5 reasons why Portugal should be on every foodies list!
Published on 16 Nov, 2017 by
Hannah Wood /
Pastel de nata
1. Liquid gold
There are endless olive groves in Portugal. Olive oil is the basis of Portuguese cooking - to slow-cook salt-cod, dribble into soups or to simply soak up with hot-from-the-oven bread.
Exports have quadrupled over the past decade as the world wakes up to the quality of Portugal's liquid gold, either from big-time producers like Gallo and Oliveira da Serra, or hand-crafted, single-farm oils.
Apparently Portugal has 365 recipes for cooking salt cod. In fact, there are many more.
Bacalhau is served "a bras" with scrambled eggs, olives and fries; as fish cakes ‘pasteis de bacalhau’ barbequed, oven-baked or simply boiled with cabbage and carrots, then drizzled in olive oil. Bacalhau is always close to the Portuguese soul.
3. Delicious cheeses
Portugal's cheeses are sumptuous but still relatively unknown. Creamy Serra da Estrela from the milk of ewes raised in Portugal's loftiest mountain range; hard, pungent cow's-milk cheeses made on the precipitous mid-Atlantic slopes of Sao Jorge island; or peppery Terrincho produced in remote Tras-os-Montes, remain largely unknown.
4. So much wine
For a small country Portugal makes an astounding variety of great wines.
Summery vinho verdes from the green northwest. Full-bodied reds and fruity whites from Douro, Dao and Alentejo. Bubbly from Bairrada; legendary Port and Madeira vintages. Honeyed moscatel from Setubal.
5. Pastel de nata
These cinnamon-sprinkled rich egg custard tarts were invented prior to the 18th century by Catholic monks in Lisbon's Belem district. As convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching the nuns’ habits, the leftover egg yolks were used to make cakes and pastries. These tarts are perfect with a coffee at any time of day.
Portuguese cooking is deeply rooted in the freshest local ingredients – imagine sampling these delights from your own dream home in the sun.