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When I went to Porto a week ago I’d finally the chance to visit A Vida Portuguesa.

A Vida Portuguesa, or The Portuguese Life, is a vintage-inspired store that only sells  Portuguese iconic products, i.e. products that are very representative of our traditional craftmanship and/or that have kept their original packaging intact since… ever!

I’d heard and read a lot of good things about this store (which has branches both in Lisbon and in Porto) for quite a long time and, after visiting it, I’ve to say I’m completely and absolutely delighted. It’s such a great concept! The store is beautiful and the selection of products is just adorable (I know I’m particularly biased because I’m Portuguese, but my husband, who’d never seen any of those products before, also loved it… and all the shoppers – 99% foreign – seem pretty impressed too! Trust me, you have to visit this shop if you find yourself in Lisbon or Porto).

Well, the pictures do not do justice to the place… but just for you to have an idea here’s a few shots I took of the store in Porto.

The building…

(Some of) The products for sale…

Soaps Claus PortoPasta Medicinal Couto (Medicinal Toothpaste Couto) ♥ Lavender Soaps from Confiança ♥ Shopping lists ♥ “The Causes of the Decadence of the Peninsular People in the Last Three Centuries” by Antero de Quental (then as now, an ever current topic for the Iberian people) ♥ Canned sardines, mackerel and cod

The things I bought…

Créme Benamôr from Fábrica Nally – as per its tag line “a lovely beauty product that gives the skin a lovely shade of freshness“. Wonderful. But I am not sure if I am ever going to use it as a face cream (I’m very picky with my creams). Still, I couldn’t resist buying it anyway. It’s got the most adorable packaging and the most delightful scent ever. Oh… the smell of this cream brings me so many good memories! It is identical to the smell of my grandmother’s drawers. A sniff is enough to make me go back 20 years in time.

Chewing gums Gorila (or chiclas Gorila for those in the know). Oh boy, I went absolutely crazy when I saw these. I think I even scared a few shoppers such was my excitement. Only those who grew up in Portugal during the 80s can understand… These were the gums I used to buy for 5$ each (i.e., 5 escudos or 2.5 cents of Euro) during primary school. They were hard like rocks, but delicious. And also the only exciting candy we could buy in Portugal at the time. Anyway, I bought quite a few of these gums (the ones in the very bad picture above are a very small sample that somehow managed to survive so far). But next time I go home I’m going to bring back 1kg of them. Childhood dreams.

I also bought the store’s little catalogue, which lists and describes some of its most emblematic products (like the little chocolate umbrellas from the chocolate factory Regina!). It was all a resounding success with my family at home.

So, next time I’m feeling nostalgic about Portugal, com saudade de casa, I know what to reach for.