Rich in taste and tradition, Portugal is a heaven for foodies. Striking a beautiful balance between the countries food heritage and cutting-edge international influences, eating out anywhere in Portugal is a real treat for those of us who like to experience a place through flavour.
You won’t find any greasy chips or full-English fry-ups here – this guide is all about authentic food that you can easily find in most of Portugal’s sensational settings.
Here are some of our must-try gastronomic delights that should be on the foodie traveller’s bucket list:
Portugal is world-renowned for its freshly caught seafood, so it would be a sin not to try out some of the local specialities during your trip. One of the staples of Portuguese cuisine is Bacalhau, a dried salted cod that is traditionally baked over hot coals with olive oil.
We found so many dishes using Bacalhau on our break, but we all couldn’t get enough of the Pataniscas de Bacalhau – Salted Cod Fritters. A perfect sharer with a glass or two of wine or as a main meal served with seasoned rice.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth like me, you won’t be able to pass by one of Portugal’s many side street bakeries without popping in to pick up a custard tart (or two).
Pastéis de Nata are almost seen as a national treasure here in Portugal, with their flaky golden pastry and creamy custard delicately flavoured with vanilla, cinnamon and a suggestion of lemon. You’ll often see visitors and locals lining the streets outside bakeries in anticipation of these freshly baked wonders.
They really do melt in your mouth and it’s almost impossible to have just one, so make sure you walk back to your hotel instead of taking a taxi to help to burn off some of those calories!
Wine and port
No trip to Portugal would be the same without sampling a glass (or three!) of their world-famous wine. With so many award-winning vineyards located to the north of the country, you’d be crazy not to take advantage of the amazing varieties on offer.
House wines in the UK can be a little dodgy or taste like nail polish remover, but we found when eating out in Portugal that their house offerings were just incredible and very reasonably priced to boot. I completely fell in love with the Bucelas variety, a light-bodied citrus-y white that is just perfect with fish or a hearty salad.
We also discovered Rosé Port, a relatively new fusion that makes the most amazing summer cocktail! Definitely, something to try while you try some of the other sensational treats that Portugal has to offer.