When people think of Portuguese food, the image of sumptuous piri-piri chicken – such as those served at Nando’s, although the famous restaurant chain technically serves both South African and Portuguese food – comes to most people’s hungry minds. But there’s definitely more to Portugal’s excellent culinary heritage than this famous chicken dish.
Chefs from Portugal, with the likes of the famous Luis Baena, want to introduce British diners to the world of Portuguese cuisine. With dishes such as the pastel de nata and salt cod, the English people will thoroughly enjoy diving into a new world of tastes and delights.
While piri-piri chicken is part of Portuguese food, it isn’t the only dish from Portugal and it certainly doesn’t represent all of the food from this southern European nation. Tourists visiting Lisbon might ask for piri-piri chicken often, but the locals dine on other varieties.
Cows all over the islands of Portugal are allowed to roam free and live in meadows, producing world-class cheese that British customers will be sure to fancy. São Jorge cheese is a delightful surprise, a unique type of cheese that makes a fantastic ingredient for stews and other Portuguese dishes.
It’s aged for several months, often up to seven, in the small Atlantic archipelago tucked away in the Azores region of the country. Most foreigners aren’t familiar with this cheese. It’s a treasure of a find indeed.
The UK has been the largest importer of port wine for the last century but there are plenty of fantastic Portuguese wines most British people aren’t familiar with. The country is a great source for excellent moscatels, madeiras, wines from Douro and robust Alentejo wines. Vinho verde is a green sparkling wine made in Minho and is sure to be appreciated in England.
The Montado area of Alentejo produces some of the finest Black Iberian pigs that are also known as “pata negra” in Spanish. The stock from Montado is raised in forests full of oak trees and has been fed on acorns. Similar to the kobe beef from Japan, these succulent pigs grow layers of fat that lead to a moist and sweet meat. The pork of these pigs in Portugal is typically cooked confit-style, placed in dishes like the northern dish “rojões”. British diners who want to try this delectable meat usually get to enjoy it served with bacon crumble and truffle bread.
Pastel de Nata
The Portuguese love their sugar and the nation’s custard tart is famous around the world, even in Asia. Finish off a lovely Portuguese meal with Pastel de Nata, a simple yet classically delicious egg tart served in the form of a pastry cup and oozes a creamy filling. Its rustic appearance and unique texture make this dessert unforgettable.
If you’re looking for a new kind of comfort food then the classic caldo verde is sure to satisfy. This iconic dish is found in both Portuguese restaurants and homes. It has only five ingredients: onion, potato, olive oil, chouriço and kale. Very simple, delicious and a staple that never gets old.
From the standard yet delicious piri-piri chicken served at Nando’s to the more exotic dishes found in Portugal, it’s no wonder Portuguese cuisine is loved everywhere in the world.