Although having a small territory Portugal is divided into 10 gastronomical regions. Their flavours bring out the best of what the land and the sea have to offer us. As any other country our gastronomical roots and the most relevant dishes for each region are based on the local resources. A notable exception is cod (which is imported), but as you might already heard we have more than 1000 ways of cooking it.
Nowadays there is a new trend (some call it ideology) that claims a return to our roots and, above all, claims for the usage of the ingredients to its full extent avoiding, as much as possible, waste. Portuguese traditional cuisine is based on this principle, it’s very common to cook the less appealing elements like tripe, pork or cow’s feet, pork nose, ears, tail, lungs or heart.
Some of these delicatessen require from the gourmand an open mind and the excitement for food adventure.
Portugal is located on the region of the “Mediterranean Diet” where the use of olive oil prevails. Although extensively used the olive oil shares the throne with animal fat, mainly lard, that can be found both in main courses and in pastry.
Eggs, sugar and in some regions almond are our pastry’s main characters. This tradition finds its foundations in the art of the monks and nuns spread through the many monasteries that once existed.
Without a major role in our food habits, cheese is mainly produced from sheep and goat milk. On the Azores island the cow’s milk is the core element of the local brand of cheese.
The golden south, dry, hot with empty long plains and whitewashed villages full of hospitality.The place to try the “açordas” (mashed bread with garlic), the “migas” (the “dry” version of açordas), the refreshing gazpachos (not liquid as the Spanish ones), the pennyroyal soup, the “beldroegas” soup (a weed that grows in the fields), the several kind of cured and smoked chorizos and to top all this the strong egg based conventual desserts. More about Alentejo.