Thursday 27 December 2018

A tasting menu with Martins De Sá Port...

Port is one of those drinks which you may already have an opinion on, it is not for everyone and perhaps the image of Port isn’t exactly what could be described as fashionable in the same way that Gin is regarded. I was intrigued then, when I was kindly invited to an evening with Martins De Sá Port at Pen Factory in Liverpool recently. Situated in the elegant Georgian Quarter of Liverpool, Pen Factory as the name would suggest, is located in a former pen factory. Downstairs a convivial bar and open plan restaurant is flanked by a pretty courtyard which leads to an events space upstairs. The invitation promised ‘let us change your opinion on port’ and I was all set for this as we gathered in the charming space, where we were warmly welcomed by Marco the founder of the brand. The concept behind Martins de Sá Port is to introduce port to a new audience and their port is younger, so not aged for such long periods and often lighter in taste - the ports are bottled in sunny Portugal and this shows in the flavour.

The event space was candlelit and our places set, ready for us to enjoy a specially created tasting menu paired with port.

The Pen Factory now serve Martins de Sá white port and tonic on draft, which is such a novel idea. This aromatic port is full of white grape and it was a refreshing welcome drink to get the evening underway. White port and tonic is so crisp and easy to drink and it makes a welcome change from gin and tonic. 

The first course of cured salmon with grapefruit, pistachio, orange blossom and goats curd was a light and flavoursome starter and the salmon paired perfectly with the Martins de Sá white port.

Tawny port paired with smoked duck breast apricot, chanterelles, sourdough and boffard curado cheese was the next course which again highlighted that port can be just as versatile as wine when it is served with food. The tawny port offset the rich duck breast perfectly; this port is aged in the classic tawny style using casks, and it has smooth and sweet notes. 

Next up was the fragrant Ruby port, paired with seared pork belly served with dates, burnt apple, Oreado oil and walnuts. The succulent pork was a delight with the sweet dates and zesty apple and the Ruby port really complemented the subtle layers of flavour - this fruity port is aged without exposure to oxygen. 

One of my favourite ports we sampled was the Rose port, light and sweet this was a delicate delight and ideally suited to a novice port drinker like me! The notes include cherry and honeysuckle and this port was paired with cod loin fritters, sour melon, rocket, paprika and saffron, just the Mediterranean style dish to go with the rose port.

We rounded off dinner with traditional Portuguese Pastéis de Nata and stewed pear with white port and rhubarb ice cream. It was a pleasure to attend the dinner which was a fascinating odyssey through the different styles of port produced by Martins de Sá. Marco proved to be an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly host and it was an evening of great food and good conversation which we all thoroughly enjoyed. 

You can visit their website here: 

 Pen Factory Liverpool: 

Thank you again to the team at Martins De Sá Port for welcoming me to dinner at Pen Factory and you definitely changed my opinion of Port! 

What do you all think, do you like drinking Port and what kind have you tried? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.

Until next time,