Portugal has a cuisine as rich and varied as its landscape.
It is the sea, that prints the most striking feature of the Portuguese cuisine. We savor a simple grilled fish, always the freshest, taste the shellfish, that abound all along the coast, and we are sure that we are in Portugal. It is here, that we find the best fish in the world! But casseroles, stews or the other ways to cook our fish and seafood are also good choices.
In meat dishes, a suggestion nationwide: o Cozido à Portuguesa. A mixture of meat, vegetables and assorted sausages, cooked in a juicy way. We have excellent meats PDO * from north to south of Portugal, either veal, pork or lamb. And even vegetables and fruits, that retain the fully natural taste, some also with origins PDO, because many of them come from organic production.
The Portuguese olive oil is of a very high quality. It is always present and included in all dishes, as well as in codfish recipes (say, there are 1001 ways of cooking codfish!). And we can use all our imagination to prepare and enjoy these special delicacies.
Each dish has a right wine to accompany. Well, we have an excellent choice of wines all across the country, and if Porto is indisputably famous, the reds from the Douro table, Alentejo and many others do not have any less distinction.
And the cheeses! Just refer to Serra de Estrela! But all cheeses from Central Portugal, Alentejo and Azores are incredibly delicious.
The sweets, with the roots in many ancient convents, where they were prepared, make us still today “give thanks to God.” And we can not simply help it, but to taste Pastel de Nata. Always goes well with the coffee, expresso, which is served in a hot small cup. At the end, we drink a Port or Madeira, fortified wines, that for centuries represent us in a faraway places. Or toast with an excellent sparkling wine, produced in Portugal, thus cherishing a memorable meal, that the talented chefs are always ready to share with us all around the country.
* PDO – Protected Designation of Origin. Geographical indications are defined in EU legislation to protect the names of regional cuisines.
Typical products of Portugal.
All over the country, still keeps up the pig slaughter tradition and manufacture of the smoked products from their flesh. In ancient times, when there were no refrigerators or freezers, this was the only way to preserve food and keep it available for many months, for the times with more needs. And as the people say, the necessity is the mother of invention. Thus, throughout the country, it has emerged the most varied ways of making a smokehouse. Each region has its typical smoker from Tras-os-Montes to Alentejo. But in whatever region it is, there is no doubts, that the products, made with the accumulated wisdom of dozens of generations, have a very high quality.
Pastel de Belém
The cream puffs are one of the largest and the oldest specialties of Portuguese sweets; its history began in Belém in 1837 at the hands of the clergy of Jeronimos Monastery, a true kitchen masters. Since then, the freshly baked cream puffs became a mandatory snack for those, visiting the area, and inherited its well-known name as Pastel de Belém. Currently, in any coffee shop or pastry around the country you can find Nata cakes; however, only in Belém it is manufactured by the original recipe, that remains stored under the seven locks by the master confectioners; this secret, so well guarded, continues to attract people from all around the world, desirous to taste or taste again this famous cake, always trying to unveil the secret with every bite.
The Azeitão Pies are the most famous and well-known sweet in Azeitão. This piece of art is made mainly from soft eggs, egg yolk, sugar and water and has a light lemon flavor and cinnamon. The Azeitão Pies are an example of traditional Portuguese confectionery.
Queijadas of Sintra
The origin of the delicious cheesecakes of Sintra is lost somewhere in medieval times.
Cozido à Portuguesa ( Portuguese stew )
It is for excellence a Portuguese dish, consisting of the mixture of various vegetables (beans, potatoes, cabbage, turnips and rice) with meats (chicken, ears, ribs and larded pork, beef) and sausages (beef sausage, smoked sausage and blood sausage). One of the regions, where you can surely find it in abundance, is the Alentejo.
Here blend the red beans, pork, various sausages and cabbage, but also join other secondary ingredients, and it is accompanied by white rice. The region of Valpaços, Vila Real district, is known for its feijoada, mainly due to Fat Sunday (the Sunday prior to Carnival).
Tripas à modo do Porto ( Tripes of Porto )
A dish, that may have originated in epoch of Discoveries: Henry the Navigator, on his way to Ceuta, have asked the inhabitants of Porto to donate various types of food to the ships, including meats, which were cleaned and salted. That left only offal for the population, thus resulting in the famous dish, featuring Portuguese city.
This is a true national pump, originally from Porto. It was an immigrant, after his return to Porto in the 50s and who was working in a restaurant in France, that introduced his version of “croque-monsieur” (French toast). With various meats and sausages, egg and bread, sauce with wine and beer, this is an ultimate calorie bomb, but considered by many unparalleled delicacy!
Leitão da Bairrada
Since the seventeenth century that the piglet has become surplus in Bairrada region, so its marketing has expanded .It differs from the equally famous Piglet Negrais by not being steamed open. It’s stuck on a spit over a wood fire, taking as filling a folded base with salt and pepper. This juicy meat is used for preparation of sandwiches and pastries. If you walk around littoral Beira (including Mealhada and surroundings), try this delicacy!
This delicious soup could not be missed on our list. It is typically from the region Tejo. The legend says, that a poor pilgrimage monk was walking around with only one stone. Asking to everyone, who was giving him a shelter, to lend a pot, where he was placing that stone. After the water, potatoes, sausage, among the other ingredients, were asked to flavor the soup. To miraculously appear at the end as a hot, tasty, very rich and complete in ingredients mixture.
The codfish (bacalhau) is part of Portuguese cuisine since at least the fourteenth century, when cod fishing by the Portuguese was the subject of an agreement between Portugal and England. With 1001 revenues of cod, the Portuguese did not lack creativity in using this fish, which is not even captured in a coastal waters of Portugal.
Bacalhau à Brás
Bacalhau à Brás is a typical Portuguese codfish dish. One of the most popular dishes made with this fish, consists of shredded cod, fried potato sticks, fried to fine slices onion, scrambled egg, olives and chopped parsley.
Kind of roasted cod with the pompous name Olympia. Grilled pieces of loin god, accompanied by boiled and sautéed potatoes, and cooked greens.
Cod in the oven
Cut in pieces, roasted in the oven with potatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, white wine and parsley. It is accompanied by spinach.
Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá
Some traditional dishes of a national cuisine are named after their creators: this is the case for Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá. Traditional recipe of this dish, was invented in Portugal by José Luís de Sá Gomes Junior. Cod is cut into small chips, softened in milk for about an hour a half to two hours, and cooked with olive oil, garlic, onion, served with black olives, parsley and boiled eggs.
Codfish with cream ( Bacalhau com Natas )
Shredded or chipped cod, wrapped in onion stew with fried potatoes, bechamel sauce and cream, going to the oven to brown.