Portugal’s cuisine is one of the world’s best-kept culinary secrets. The food is rich in flavour, spices and tradition.
Portuguese dishes possess a purity of flavours. The population prefers this style and chefs gladly oblige. There is no overwrought dish trying to combine east and west, no attempt is made to fuse a large number of herbs and spices. Everything tastes as natural as it should.
In recent past, Portuguese chefs chose to cater to sophisticated palates, but left pure flavours in tact. The result of this revolution has been brilliant for gourmets who value taste over refined texture and convoluted plate presentation.
Most people think of Portuguese food to consist of mainly salted cod. There is more to this cuisine than fish only.
Historians report that Portuguese fishermen came to Grand Banks off Newfoundland to fish the abundant cod, and over time this specie became a popular ingredient.
However, Portugal’s cuisine features impeccable fresh sardines, tasty pork, deeply flavoured vegetables, and excellent olive oil.
Portuguese navigators were circumnavigating the world in the 16th century and brought home a number of herbs and spices that chefs have incorporated into their repertoires.
To this day, cinnamon and cloves find their way into a number of dishes (Portuguese were the first to explore Sri Lanka, the main source of cinnamon of the world, and traded with the population for over a century until the Dutch eased them out from this tropical paradise).
Coriander plays a big role as parsley and Portuguese paprika adds a twist to the brightly coloured essence.
Of course, the famous Portuguese piri-piri sauce adds definition to a dish and you can judge a good recipe by the aromatic chorizo sausage – the most popular of all smoked pork sausages.
Portuguese breads are considered the tastiest, and one’s mouth just starts to water at the thought of glorious desserts: silky smooth custards, buttery flans, and gossamer meringues.
Anyone with a basic knowledge of cooking and interest in gastronomy can cerate Portuguese specialties at home or in a professional kitchen easily, and the results will undoubtedly surprise any connoisseur.