The sea has proved to be the most defining characteristic of Portuguese cooking. Savour the simplicity of a just-caught grilled fish. How about the shellfish plucked from the waters anywhere along this coastline? An ‘Arroz de Marisco’ rice, shellfish and fish stew is always a fine choice. Let us know what you think.
On the meat side, there is one true nationwide speciality: the renowned ‘Cozido à Portuguesa’ blends meat and vegetables into a richly flavoured stew.
When in the north, consider a plate of ‘Tripas à la Porto,’ an Porto-style tripe dish or a variant on the bean stew ‘Feijoada’, that takes a further twist with the Transmontanan version, further inland.
Good quality Portuguese olive oil is an essential ingredient to all ‘bacalhau’ dried cod recipes - and they say there are 1001 of them! In Portugal, never mind excelling in the cooking, we also know how to eat.
Each dish is served with a wine certain to do good justice. And we have wines from all over the nation. While Port may steal the spotlight, the Douro and Alentejo reds, along with so many others, have gained their own just distinction.
And let us not forget the cheeses! Again, the Serra da Estrela cheese takes top billing but cannot crowd out all the delicious specialities from across the Centro de Portugal and Alentejo region.
Convent bakers were responsible for many of the national speciality sweets and pastries that are still able to force our eyes heavenwards. Make sure you get your hands on a ‘pastel de nata’ - our interpretation of the custard tart. They go wonderfully with coffee, particularly our bitter expresso style.
And how about topping it all off with a glass of Port or Madeiran wine to aid with digestion?