Portugal is a place full of a huge diversity of landscapes and environments in a small area: sandy beaches as far as the eye can see, golden plains and mountains, vibrant and cosmopolitan cities and a millennial heritage. Although there is plenty to see and do in Portugal, we also love the food and drink on offer in this great country, so for this blog we will be putting the spotlight on a few of these local favourites.
Port is a fortified wine produced exclusively in the Douro valley region of Northern Portugal. With links dating back to the 1700’s, the port trade has certainly had a longstanding British connection. These links are still very evident today in the names of a lot of the large port brands such as Taylor’s, Graham’s, and Dow. There are three main types of port, white, red and ruby and each type has its own characteristics and flavour, so why not book a long weekend in Porto and go try some out? Along with the excellent fortified wine produced in the simply stunning Douro region, we also recommend trying some of the wine available, a personal favourite of ours is the Casa Ferreirinha, Esteva red wine.
Similar to Spanish jamon or Italian proscuitto, presunto is the name given to Portuguese dry-cured ham. Presunto Iberico, as it’s sometimes called, is basically the kobe beef of pigs. The pigs from which presunto is made roam the forest freely and eat natural things like herbs and acorns. The meat has a distinct nutty flavor that’s incomparable. The most famous presunto in Portugal is Chaves presunto and Alentejo presunto.
Portugal has a rich tradition of cheese-making and different regions have their own types, much like Portuguese wine. And just as wines have Protected Designation of Origin labels, so do Portuguese cheeses. Portuguese cheeses are often wildcards – you never know from looking at a cheese what sort of flavour you’ll get. The Portuguese enjoy their soft cheeses and one of the popular ones is Serpa which is consumed by the method of chopping off the top and scooping out the middle. However, our favourite is definitely Terrincho Velho DOP from northern Portugal which has a nutty and bold flavour and is an ideal pairing with a glass of Douro red.
Pasteis de Nata
An incredibly popular Portuguese dessert is the pasteis de nata, roughly translated to mean an egg custard tart to the British. It’s an egg custard tart in filo dough that is best served warm, fresh out of the oven, and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. It’s really delicious and can be found anywhere in Portugal.