Taste the tipple of kings...and Fidel

Portugal - This hotel overlooking Porto is perfect for wine lovers. It has an Iberian heart with an English accent, writes Sarah Donnelly

48 Hours In: Porto

Portugal's majestic 'City of Bridges' offers formidable waterside views – and lots more to whet the appetite, writes Chris Gibson

Viticulture vulture: Learn the art of swilling in the vineyards of Victoria

Australia's southerly state boasts hundreds of vineyards producing world-class wines in a stunning setting.

Totally chilled: Festive ice cream flavours are on the menu this winter - including Christmas cake and stilton

As the winter chill sets in, it might seem entirely wrong to be talking about ice cream, but Robin and Caroline Weir, frozen dessert obsessives, believe wholeheartedly in eating the stuff every single day of the year. "Of course, sales go up in the summer," Robin says, "but it most definitely isn't a seasonal product. Rich ice cream is a wonderful thing to have as a dessert in even the coldest weather."

The Sketch: Can Andrew Lansley make us healthy? Pass the port and let's see

Not to complain, but the chocolate doughnuts in the press gallery bar are the damned newfangled slim-line, low-calorie, no-grease public-health doughnuts.

Diary: Cash pours into Pol's pot

"It" curator Vlad Restoin Roitfeld isn't big on self-congratulation. "I don't celebrate if I make a big sale," he assured me at the lavish party for Mother of Pouacrus, his exhibition of hip French artist Nicolas Pol's paintings (£20k-£40k each) at London's Old Dairy, attended by the likes of Tom Ford, Christopher Kane and, er... Johnny Borrell.

Anthony Rose: 'One of the lessons we’ve learnt from the New World is to consume wine as a drink and not to hoard it'

Just about everywhere we buy our wine, we are presented with the nubile attractions of youth in wine as if there were no alternative. For obvious commercial reasons, both retailers and producers have a vested interest in wine as fmcg (fast moving consumer goods). While 87.46 per cent of all statistics may be made up on the spot, the fact that 92 per cent of all wine purchased is consumed within 48 hours of purchase has been confirmed by research by Fosters, or Treasury Wine Estates as it's now called.

Part Two of Mark Hix's Classic Recipes: Summer puddings

In the second exclusive extract from his stunning new cookbook, Mark Hix recreates a selection of delicious puddings from his Oyster & Chop House restaurant.

White port and strawberry trifle

Serves 4

The Sketch: Fiddling, flipping and filching: what's a decent chap to do?

They couldn't get Lord Ashcroft to come in so they took it out on Hayden Phillips.

Private Lives, Vaudeville Theatre, London

Kim Cattrall and Matthew Macfadyen display an onstage chemistry that works like a volatile charm in Richard Eyre's exhilaratingly funny, expertly orchestrated and wittily designed revival of the Noël Coward comedy classic Private Lives.

Seven islands, seven landscapes: The Canary Island's busy network of ferries offers the chance to see plenty of great sea life and shore-scapes

There are two essentials to island hopping, namely islands with enough contrast to warrant a hop, and an easy means of making such a hop. These days, it's easy to take in the multiple personalities of the Canary Islands in only a few short hops by hydrofoil and high-speed ferry.

The original is still best: Win a hamper

Discover where your food comes from and win a hamper from some of Europe’s finest food and drink regions

Stay the night: Port Rive Gauche, Marseillan, France

A wine warehouse in the ancient little port of Marseillan has been transformed into a complex of contemporary chic apartments

Pass the port: Mark Hix finds culinary inspiration on a trip to meet a Portuguese wine-maker

A few weeks ago, I went on a trip to Portugal with the Chop House's wine merchant John Hutton – but our journey out there turned into a bit of a passport nightmare. In London the night before we left, I suddenly realised that my passport was in the side pocket of my small travel case in Dorset.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links