A trip to Portugal is a feast for the senses, with sun-soaked beaches, warm hospitality, and some of the finest food and wine in Europe. For many UK travellers, a package holiday to Portugal offers the perfect combination of culture, relaxation, and culinary delights. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the best food and wine to enjoy during your holiday break in Portugal, whether you’re on a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or an unforgettable adventure with friends.
Embrace the Flavours of Portuguese Cuisine
Portuguese cuisine is a mouthwatering fusion of Mediterranean, Atlantic, and Moorish influences. From freshly-caught seafood to slow-cooked stews and delectable pastries, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
As a nation with a long coastline, Portugal boasts a strong fishing tradition. For seafood lovers, a holiday to Lisbon or any coastal region offers an abundance of delicious options. Don’t miss the opportunity to try:
- Bacalhau: Salted cod is the national dish of Portugal, and there are said to be more than 365 ways to prepare it. You’ll find it grilled, baked, or fried, often with potatoes, onions, and olives.
- Sardinhas Assadas: Grilled sardines are a staple of Portuguese cuisine, especially during the summer months. Enjoy them hot off the grill, seasoned with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil.
- Cataplana de Marisco: This scrumptious seafood stew is a must-try, with fresh clams, prawns, and fish cooked in a copper pan alongside tomatoes, peppers, and onions.
Meat-lovers are also well-catered for in Portugal, with a range of succulent dishes to choose from:
- Porco Preto: Portugal’s black Iberian pigs produce some of the most tender and flavourful pork you’ll ever taste. Look for dishes like “Secretos” – thin slices of pork, grilled to perfection and served with a side of potatoes.
- Cozido à Portuguesa: This hearty meat and vegetable stew features a mix of pork, beef, and sometimes chicken, along with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. It’s the ultimate comfort food for a chilly evening.
Portugal’s pastries and sweets are famous worldwide, and with good reason. Make sure you leave room for:
- Pastel de Nata: These iconic custard tarts are a must-try, with their flaky pastry and creamy filling. Enjoy them warm, dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
- Travesseiros de Sintra: These deliciously soft almond and egg cream-filled pastries are a specialty from the town of Sintra, just outside Lisbon.
Discover Portugal’s Wine Regions
Portugal is a wine lover’s paradise, with a rich viticultural history and an impressive array of varietals to sample. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore some of the country’s best wine regions during your holiday break.
The Douro Valley is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also the birthplace of Port wine. With its terraced vineyards, winding river, and stunning landscapes, a visit to the Douro Valley is a must for any wine enthusiast. Sample Ports, as well as still wines made from indigenous grape varieties like Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.
The Alentejo region, located in southern Portugal, is known for its distinctive cork oak forests and vast plains. This sun-drenched region produces a variety of full-bodied, fruity red wines, as well as some refreshing whites. Look out for grape varieties like Aragonez, Trincadeira, and Antão Vaz, which thrive in the region’s warm climate.
Vinho Verde, or “green wine,” hails from the verdant Minho region in northwest Portugal. These young, effervescent wines are perfect for sipping on a hot summer day. Alvarinho and Loureiro are two of the most popular grape varieties used in the production of Vinho Verde, which can be found in white, red, and rosé styles.
Indulge in Authentic Dining Experiences
To fully immerse yourself in Portuguese food and wine culture, seek out authentic dining experiences that showcase the best of the country’s culinary traditions.
Tascas and Tabernas
Tascas and tabernas are small, traditional eateries where you can enjoy simple, home-cooked meals in a cosy atmosphere. These establishments are the perfect place to sample local dishes and wines at affordable prices.
Fado is a uniquely Portuguese form of music that combines melancholic melodies with deeply emotional lyrics. Many restaurants in Lisbon and other cities offer live fado performances alongside traditional Portuguese cuisine, making for a truly unforgettable dining experience.
Wine Bars and Tastings
Wine bars are becoming increasingly popular in Portugal, with many offering a diverse selection of local and international wines. Some also host guided tastings and wine education events, providing an excellent opportunity to learn more about Portuguese wines and discover new favourites.
Culinary Tours and Cooking Classes
For those who want to take their love of Portuguese food and wine to the next level, consider joining a culinary tour or taking a cooking class during your holiday break.
Culinary tours are a fantastic way to explore the food and wine scene of Portugal, often led by local experts who can guide you through markets, vineyards, and off-the-beaten-path eateries. These tours can be tailored to suit your interests and often include wine tastings, food samplings, and behind-the-scenes access to producers and artisans.
Cooking classes offer a hands-on opportunity to learn the techniques and ingredients that make Portuguese cuisine so unique. Many classes also include visits to local markets to source fresh ingredients, followed by a communal meal where you can enjoy the fruits of your labour alongside your fellow participants.
A package holiday to Portugal provides the perfect opportunity for UK travellers to indulge in the country’s rich food and wine culture. From sampling traditional dishes in cosy tascas to sipping on a glass of Vinho Verde in the sun, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So why not make the most of your holiday break in Portugal and explore the best this vibrant country has to offer? You won’t be disappointed!