your love affair with portugal

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com



Hello, friends!

We've reached Day 5 in the Countdown to Portugal! For those of you just joining in today:

Registration for the Portugal culinary retreat opens tomorrow at 10am PST

To celebrate and to share with you all the things I love about Portugal, I’ve been posting to the blog this week about this hidden gem of a country and why you need to mark your calendars and join me for 7 days of sun, wine, seafood and stunning views this October!

Here are links to Day 1Day 2Day 3  and Day 4 in case you missed them.

Today, I'm sharing all the details of the retreat with you. Along with a few more reasons I think you should join me this October. Read on to find out what I've got in store for you, then check back tomorrow at 10am to register and start your love affair with Portugal!

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

I take people to places that awaken our senses. 
Places that remind us how life can be lived.


portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

I was not expecting what I found in Portugal.

I went for a photography workshop. I was just passing through for a few days on my way to Paris. It’s sunny, I thought. And I think they have decent wine. Whatever. No big whoop.

But every day I spent in Portugal upended my assumptions and revealed a brand new (and unexpected) passion for this little country that hardly anyone knows about.

But you should.

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

I don't say this lightly:

  • You need to feel the Portuguese sun on your shoulders and breathe in the briny scent of the sea.
  • You need to hear the poetry of Portuguese in your ears.
  • You need a break from obsessing about work and bills and obligations and to-do lists.
  • You need to put your feet up and sip crisp vinho verde from a terrace perched over the river Tejo.
  • You need to walk along cobbled streets that curve between pastel-hued houses.
  • You need to visit tiny fishing villages and centuries-old farmhouses and castles by the sea.
  • You deserve to relax. Slow down. Take in the intense beauty of this wondrous country.
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

I fell hard. Head-over-heels. In love with Portugal.

I fell for its soft-ripened cheeses. Smoky charcuterie. Sultry wines. And the seafood!

Portugal is a country that understands seafood. You absolutely need to taste it, fresh off the line.

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

Now I’m on a mission: 

I want everyone (but especially you--my beauty-savoring, culinary friends) to begin your love affair with Portugal.

Consider me your official match-maker.

Any travel tour or guide book can lead you to the typical tourist spots. But that's where everyone goes. And then you return from your vacation needing a vacation since your nerves are fried from all the planning and the the crowds.

That's why a lot of people don't travel as much as they should. It takes a good amount of time and effort to plan the perfect trip. And it can feel like a crap shoot in terms of the actual experience lining up with your dreams.

This October, all you need to do is book your ticket, pack your bags and show up! I’ll take care of the rest. You’ll leave Portugal feeling refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to re-enter your life with a joyful new perspective.

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

My mission is to create beautiful experiences for people.

Beauty brightens weary perspectives.
Beauty opens hearts and minds.
Beauty shifts priorities from the habitual ho-hum to our true desires.

It slows us down.
Unravels our complications.
Awakens our sleepy creativity.
Opens our eyes to what truly matters and what can fall away...

Traveling to far off places awakens our senses like nothing else can. 

We return to our lives feeling like a veil has been lifted. Things seem more crisp. More purposeful.

More beautiful.

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

People who travel with me enjoy the luxury of ease and authentic, non-touristy, experiences specifically for lovers of beauty and cuisine.

Here's what I have planned for you in Portugal:

  • Two amazing hands-on cooking classes with local chefs
  • Food tours featuring local artisans crafting excellent products with love
  • An excursion to an organic farm in the country where we’ll taste local wines and cheeses, and dine al fresco. 
  • A visit to a fishing village where we’ll learn about centuries-old curing techniques, take a tour of the (lively!) fish market, and visit a tiny, locals-only restaurant for a traditional seafood lunch. Yum!
  • Plenty of opportunities to taste Portugal’s amazing wines and ports and learn how they’re made
  • Several cheese and charcuterie tastings. You will not believe how good the cheese and charcuterie are in Portugal! You’re going to want to fill your suitcases with this stuff.
  • Lots of tasting pastéis de nata and other delicious pastries  
  • Local guides who will lead us to the city’s hidden culinary gems. 
  • Neighborhood walking tours highlighting Portugal’s amazingly beautiful architecture and grand history
  • Visits to some of Lisbon and Porto’s most fantastic shops and markets
  • Delicious breakfasts, Portuguese-style
  • Lunch or dinner every day at local restaurants, traditional and modern 
  • Eight nights of accommodation at boutique hotels in Lisbon and Porto. (Hand-picked by moi, after much deliberation. They’re beautiful.) 
  • A bedroom all to yourself. (So you can chill out when you’re tired of being around other people and get a great night’s sleep.) 
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
  • Transportation within Lisbon and Porto and for all excursions. Taxis! Subways! Trains! Boats! So much adventure!
  • Gratuities for local guides, instructors, drivers, servers and hotel staff. Because we’re nice like that. And because they work hard taking care of the details that make our stay extraordinary.
  • Free time to make your own discoveries. Sometimes the discoveries you stumble on to are the most memorable.
  • Personalized recommendations of Lisbon and Porto sights and shops for your free time--in case you need a little help figuring out what to do.
  • The joy of traveling with a small group of fellow food lovers!
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
"I enjoyed everything! Our group was fun and Olaiya responded easily to our requests for seeing or doing this or that. The food was amazing, and I loved how we walked everywhere, which kept us hungry enough to eat all of the delicious food. The restaurants were carefully chosen and we chatted with each Chef towards the end of our meal. It was delightful!
Enjoying the sites and history fit easily between our planned events. Olaiya was amenable to moving things around based on our interests which made for a very personalized experience.
The trip was so well thought out, organized, and relaxed. I cannot wait for the next Portugal trip and traveling with the wonderful Olaiya!" -- Sonya
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

The Details...

