Portuguese cuisine is varied and rich, full of aroma and flavour !
You must try
FISH AND SEAFOOD
Portugal is a seafaring nation with a well-developed fishing industry and this is reflected in the amount of fish and seafood eaten. The country has Europe’s highest fish consumption per capita and is among the top four in the world. You can get pretty much anything from octopus, crab, clams, barnacles, prawns or crayfish to mullet, tuna and the ubiquitous bacalhau (dried, salted cod). Portuguese bacalhau can be cooked in 365 different ways. Sardines (sardinhas) are close behind in popularity and can be grilled or barbequed, or there is the arroz de marisco, which is a bit like a seafood risotto crossed with a soup.
Portugal is famous for its fortified wines: Port and Madeira. Port comes from the Douro region and Madeira from the island. These are great wines for an aperitif or as a digestif after a meal. However, Portuguese wine culture and expertise does not end with its fortified wines. The Douro region has become one of the most famous regions in the world for its DOC wines. As is true of the chateaux in France, you will find wines denominated by Quintas in the Douro. The Alentejo and Dão regions make great red, white and rosé wines too. Enjoy a truly fascinating and intriguing wine tasting experience throughout Portugal!
BREAD AND CHEESE
Each region will also have its specific bread and cheese. Whether it be the simple queijo fresco, a soft, white creamy cheese, or one of the world-class varieties such as Beira Alta’s Queijo de Serra, the Alentejo’s luscious Serpa, buttery Beja or piquant Évora, or the Azores’ Cheddar-like São Jorge. Every restaurant will place a basket of bread on the table as a starter. If it is not home-made, it will be fresh from the bakery next door.
Many Portuguese sweets are a legacy of Moorish occupation, especially in the Algarve. The Portuguese enjoy rich egg-based desserts, often seasoned with spices such as cinnamon and vanilla. Perhaps the most populars are leite-creme (a set egg custard) and arroz doce (a typical and popular rice pudding). Cakes and pastries are also very popular and most towns have a local speciality. If you travel to Lisbon, try the bola de Berlim and the pão-de-ló and stop by Belém to try the famous “Pastéis de nata” of Belém.