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Taste Portugal

Cataplana de ameijoa
Photo: Mário Cerdeira
Photo: Mário Cerdeira

Don't miss
  • have a coffee accompanied by a pastel de nata or some other kind of Portuguese pastry
  • taste the excellent Portuguese olives
  • simply taste some grilled fish, seasoned with Portuguese olive oil
  • savour the excellent Portuguese seafood
  • taste one of the many convent desserts: rice pudding, crème brûlée, sponge cake, barriga de freira (nun’s belly), papos de anjo (angel’s chins), toucinho do céu (bacon from heaven) and many others
  • taste Rocha do Oeste pears or the Bravo de Esmolfe apples and enjoy the PGI varieties of Alcobaça apples, Elvas plums, Cova da Beira cherries and pineapples from the Azores. These are all DOP fruits
  • Taste some chilled verde or white wine on hot days, preferably with some fish or seafood, or some full-bodied red with strong meat dishes

The food in Portugal is a closely guarded secret. Portuguese cuisine has everything to please even the most discerning palate because it is based on genuine quality products, cooked according to traditional recipes or to the most innovative and unusual trends.

We might say that Portuguese cuisine hinges around into five icons. Let’s start with the fish from our extensive Atlantic coast, the best fish in the world in the opinion of many renowned international chefs. Their habitat and specific geomorphological location in the Atlantic give the fish unique conditions for birth and growth that enable them to acquire a taste and texture hard to match elsewhere. The best fish are caught by line and by traditional techniques. They then benefit from high-tech storage and distribution methods which create the best conditions for the fish, and the shellfish too, to reach Europe’s and America’s top quality restaurants, where they are cooked by the world’s best chefs. These restaurants, however, don’t have another icon of Portuguese cuisine, the cataplana, a utensil that is the delight of gourmets and those who like to conjure up all the senses around the table.

The third icon of Portuguese cuisine is Port wine, considered both sumptuous and sensual. Its unique characteristics come from the soil, man’s hard work and the sunshine that ripens the fruit. When we think in the grapes grown in the oldest wine region in the world we have to smile as we realise that nature and man knew how to unite to create a truly exceptional product. This region was classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, as well as the Lodges in Gaia where these wines age.

Let’s us speak about Portuguese sweets next: they are divine. We should give thanks to God, like the nuns used to do in the old days while preparing their recipes of sugar, eggs and almond in the seclusion of their cloisters. The result of the balance between flavour, creaminess and crispiness is another icon of Portuguese cuisine, considered a truly heavenly sweet: the pastel de nata (custard tart)!

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