Portuguese cuisine is made up of some fantastically rich flavours. A wide variety of herbs and spices are used in most dishes, and the result is a unique taste of the Mediterranean. Closely related to other foods in the area, Portuguese cuisine is known for the added tang and it is highly popular with tourists from both Europe and countries further afield.
Portugal is one of the top wine producers in the world, but not just for ordinary wines (although these are very nice) for fortified wines too such as the renowned Port and Madeira! Table wines in Portugal are more than affordable and quite delicious too. They taste similar to wine produced in California although many wine lovers say the Portuguese wine is head and shoulders above the rest.
Port is basically wine that has been fortified with brandy. Although mostly red, it is not unusual to find a few white port makers in Portugal. The alcohol content hovers at around 20% and there are numerous different varieties to try. You might even want to crack open a vintage bottle of port whilst in the country, or at least purchase one for a good friend back at home.
Portugal is renowned for being one of the world’s best fishing nations and this is reflected in the national cuisine; in fact the Portuguese are the biggest fish eaters in the whole of Europe! The fish dishes can be cooked in numerous ways – boiled, grilled, steamed, poached, stewed… the list goes on! One of the most popular fish dishes in the country is cod – flavoured with white wine vinegar or olive oil it makes for a fabulously tasting meal.
Like most Mediterranean countries, cheese is a firm favourite! Most are made from either sheep or goats milk although you will find some cheeses that are a mixture of the two. Although not included in many main recipes (unlike many of the other countries close by), cheese is an after dinner favourite!
Meat and Poultry
Although historically meat and poultry were only eaten by the upper classes, they are now integral parts of the Portuguese cuisine. Popular main meals include turkey steaks, heavily spiced game, Portuguese steak in a red wine sauce and roasted beef in garlic. Portuguese food is highly influenced by Jewish culture and everything from the preparation to how dishes are eaten can be accredited to this religion in some areas.
Pastries are another popular part of Portuguese cuisine with many of the most famous dating back to the 18th century. Most have a high egg and sugar content and Christianity related names due to them originally being created in the monasteries in the country. Popular favourites include egg custard, rice pudding, and custard tarts. Cinnamon and marzipan are popular additions to most pastries.
Portuguese cuisine has been highly influential in numerous countries, most surprisingly in Japan. If you want to check it out in all its authenticity head over to Portugal and spend a week in culinary heaven!
If you want to have a go at making Portuguese cuisine yourself why not book a stay in one of the many Portugal Villas. The Owners Direct website features a wide variety of luxury villas and you are sure to enjoy some fabulous home-made meals if you go for this option!