Portugal’s cuisine is as rich and varied as its landscape - from North to South there are many culinary experiences available
Besides the pastel de nata(custard tarts) and many codfish dishes, in which Portugal has proven worldwide to be the master of these delicacies, there are much more tastes to discover when you visit Portugal. Let yourself indulge in its Atlantic-inspired cuisine (and maybe start your diet later).
The Portuguese are big fish-eaters – they love it. More than 80 different varieties are caught off its Atlantic coast. If you enjoy a simple grilled fish, seafood abounds from end to end along the coast, and you can be sure that you are in Portugal! From the simple sardine, a grilled favorite during the summer, to the richness of a tasty Caldeirada(stew with many kinds of fishes) or Arroz de Marisco(rice with a mixture of seafood – lobster, shrimp, oysters and crabs), you have plenty to choose. Cataplanas, bouillabaisses and any other fish or seafood dishes are also excellent choices.
As for meat based dishes, there is Cozido à Portuguesa, a mix of meats, vegetables and various sausages. There are excellent DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) meats, from north to south, whether it’s beef, pork or kid. Try dishes like cabidelarice made with chicken or rabbit, Chanfana (goat) cooked in black terra cotta pot, and Migas à Alentejana with pork. Many vegetables and fruit also preserve the taste of the old times.
Portuguese olive oil is of prime quality and is part of every dish (it is Portuguese ketchup), including cod (for which it is said that there are 1001 recipes!) The soups are also a great part of the menu. Caldo Verde, a simple five-ingredient soup with chorizo,will amaze you with its taste. Or try Sopa da Pedra, a heartiest rich soup that even has its own capital in Almeirim, is one of many to try.
Each dish can be matched with the right red or white wine from the different regions.
And then there is the cheeses! While Queijo da Serra(mountain cheese from Serra da Estrela) tops the list, all the cheeses from Centro de Portugal, Alentejo and the Azores are delicious.
At the end of a meal, make a toast with Port or Madeira, fortified wines or with an excellent sparkling wine, like Vinho Verde,from Minho.