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Gastronomy in Portugal

Gastronomy in Portugal

Portuguese gastronomy carries the cultural heritage of Portugal. It is a diverse and tasty cuisine, marked by the Moorish and Roman occupation, then considerably enriched by maritime expeditions. Discovering also means taking advice and travel information and therefore know the specialties of the country, whether taste or cultural.

Mediterranean gastronomy, generous and authentic

You should know that the new products from the East and brought back by Portuguese ships at the time of the Great Discoveries have profoundly and lastingly changed the eating habits of the population of Portugal, as much as those of the whole of Europe.

Portuguese cuisine is tasty but nutritious. Based on olive oil and garlic, it combines figs, almonds, citrus fruits, spices and cereals with fish and meat. It is also generous in its quantities, which explains why some restaurants offer two sizes of dishes, meia-dose (half a portion generally sufficient for one person) and dose (full portion that can be taken for two).

The best Portuguese food is provincial, authentic and quirky in the mixes, with regional variations. However, it tends to change, particularly under the influence of French cuisine following the return to the country of certain emigrants.

Still very marked by its rural culinary origins, Portugal has a very wide variety of soups and broths. To remember, the delicious green cabbage soup, the caldo verde.

The usual dishes use a lot of seafood, sardines and especially cod. The custom says that there are many more recipes for cooking cod than there are days in the year...

As far as meats are concerned, the Portuguese have an undeniable preference for pork. Let's mention the delicious leitão or suckling pig. As for the desserts, they are very sweet, with a cinnamon taste, often made according to old conventual recipes.

Some specialties

Desserts & pastries

On sale in the many pastries (pastelarias) in Portugal, they can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but in moderation, as they are sweet and high in calories. They bear names that are not devoid of humour: little bacon from the sky - nun's belly - angel's crop... Portugal has a wide variety of cakes that can be tasted in tea rooms or on the tables of restaurants and hotels. They are usually very filling, often made with egg yolk and almonds with the addition of cinnamon.

The best known of all is of course the Pastéi de Nata, whose reputation is second to none and which enchants all palates.

Cod

A popular saying states: "the dream to live and the cod to survive". Cod remains the favorite dish of the Portuguese, yesterday fished abundantly in Newfoundland, today imported from … Norway.

It is on all restaurant menus and invites itself to the table in endless forms, even on Christmas Eve!

Porto

It is the most famous of Portuguese wines. It is drunk at the end of a meal or as a dessert, some like it as an aperitif. Each year, 115 million bottles are sold worldwide.

Port wine comes from the Alto Douro valley, located about a hundred kilometers east of the city of Porto, admired for its superb terraced vineyards. Its production is strictly regulated and employs 25 winegrowers in small businesses called quintas.

But it is in Vila Nova de Gaia (a town located opposite Porto, on the other side of the river) that this Douro wine is blended and aged to take on its full character.

Olive oil

Portugal is a major producer of olive oil (azeite), which is why it is so common to come across olive trees when traveling the country's roads. This country is also a big consumer and olive oil invariably enriches and flavors Portuguese cuisine. You will find it on all good tables.

Portugal has 6 regions with appellation contrôlée (AOP): Trás-Os-Montes, Beira Interior, Ribatejo, Moura, Alentejo Interior and Norte Alentejan. It is very easy in France to obtain these excellent oils in specialized stores.

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