With the picking over this afternoon, António and I drove up to the nearby village of Alijo to buy some essential liquid supplies for our end of Harvest dinner tonight.
D. Fatima, Arlindo’s wife and her mother D. Rosa in the meantime were busy in the kitchen preparing the ‘Leitão’ (suckling pig), and were all set for dinner at 7.30pm.
All eight of us were present from the winery and we had also invited Branca and Prazeres who work in the main house and are Fatima’s friends.
Arlindo sat at the head of the table with me on his right and Carlos the tractor driver on his left. The plastic tablecloth with flower patterns and several knife cuts (from cutting the bread at breakfast), the two smoked hams hanging from a hook in the ceiling beam and Arlindo’s wife, Fatima with her mother and her two friends sitting in the kitchen next door eating separately from the men, set the traditional vintage scene, so very different from city life and habits.
Everyone ate and drank their fill, visibly enjoying the meal and the company (some of us have known each other for quite a few years now). There was the usual banter about the day’s events and of course yesterday’s Porto match against Atletico de Madrid (2-0).
After the delicious ‘Leitão’, wonderful desserts were served and then toasts were made amidst much general clapping and shouting. I thanked everyone for their efforts during the Vintage then asked Fonseca to announce the results of the 2009 weighing in competition:
The most put-on weight category – prize – a bottle of mineral water, went to António and Alexandre with 4Kg gained each.
Pedro and Juca (despite a voraciousappetite) didn’t put on any weight at all and so won a bottle of our Altano Douro red wine.
At one stage, when the noise was at its highest, I looked around the table and there was a special magic to the moment, a genuine spark of warmth and well being in all the faces around that table, enjoying the moment to the full in all its simplicity. We have worked hard through many days and many long nights. I could not have asked for more from any of them at any time and above all we have made some great Ports here at Malvedos.
Some moments are priceless in life and the end of harvest dinner this year was one of those.
After dinner Fonseca and I went to add AD to the must run off from the second to last lagar. Our work finished at 12:30am. The rest of the lads went down to the Calça Curta in Tua to continue their well earned celebrations.