Portugal is best known for its traditional, standard, inexpensive gastronomy offer, grilled or boiled inexpensive meats or fish, some oven dishes and various versions of the famous salted cod is what you will find on most restaurant menu’s. Considering that Portugal is mostly known for its farming and fishing background, its rural societies, old cities and the recent crisis has led many people to forget or just be unfamiliar with the fact that Portugal has a rich and diverse heritage.
It was the land of kings, queens, knights and royalty, of many mixed cultures and it was once a colonizer of great importance.
It was a favorite place for European royalty to holiday and retreat over many centuries based on its fantastic locations, landscapes, beauty and climate.
Over the centuries it was inhabited by the Celts, the Phoenicians, the Lusitanians, The Romans and the Moors and other lesser known societies, all have left their mark on the land.
This diversity made it a country with influences of many religions and cultural backgrounds as far back as we can go in the studies of history.
All of these aspects have resulted in a substantial culinary and wine traditions not very known (yet) on an international scale.
A country in crisis is often visited by others looking for cheaper warm weather options and those who visit may leave with little understanding of the more luxurious Portugal or the real Portuguese culinary traditions. Recovery from the recent crisis has brought rise to new innovations and reestablishment of older traditions.
Lisbon a city that has been booming with tourism and innovation and more and more companies are finding ways to show the authentic Portuguese dining culture to the people visiting the country.
So this article is all about the Portuguese gastronomy of the finer sort, not the grilled fish served with chips and white rice accompanied by a standard table wine catered for the masses, Which very often very good is mostly created to provide low priced budget options.
No this is more about luxury travel, aged cheeses handmade combined with processes almost forgotten, great wines that are winning prices worldwide. Habits and traditions for special days, enjoyed by many in the privacy of their homes or outside in public areas not often visited by tourists. The real Portugal a land of rich traditions and amazing heritage were food and wine are a major leisure activity and a serious ritual all about balance, taste and nutrition.
Food in Portugal is a social occasion often enjoyed with the best views in company of best friends and relatives and whenever the weather is good enough, enjoyed outdoors!
So what kind of foods are unique to Portugal?
Certain types of bread, DOP cheeses, fish dishes and conservatives, cured meats, beans, wines, fortified wines, Local vegetables, pastries, fruits,
So where do you taste this real Portuguese foods? There are many restaurants providing these miraculous experiences and if you need us to help you find one for your group please contact us, however this article is about discovering the food as a Portuguese out and about on the waters, in the parks or on its beaches, in some food lovers home or kitchen, or doing something really typically Portuguese.
A real Portuguese food experience takes you out of the house and into a place of views and beauty, considered an important part in any celebration. Food and wine are considered social events that should be enjoyed in the company of family and friends and in the shade of a “parque de Merendas”, on the shores of a lake or the sea or in a beautiful garden or vineyard.
Where you choose to have your meal is as important as the dishes and wines served
Some of our best suggestions for being introduced to this cultural aspect
Tapas and petiscos aboard a traditional sailing boat with or without a wine tasting of some of the better Portuguese wines.
Portugal was a land of discovery and fishing. With its large coastline and many internal lakes and rivers, much of the population from all classes and background spent much of their lives on the waters. Due to fishing, transport and colonization the Portuguese took to the waters for food, trade and expansion and this created a very specific gastronomy diverse and interesting.
Due to modernization of the fishing industry many of the characteristic hand painted fishing boats have vanished and been replaced by modern boats mostly to cater for the tourist industry.
In the last years some of the original boats have been recovered and thanks to an innovative company concentrating on the more luxurious side of Portuguese gastronomy and wine, these boats can be rented to Go Discover the Tagus river in Lisbon accompanied by great wines and local delicacies. An experience of open air tasting and celebration in the center of Lisbon away form the crowds and with the best views of the city from the water!
These tastings can be done in many other locations in Lisbon or at the homes of the chefs.
Famous is the Portuguese grill. On any particular Sunday or free day, the Portuguese will flock to the Parques de Merandas, we talked about before. These parques are located in every town, village or point of interest and are meant to be used to Barbecue and dine in a safe environment with limited fire danger as they are all equped with special build barbeque’s, tables, benches and often running water and wash basins, The parks are created to feed the basic need a Portuguese local has for celebrating life surrounded by friends or family to enjoy the joys of charcoal grills of fish and meat out in the open.
How fish and meat are grilled to perfection and accompanied by vegetables, salads and bread the Portuguese way. Are a unique and well kept secret only shared with those that will join this open and social event and become for one day completely Portuguese.
Picnics for royalty
Picnics are as instinctive to the Portuguese as waking up and breathing are to all of us. Again a social outdoor way of enjoying lunch or dinner, picnics are taken very seriously. Carpet and pillows to make a comfortable setting, baskets filled with specialties both traditional and modern will be set out. Wine and juices, a guitar player or fado singer all help to create the perfect gastronomy experience Portuguese style!! The picnic will come to you and your chosen location or we will help you choose one that fits you needs.
Wine and Petiscos at the wine producing farms.
What is nicer than eating and drinking wine at its source the wine producers farm! If you are looking for the real Portugal than this is one of the most romantic ways to find it. Surrounded by vineyards, gardens and magic or in the dining room or kitchen of an old wine producing farm just outside of Lisbon. We work with various wine producing quintas to provide you with an authentic Portuguese dining and wining experience!
Let us provide you the real Portugal eating experience in Lisbon or other areas of Portugal!