Ginja Cherry Liqueur

One cannot visit Óbidos without trying its delicious cherry liqueur, ginja. Also known as ginjinha de Óbidos, it's made from the ginja sour cherry, whose origin is difficult to establish but is supposedly derived from the banks of the Caspian River and was gradually dispersed among the Mediterranean countries via trade routes. Thanks to the particular microclimate around the area of Óbidos, Portugal actually has the best wild ginja in Europe. As for the drink, it is thought to have originally started in the 17th century by a local friar who took a part of the large quantity of the fruit in the region and refined them into the liqueur that is known today.

The liqueur has a deep, dark red color with an intense flavor and aroma perfumed by the fermented cherries. It's produced and sold in two distinct varieties, the liqueur on its own or the liqueur with actual ginja cherries inside, sometimes flavored with vanilla or cinnamon. You can find numerous little shops and cafés in the walled village selling ginja as well as offering tastings. The best thing the locals recommend to have with ginja is chocolate, which they have cutely crafted into little chocolate cups in which to serve the liqueur. Or, you can enjoy it with a big slice of one of the house-made chocolate cakes. The chocolate cups are also sold in packs of 6 and 12 to enjoy the ginja experience at home.

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