The cuisine of Porto and the North

Place: Norte de Portugal
Photo: Associação de Turismo do Porto e Norte
Photo: Associação de Turismo do Porto e Norte

Don't miss
  • sample the traditional Lamego bola (baked loaf stuffed with meats)
  • taste the Easter meat loaf, particularly from Chaves
  • taste the Pão-de-Ló sponge cake from Margaride, in Felgueiras
  • try the corn bread, a type of bread made with maize and rye, which is a mandatory accompaniment for caldo verde. The one from Avintes is especially well-known
  • savour the Mirandesa beef steak, typical of the Miranda do Douro region
  • delight in a dish of kid with oven-baked rice, available throughout the north of Portugal

Porto and Northern Portugal, where the founding of the country was begun, are known for the honest and genuine character of their people and their tradition of hospitality. Among its attributes is a rich cuisine, accompanied by the region’s excellent wines.

The regional cuisine makes use of its natural resources, so caldo verde, appreciated all over the country, is a cabbage soup that originated here thanks to the fertile green fields of the region. In the west, bounded by the sea, the freshness and quality of the fish has a prominent place, as in all Portuguese cuisine, which prides itself in having the best fish in the world, in the opinion of renowned international chefs and gourmets. But in Porto and the North, trout, lamprey and shad are also fished in the rapid, abundant rivers, to the delight of connoisseurs.

It is a region of good grazing for the cattle that are bred here. The native breeds such as Barrosã, Mirandesa, Maronesa and Arouquesa have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) classification, as do Terrincho Transmontano lamb and Barroso kids. Pork is also available in regional varieties, not only in quality sausages but also such dishes as rojões (braised pork chunks), sarrabulho (pork rice cooked in pig blood) and Porto-style tripe, perhaps the most famous dish of the northern capital. There is another dish too, made on the basis of a sandwich, that is a true institution: the francesinha. Back to pork, it should be noted that this mountainous region, especially in the northwest, is the largest area for breeding the bísaro pig. The sausages from Chaves and Mirandela are famous for using traditional manufacturing methods. The alheira sausage of Mirandela and Miranda do Douro is highly appreciated but has the peculiarity of not being made with pork, since it was intended for the Jewish population that lived here in the Middle Ages. You can buy them all in the Vinhais Smoked Meats Fair.

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