Two foodies in Portugal

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Portugal

Portugal’s food scene is as sunny as its skies, and can be every bit as classy as the fabulous tiles adorning so many buildings here. For the the past six weeks, Tom and I have been munching and quaffing our way from one end of the country to the other, marveling at exquisite seafood and regional specialties. We’ve learning about both traditional food ways and contemporary takes on old favorites. It’s time to go home, go on a diet, or both!

Over a month and a bit, we have met chefs and fellow diners, and we’ve tasted the output of food artists and snack vendors. We’ve tried meat, fish and fowl and yes, some vegetables, too.

Best of all, we have benefitted from the insider knowledge and good taste of a legion of fellow foodies: some of them professionals and others, just regular folks, proud of their country’s food heritage and eager to showcase the best of it for visitors like us. We are especially indebted to our friends at Aptece, the Portuguese Culinary Tourism and Economic Association, for introducing us to many traditional foods and the people who make them.

We’ll be writing about our travels in Portugal in upcoming posts. In the meantime, please meet some of the people who have been our guides.

Lisbon
Taste of Lisboa Food Tours got us started, with a food and culture walk through Lisbon’s Mouraria neighborhood. Filipa also shepherded our visits to cheese producers and winemakers in the Lisbon region, and organized a fine evening of cooking in a Lisbon home kitchen.
Porto
André of Taste Porto Food Tours put more than 13,000 steps on our pedometer as he hustled us up and down that city’s hilly mid-section. We ate (a lot) and took in a morning’s worth of the city’s food history. Our walk in Porto kicked off a week of Portuguese food experiences with fellow bloggers James Martin and Martha Bakerjian.
conventual sweets
Makers of “conventual sweets” and patisserie cooks across the country, from Póvoa de Varzim to Portel and several places in between, treated us to more egg yolks and sugar than was good for us. We also received a big dose of cultural history along with all those sweets!
producers
And then, there were the producers and local markets–from olive oil and wines, to cheeses, sausages, jams and so much more.
Locals everywhere invited us into their homes and their lives, sharing meals and stories with us. In a Schist village southeast of Coimbra, we tasted homegrown sweets and teas with friendly neighbors--and met the family goats. In the north, we stayed in manor houses with rich family histories, and in Lisbon, we had a chance to help prepare dinner with locals in their home.
Locals everywhere invited us into their homes and their lives, sharing meals and stories with us. In a Schist village southeast of Coimbra, we tasted homegrown sweets and teas with friendly neighbors–and met the family goats. In the north, we stayed in manor houses with rich family histories, and in Lisbon, we had a chance to help prepare dinner with locals in their home.
Alvor
From Minho to the Algarve, we experienced fabulous landscapes along with the food; mountains, sea, and sandy plains, each one with its special character and flavors.

This was not our first visit to Portugal, and it certainly won’t be our last! Coming soon: posts about our many great food experiences in this wonderful country. Until then, take a look at a few memories from last year’s trip to Portugal’s Alentejo region:

Évora’s Cathedral Square: an Alentejo “starter kit”

In Alentejo, Portugal, the meal starts here

A food lover’s guide to Alentejo, Portugal

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Thank you to Aptece, the Portuguese Culinary Tourism and Economic Association, and Turismo de Portugal, for making our travels possible.

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