Portugal is famous for its food and wine. From the exquisite cuisine of the upmarket restaurants to the local “tascas”, you are guaranteed a delicious gastronomic experience. The more modern, recent restaurants offer vegetarian dishes and Portuguese fusion cuisine.
Bacalhau is salted cod. Although it is one of the main ingredients in Portuguese gastronomy, bacalhau is imported from Canada and Norway where the colder Atlantic waters are very rich in this fish. You will find that there are thousands of ways to cook bacalhau.
Meat is eaten all over the country. However, there are two areas famous for their meat dishes. The Alentejo is famous for its pork and Trás-os-Montes for its cured meats.
Bread and Cheese:
Each region will also have its specific bread and cheese. The most famous cheese is Queijo da Serra from the Serra da Estrela mountain range. Queijo de Azeitão, from Azeitão (near Lisbon) is also delicious. 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. Try the “rebuçados da régua” in the city of Peso da Régua in the Douro region. If you travel to Lisbon, stop by Belém to try the famous “Pastéis de nata” of Belém.
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!
During meals, the Portuguese will also drink beer. However, a good, fresh beer is most appreciated in the late afternoon, at sunset.