October 3-9, 2016.
The perfect time to visit Portugal, in my opinion.

7 days of eating, drinking, cooking and wandering our way through Lisbon and Porto!

Size of group:
6 (plus me)!

$4497 for seven carefree days of beauty and inspiration. And the food. Did I mention the food?

A 50% deposit is required to reserve your spot. The balance is due two months before we depart.

What's not included:

• Your airline tickets, taxes & baggage fees

• Travel insurance. Which is pretty nifty and I highly advise.

• Room service. 

• Gratuities for restaurant wait staff when you’re not with the group

• Meals when you’re not with the group

• Any activities or items not listed above

Cancellation policy:
Please be sure you can attend before booking. All payments are non-refundable.

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”  

– Sir Richard Burton

There are only 3 spots left. One of them is yours.



portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

the sweet life, portuguese-style

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

Welcome to Day 2 of the Countdown to Portugal 2016! For anyone who missed yesterday’s post:

Registration for my Portugal culinary retreat opens on Monday, June 27 at 10am PST

To celebrate and to familiarize you with one of my very favorite countries, I’m posting to the blog every day this week about why I’m crazy in love with Portugal! 

Today, I’m going to introduce you to the country’s rich, eggy traditional sweets. 

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

Before visiting Portugal, I’d never tasted pastries like these. Most of pastries and confections I’ve encountered in Portugal are based on the alchemy of egg yolks and sugar. These traditional Portuguese sweets are the result of two historical circumstances that collided in the 16th century: an influx of sugar from Portugal’s colonies and a large population of nuns using egg whites to starch their habits. Ever resourceful, the nuns combined the surplus yolks and newly abundant sugar to create many of the desserts still popular in Portugal today. 

And the names! I think the convents were trying to outdo each other with the originality of their sweets. We’ve got heavenly pillows (travesseiros), nun’s bellies (barrigas de freira), bacon from heaven (toucinho do céu) and angel’s cheeks (papos de anjo)--or angel’s breasts, depending on who you ask--just to name a few. 

Image via  Wikipedia

Image via Wikipedia

The most well known Portuguese pastry (and one of my favorites) is the pastél de nata. The combination of a creamy, eggy filling nestled in a golden, crisp crust feels like comfort food no matter where you’re from. When I land in Portugal, one of the first things I do is head to my favorite pastelaria for a still-warm-from-the-oven pastél de nata and an espresso. These flaky little custard tarts + a strong cup of coffee = breakfast bliss! 

Another of my favorite Portuguese pastries is the pastél de Tentúgal. This is a cylinder of flaky phyllo-like dough filled with a rich egg cream. It’s brushed with butter, baked until puffed and golden brown, and dusted with powdered sugar. I became obsessed with these after tasting them on last year’s retreat. After much research, I created a version almost as good as the ones I tasted in Portugal. You can check out my recipe here

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

If you find yourself in Lisbon, you absolutely need to head to the 187-year-old Confeitaria Nacional and order yourself a pão de deus. This airy brioche with a layer of coconut custard under a golden, crisp coconut top is not to be missed.

When in Porto, make sure you include a stop at Leitaria da Quinta, who make one stunner of an eclair. It’s not a traditional convent sweet, but their classic eclair, stuffed full of lightly sweetened whipped cream and topped with a dark milk chocolate glaze, is ridiculously good.

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

And if you’ve made it that far, you might as well stop into neighboring Padaria Ribeiro, my favorite bakery in Porto. I am a huge fan of their bite-sized pastries. I’m going to be honest: I have no idea what most of them are. There are SO many. Some are sweeter than others. Some are filled with toasted coconut. Some with tart apple. Some with egg cream. But they’re always fantastic. I recommend pointing out several in the case that are calling your name, ordering one of their excellent espressos and taking a seat on their sunny patio to discover which you like best. 

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

I could go on for days about all the Portuguese sweets worth searching out. As you might have noticed, I’m on a MISSION to tell the world about the awesomeness that is Portugal! Many of its foods are still hyper-local and artisan-made. Few of them leave the country. Which means it’s a food paradise waiting to be explored. I'll be posting more on the wine and savory specialties of Portugal later this week, so stay tuned!



P.S. If you’re not already signed up for my mailing list, click here for updates on all trips and events.

countdown to portugal 2016!

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com


I’m popping in with a quick post to say thank you and let you know about some upcoming events:

First off, the Paris retreat sold out in a record 5 days! 

Thank you SO much for all your support! Leading culinary retreats abroad has been an amazing experience. And something I couldn’t have done without the love you all show by reading along here, following on social media, coming to classes and voyaging with me across the sea. So I’m sending you all a HUGE thank you! 

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

Lots of you have emailed me asking about future tours, so I wanted to let you know I’ve got an amazing Portugal retreat in store for you this October 3-9!

Registration for the Portugal retreat opens on Monday, June 27 at 10am PST

To celebrate (and get you better acquainted with this wonderful country), I’ll be posting to the blog all week about the magic of Portugal and why you need to mark your calendars and join me for 7 days of sun, wine, seafood and stunning views this October!

portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com
portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com

Check back here all week to learn about some of the things (and people and foods) that make Portugal such a hidden gem! 

And if you’re not already signed up for my mailing list, click here for updates on all trips and events.

See you tomorrow!


portugal culinary retreat via millys-kitchen.com