Food Guide: Portugal
With flavours inspired by Mediterranean neighbours France, Spain and Italy, Portuguese cuisine embraces the joy of eating through tantalising flavour and rich spices – not forgetting the delicious local wines and of course, Port. When enjoying your villa holiday, make sure you don’t miss an opportunity to savour some of the local fare, which focuses on meat and fish, olives and olive oil, bread, tomatoes and eggs. Here’s some of the best food in Portugal that you won’t want to miss!
This wintry soup is a staple of Portuguese cuisine that comes from the north of the country, and includes potato puree, chorizo sausage slices, greens, kale and a dark green cabbage that grows across the country’s borders, creating a warming and spicy soup with a variety of textures and local flavours. This dish is ideal when you want to indulge in a hearty lunch that packs a punch.
Fish is very popular in Portugal, with many tavernas and restaurants offering a fresh catch of the day. Otherwise known as Bacalhau, cod fish is included in many Portuguese dishes – so much so that residents find more than 365 different ways of preparing it, including baking, grilling, frying, canning and poaching. That makes a different Bacalhau dish for every day of a year. A popular way of enjoying Bacalhau is to enjoy it with scrambled eggs, onions, potatoes, garlic and olives (all dressed with parsley). Why not pick up these ingredients at a local market close to your Villa Marina Azul and prepare this dish for a filling family brunch in your villa kitchen?
The National Sandwich (Bifana)
You’ll find this popular sandwich everywhere you go in Portugal. It makes a perfect bite for lunch, and is usually served with either soup or chips for lunch or dinner. Locals might also pair it with beer for a late evening snack. The main star of this sarnie is the pork, which is marinated in paprika, spices, white wine and garlic, before being placed in a white French-stick style bread with a crunchy crust on the outside, and a soft doughy texture in the middle. Other popular fillings include bacon, eggs, tomatoes, vegetables and lettuce. Every restaurant will have its own recipe for the local marinade. Between Lisbon and Evora is the small town of Novas, which is known for its original Bifana sandwich recipe. Although it is commonly served as a snack, due to its enormous size, and once paired with chips and salad, we’d say it’s more of a full meal for the truly hungry!
Many Portuguese dishes are inspired by coastal Africa and the 15th-16th century age of exploration. Think spicy chilli, smoky paprika and turmeric. The small, spicy Piri-Piri chilli pepper is known as ‘The African Devil’, and if you love Nando’s, you’ll love eating Frango, which is essentially Peri-Peri chicken the Portuguese way (which has become a global sensation). Restaurants that sell this Portuguese traditional food are known as Churrascarias. Peri-Peri chicken is often served with salad and chips, as well as a cooling refreshment like a glass of beer or wine. Locals never use a knife or fork – it’s all about using your hands, to get all the tender meat off of the bone. When you’ve had a day of relaxation in your private garden or pool in Villa Campos, head to a local Churrascaria for dinner in Guia and get the whole family tucking into this delicious chicken dish.
Pastel de Nata
Those with a sweet tooth will adore this famous Portuguese food. As you wander around any town or resort, you’ll likely encounter a pastry shop selling this dessert made from eggs, flour, butter sugar and cinnamon. Its rich pastry contains plenty of butter layered within the dough, to give this dish its crunchy and creamy flavour. The centre is filled with egg custard, and then cooked in a hot oven. Locals often pair this with a strong coffee as a mid-afternoon snack. As many as 10,000 tarts are made per day in Libson’s Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém, which still makes the tarts to their original recipe.
Want to indulge in this delicious cuisine? Get booking your dream villa holiday in the Algarve now and get ready to sample some of the best food in Portugal.