Catarina Portas, the founder of A Vida Portuguesa, is a former journalist. She has always believed objects can tell extraordinary and revealing stories about a people and their particular taste, about a society and its context, and about history – which is, after all, a common identity. The shops were born out of her desire to create an inventory of industrial brands and extraordinary craftspeople whose know-how has survived the passage of time, to highlight the quality of Portuguese manufacturing and to showcase Portugal in a surprising light. Located in the old, historic riverside Ribeira market in Cais do Sodré, the smallest and most compact A Vida Portuguesa shop is a big statement. Determined to show it is possible to create a shop without using aluminium shelves, the store's main counter came from an old perfume shop, and the wooden tables were originally in an ancient Bairro Alto bookshop. They display a bit of everything, from wooden spoons to shopping baskets, plus the bestselling products including Ach Brito soaps and Regina chocolates that have made A Vida Portuguesa famous.