Posted on 01/10/2020
Portugal is a great destination if you're looking for sunny skies, great beaches and welcoming locals, but do you know what else it's great for? The food! Yes, a trip to Portugal will be wasted without trying their noteworthy delicacies. Portuguese cuisine is very versatile, so it doesn't matter if you have a sweet tooth or love savory dishes because there are plenty of scrumptious options out there. Plus, this country has some of the best wine and wine tasting should be on your to-do list as well. Now, we've got a little suggestion that will help you get ready for your food journey: pack a few stretchy pants because with the food portions you get in Portugal, they'll definitely come in handy!
We can't talk about Portugal and not mention the seafood, because that's what their cuisine is world famous for. The dish that you will see everyone devouring is the one and only, Bacalhau. This salted cod dish is a must-try for anyone who is visiting. It may not be for everyone because it's salted generously but it's iconic nevertheless. If you're weary of eating overly salty dishes,then go for the codfish balls - it's a deep fried ball of goodness that you'll surely love. Sardines are another Portuguese favorite. You'll find these little babies being barbequed and grilled everywhere, especially in small cities and villages. They are also sold in little tins and speaking of tinned goods - tinned seafood is a speciality in Portugal. You'll find many gift stores selling all sorts of seafood in pretty little cans, like octopus, tuna, mackerel, sardines and much more. It's the perfect souvenir to bring back to your loved ones.
France is not the only European country that will satisfy your love for baked goods because Portugal has much to offer in this department and it certainly won't disappoint. Pastel de Nata is the first thing you should try when you reach Portugal because it's a great way to start your food trip. It's the Portuguese version of a custard tart which is flaky, creamy and has a hint of spicy cinnamon dusted on top. Portugal's bakeries have a ton of other options including savory sandwiches, marzipan and a variety of biscuits. The bakeries are open all day and always have seating areas where you can enjoy your treats with a hot beverage.
What is a food journey without something a little peculiar? Well, if you're a fan of escargots then the Portuguese snails, called Carcóis, will win you over as well. These small snails make a delightful snack that pairs perfectly with a pint of refreshing Super Bock - a much loved Portuguese beer. During the hot season you'll find this dish at all the local cafés and restaurants. The snails are normally seasoned with either rosemary or something spicy, like peri peri and you'll find a special variety in every region of Portugal. When people think of snails, it's the texture that scares them - but the Carcóis is different. They've been washed several times to get all the glue out and in the end it feels like you're eating a mushroom. If you want to try an authentic Portuguese food experience then feast on a bunch of snails with a cold beer on a hot summer's day.
This dish is for those foodies who love to indulge because it is packed with layers of meats and cheeses. The Francesinha is a symbolic Portuguese sandwich that originated in Porto. Porto is a vibrant little city that is located along the Douro river and the novel port wine was named after this very place. Porto should be on your map for several reasons, including the wine, but the Francesinha is a food experience you will not regret. It's a heavy sandwich stuffed with cured meats, sausage and steak which is then drizzled with a copious amount of cheese and tangy tomato sauce. Even the biggest eaters find it difficult to finish this sandwich in one go!
The Portuguese sure do love their pork, and after just one bite, you will too. They have an array of succulent pork dishes for you to try, and we're going to start with the Porco Preto. This is a high quality black pig that is normally served in two ways - simply fried and put in a bread roll, or pork loin drizzled with garlic sauce. Another famous dish is Porco à Alentejana, which is braised pork and clams drenched in a broth that is fragrant with spices, cilantro and garlic. While you walk the streets of the cities, you will most likely happen upon at least one restaurant with suckling pig and when you see it you've got to step in. The suckling pig is a dish that is highly revered because of it's crispy skin and soft tender meat. It's accompanied with some french fries and a spicy sauce that elevates the dish. Forget KFC because this is fingerlicking good!
This one is for all the wine lovers who are looking for a great wine experience. Douro Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in the world which also has the UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It's a gorgeous place to visit because of the terraces and vines that occupy the area but also because this region offers wine fanatics many experiences, from wine tastings, to tours and overnight stays. A ride on the Presidential Train is recommended for anyone who can afford its luxurious rate. This train will take you through the Douro Valley and you can taste the fine regional wines, like Port wine, while admiring the view. On top of that, there is an extravagant lunch served by Michelin-starred chefs and this is all included in the whopping £460 package.
For our final food experience, we're heading back to Porto - so make sure to include this spectacular city on your list. Tripe is such a popular delicacy in Porto that the people themselves are known as the tripeiros aka the tripe eaters. The signature dish is called Tripas à Modo do Porto which is saucy stew made from tripe, beans and sausage, and it's served with either bread or rice. It's heartwarming, extremely flavorful, nutritious and despite its uniqueness - it's simple to recreate at home!