Joe Campanale Traveled To Portugal For Vinho Verde, Pata Negra Ham

Chefs love to travel — for inspiration, to experience the cuisines of other cultures or just to get away from the heat of their own kitchens. When they return, we hit them with some questions — where'd they stay, what'd they do and WHAT DID THEY EAT?

Joe Campanale is behind some of New York City's best-loved wine-forward restaurants, from the newer L'Apicio and Anfora (a wine bar) to long-running favorites L'Artusi and dell'anima. The New York native served as sommelier at Mario Batali's Babbo when just 23, and quickly started opening spots himself with partners and chefs Gabe and Katherine Thompson and August Cardona. A highly educated wine guy, Campanale still wants to learn more, which is why he jetsetted over to Portugal recently, then came back and filled us in on the trip.

Where are you just back from?


Business or pleasure?

It was a wine trip sponsored by Vini Portugal.


Traveling with other like-minded sommeliers.


All that time in a van running from one winery to another.

What airline(s) did you fly and how was it?

United. It was great. Only a 5.5 hour flight there.

Where'd you stay and what's your mini-review of the place?

We stayed in some great hotels. I really liked the Hotel Teatro in Porto but the best place we stayed was Casa da Insua in the Dao region. It is one of the most elegant, beautiful places I've ever been — this incredible huge old house in the middle of the vineyards. The house itself is incredible to explore, and they put out a great breakfast with homemade jams.

What was your best meal on the trip?

My favorite meal was at Cervejeria Ramiro. It is a causal neighborhood place in Lisbon that was recommended to me by George Mendes of Aldea. They specialize in shellfish, pata negra ham and beer. It's a classic and was a perfect place.

Did you get to do anything non-food related, and if so, what?

I went for a few runs. My favorite was actually in Porto running on the water by all of the old port houses.

Did you do any shopping and bring something back and if so, what?

I brought back lots of olive oil and almonds. Also when I travel I pick up some Havanna Club Rum at the duty free shop since you can't buy it in the States.

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