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As part of the existing knowledge exchange programme between India and Portugal, students from across hospitality institutes had an opportunity to engage and participate in a 2 – week online programme initiated by V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE) in collaboration with Turismo de Portugal (TBC). Five leading hospitality institutes based in Lisboa, Setubal, Coimbra, Algarve and Douro-Lamego who had curated the online course conducted it for students from Goa.

The courses which were held over two hours each day covered a wide range of subjects ranging from gastronomy and wine pairing to demonstration of recipes unique to the regions and sessions on understanding the nature of food ingredients from the Mediterranean regions more closely. Virtual tours of wineries, oyster farms and the neighborhoods of Lisbon and Coimbra were included in the course

Said Blandon Moraes, a student who attended the session, “ I particularly found the sessions on Portuguese Cuisine very interesting and how it has influenced food in other countries. So many local Goan delicacies are also inspired by Portugal. Portugal and Goa have a long coastline, which is why seafood is much loved and appreciated. The delectable Pasteis de Nata, a sweet custard tart, is a must-try sweet treat for visitors to the region. Portugal is also known for its wines, mainly the sweet, dark, deep red Port which is produced in the vineyards of Madeira and north Portugal. 

The session of Oysters conducted by Celia Rodrigues from Ecola de Setubal had many admirers including Simonelle Fernandes, another student of the institute. The River Sado’s natural reserves produce high quality oysters explained Prof. Celia who also demonstrated how one can clean and serve fresh oysters. Explained Simonella, “ A very interesting fact about oysters which I was unaware of was that each oyster gets their flavor from their surroundings which gives them a unique flavour much like a fine wine gets its unique flavor from the vineyards’ terrain, soil, sunlight, water and climate. When oysters grow in a healthy surrounding their shells are thinner but when their surroundings are not healthy, they have thick shells which protect their bodies”. Salmonella found the demonstration every informative. “ I learnt how we can use an oyster knife to crack the clam shell open, twist it and open it. We also learnt to check the freshness of oysters. I would just love to try out fresh oysters served with wedges of fresh lemons”

Rishika Verenkar was fascinated by the sessions on wines. She said, “ The virtual walk through of vineyards was an interesting experience”. 

Tamara Furtado, a student of the Integrated MBA Program (Hospitality, Travel and Tourism) of Goa University said, “The online programme was a great way to learn and experience something new even if it was virtually.  It was a very good way of using our time to learn and gain knowledge during this downtime. Im grateful for the opportunity.”