Touring Portugal with Aptece in the name of food meant that I visited cities & towns that I probably wouldn’t go to on my own, spoke with food & wine producers I wouldn’t otherwise meet and discovered my vast appetite for the various specialties of the country. In this and the next few posts, I’ll be sharing with you my experiences & impressions of Portuguese cuisine, highlighting the many wonderful eateries/restaurants we had the pleasure of dining in. Read along to learn about what to eat in Portugal and where – starting with Porto.
During our road trip of sorts in Portugal we ate our weight in petiscos (portuguese small plates), cataplanas (seafood stews), sausages and of course bacalhau (cod). I found that each region in Portugal displays great pride in their particular specialty. In Douro, you wouldn’t be able to pass by without enjoying a glass of port or a bottle of wine. Minho, the northwestern point of Portugal, is well known for dishes such as caldo verde and particularly proud of the Minota meat such as blood sausages and veal (this was blatantly apparent during our visit to the Minhofumeiro factory in Ponte de Lima). In the Algarve region, with the most beautiful coastline I’ve seen since Australia, you couldn’t trip over and not land face first in a hot pot of cataplana.
Upon my arrival in Porto to join the rest of the Portugal Food Stories team (the overlap of this trip with the tail end of my honeymoon meant that I missed 4 days of the 16 day tour), I was introduced to Portuguese snacks & dishes that conveyed comfort. We were guided by André from Taste Porto around the city tasting the best of Porto: a gorgeously flaky veal-stuffed pastry from Loja dos Pastéis de Chaves. It felt luxurious to the tongue from its buttery flakes and savory filing, something I’d love to have at least once a day.
Sardines, I learned, is a much loved and often eaten snack in Portugal. We enjoyed it both grilled and with sauce during our tour around the country but at Bolhão Wine House, situated in the iconic Bolhão Market, we enjoyed it with a bit of sweet decadence in the form of a moscatel.
Our afternoon in Porto ended with a stop at Taberna do Largo where we were suitably lured by the chouriça set alight on the table. This is now my favorite way to enjoy a sausage, quickly cooked in dancing flames to be enjoyed immediately so you can lap up the mixture of fat and meat as it melts in your mouth.
The next time you find yourself in Porto I suggest that you do a tour with André for interesting historical facts (such as why the people of Porto are referred to as Tripeiros!) and a true taste of what the city has to offer. Also do not miss out on a port tonic while you’re roaming around town; a mixture of extra dry white port with tonic, lime juice, and orange peel is going to be my go to cocktail when the weather warms up again or when I’m lucky enough to be in Porto next!
Note: the Portugal Food Stories trip was organized & sponsored by Aptece. All views are my own.