportunity to go into the man cave. Here talk of business is suspended and over several glasses of wine and maybe some homemade dried ham (Presunto) or walnuts you will have the opportunity to relax, chat and get to know people.
It’s not about showing off the high quality of wine that they make in fact they will tell you that this years red is not well made (não bem feita) its more about heritage.This was the only form of entertainment in the bad old days of the dictatorship.
Many people make undrinkable wine and still invite you to take a cup. Do not refuse!
Traditionally the Adega is the domain of men. However for some unknown reason foreign women with their husbands are perfectly welcome. Ladies please don’t drink beer out of the bottle. I don’t know why but is regarded as being uncouth. This is bizarre when an Adega often has a girlie calendar or two on the wall.
Oh yes, often women will be offered Jeropiga (a homemade port which is very sweet and very good) It’s also very strong funnily enough it reminds me of when I was a teen in the UK at parties parents would say I don’t want to see any beer in here you can drink Cider that’s all. When cider was stronger than canned beer?
To prove my point about and adega being aspirational here is a Portuguese man cave.
The funny thing is that it is in the ground floor of a very small, very poor house.
The owner is obviously out to impress or it could just be that it was his ambition to have a rustic Adega like this.
An old ox cart wheel as a candelabra is very common, exposed chestnut beams, The concrete block wine rack and bar. The radio and old clothes chest which makes a fine seat and of course is a piece of furniture that the owner was probably brought up with.
Hats off to him he has built his “man cave” with very little money and has a place to entertain and impress – subject to the quality of his wine!
Enjoy your personal sink into Portugal !