Why don’t we see and hear more about Portuguese food in the UK? It certainly does not get as much attention as Italian, Greek or Spanish food.
I’ve never been to Portugal and my experience of Portuguese cuisine so far is a couple of meals in some London restaurants. I do happen to know a lot of Portuguese words as a lot of their language was incorporated into Malay when they colonised us in the 16th Century.
This year is going to be the year when Portuguese food gets a higher profile, from the efforts of Taste Portugal. From the sampling of the excellent Portuguese produce we had recently at Nuno Mendes’ Taberna do Mercado I am looking forward to discovering more.
We tasted a variety of Portugues Charcuterie and cheeses. They also make a mean meat pie with the lightest, shortest pastry. We didn’t get to taste their most famous, alheira Jewish Portuguese sausage. And of course, the Pasteis de natas which is so ubiquitous in the UK now that even supermarkets have their own version.
Portuguese Food Facts You Didn’t Know
- Did you know that the Portuguese eat the most rice of all the European nations.
- They make superb olive oils. I recently tasted some olive oils from Wine Region Altentejo. They definitely
- Portugal is responsible for the production of more than 50% of the world’s cork but this the source is in decline.
- They have a great pork product from the semi wild porco preto pigs, fed on acorns of the cork oak, a by product of cork production.
- The Portuguese invented the much loved Japanese Tempura, as the name is derived from “temperar, “to cook”. The story goes that their early 15th Century explorers introduced this to Japan.
- The vindaloo curry that we are so familiar with was introduced to India by the Portuguese. It is based on this dish, vinha d’alhos,
Portuguese Food Festivals
- Sardine Festival in Lisbon, also called the Feast of St Anthony 12 June
- Seafood Festival Olhao in the Algarve August
- Porto Beer Festival 13 -1 6 June 2018
- Fundao Cherry Festival June
- The Festival of Sao Joao – Not strictly a food festival but it does involve throwing garlands of garlic at the person you fancy.
- The National Gastronomic Festival in Santarem, November
- Festival de Gastronomia, Leiria September
- Festival da Sapateira – Santa Cruz (Crab Fest), Sept to Oct
Taste Portugal is an organisation that is promoting the food culture of Portugal. They are looking to work with restauranteurs in the UK to promote Portuguese Cuisine. Why is it that it’s not better known, does the cuisine not translate well abroad? If you want to extend your Portugues food knowledge, seek out a local eaterie. You can find out more about the project here: http://www.tasteportugal.com/
Taberna do Mercado
Old Spitalfields Market,
107B Commercial St,
London E1 6BG
EatCookExplore was a guest of Taste Portugal