Food & Wine
PORTUGUESE WINES & NATIONAL GASTRONOMY
The Portuguese cuisine has a variety of flavours, colours and presentation, with a diverse selection of choice in terms of high quality food and wine to enjoy wonderful meals.
Our country has a vast historical gastronomy which is centuries old, giving us, our chefs de cuisine and oenologists, great pride. Throughout the geography of Portugal, we are going to find out about its traditional dishes and give due importance to the wines of each region. Indeed, the quality of a meal is closely related to the quality of wine that accompanies it.
Portugal from North to South presents an extensive range of wines, from the young “green” wine with a taste of freshness, to the Porto wine, the most generous in the world.
The region of Minho offers an excellent tasty young wine. The red is perfection to be enjoyed with the eternal and well known “Serrabulho” made with fresh pork meat, boiled pork blood and boiled potatoes. Young white wines, due to their low alcohol content maybe be served as a “refreshment", and it will give special taste to end of afternoon snacks in summer, with seafood or even with light starters with a barbecue. Once at the table, you can enjoy the white wines of the region with Clams “Bolhão do Pato”, or grilled tiger prawns with slightly spiced butter sauce.
Boiled Seafood goes well with light white, acidulous or with a young white wine.
The “Lampreia” (Lamprey) Rice of this region can also be served with a young red wine.
In Trás-os-Montes you can enjoy the wonderful fruity wines with a tasty Rabbit Transmontana, or Trout from the Cávado River in a traditional restaurant of the region. The famous “Cozido á Portuguesa” (a varied Portuguese meat dish) will go well with a Transmontano red wine.
The whites of this region, less acidic and more mature will compliment stews and fatty foods with herbs and spices well. We can think of roast veal with some lovely potatoes and sprouts, or over roasted octopus.
The Douro region is known for its wine tradition, as well as for its tasty Roast Lamb accompanied by a good red wine. The most difficult region to cultivate, with sharp hillsides, it is more or less divided 50% as a demarcated region and the other 50% for Port wine. The great wines of the Douro are kept in French oak barrels for between 9 and 18 months which give them a unique taste.
"Pica no Chão”, an aromatic red grown on a hill facing the river Douro, is a unique pleasure that we should not leave for tomorrow.
This fabulous region is also known for its tasty rosé wine. This type of wine is an excellent companion of starters before meals; it is clearly a great terrace wine. However, its great virtues do not end here as it combines well with light meals in spring and summer, pasta, or cold salads.
The cuisine of this region is as large as the wines produced there.
An emblem of Portuguese culture and tradition, Port wine known worldwide has a large part of its national production exported. Port wines are generally sweet, but there are also some dry. These are enjoyed with snacks and accompanying desserts. They are also used in the preparation of some typical Portuguese dishes, most often to refresh sauces. By the fireplace, you can clear the palate with a Port wine and tasty cheese or dried fruits from the Portuguese northeast.
The Dão region is characterized by the excellence of its red wines. In fact, “Chanfana” (lamb stew) combines well with a mature red wine with a nice "bouquet", because it is fuller and more velvety. The same way as the famous “Cabidela Rice” (Blood rice) of Lamb will combine well with a young red wine, for its fresh and floral taste.
Further north, Serra da Estrela has to offer the best in terms of cheese which is enjoyed with an excellent red wine from the Dão Region.
The well-known Steak Portuguese, made from good calf beef meat fried in olive oil, garlic and bay leaves, and cooked in some nice white wine, a few drops of vinegar and a little butter, served with boiled potatoes. This delicious Portuguese Steak requires a full body red wine but with some youth to highlight the bouquet. The ideal wine would be Touriga Nacional Dão or Douro.
The Bairrada and the famous “leitão” (suckling pig) usually accompanied by some crackling chips combines with a naturally sparkling wine. Moreover a sparkling wine goes well with everything. It is fashionable to start or finish a meal, always accompanied by "a sparkling wine”. The coastal zone is best known for the sea that provides fresh fish onto our tables. Indeed, some appetizers, fish and fish stews as well as some desserts from the region of Tentúgal demand some local white wine varieties, Maria Gomes and Bical, more fruity and with low acidity. Grilled sardines and cod of Figueira da Foz can be enjoyed by the seaside, with a new full bodied red wine with some astringency or sparkle.
A little further inland we can delight ourselves with a typical Carré of Lamb, with light mustard sauce that goes very well with a beautiful berry flavour of Bairrada wine.
Further south, in the Ribatejo region of Terras do Sado de Palmela, a variety castellan or Periquita (red wine) is offered, that is great to enjoy with the cheese of Azeitão. The white wines are rich and fruity grown and on a very hot terrain, lead us to a beautiful terrace in Sesimbra to enjoy grilled swordfish and some “trouxas-de-ovos”(an egg sweet). In Setúbal, you can enjoy sweet wines, like the Moscatel, soft and perfumed wines that gain life over the years. These wines are suitable to serve with desserts, or drink between meals as a digestive.
The region of Setúbal is also known for its famous Lancer rosé wine. This rosé should be seen at a refreshing drink, for that reason it should be light, not having a high alcohol content, it should feel light in the mouth, with good acidity and the feeling of wanting more. The rosé wine is appreciated for its lightness, freshness, taste and slightly fruity "pétillant", a unique taste that is preferred offering simple sophistication, sensual and turning every situation into a special moment.
Our famous Cod with its thousand and one ways to cook, usually accompanied by white wine, if it is creamy, and dry white wine if made in the oven so as to offset the fat. The Cod Lagareiro, (fried in olive oil) should be served with a full body red wine.
In the plains of Alentejo, the wines are more fatty, rich and velvety to accompany the traditional game, which is then transformed into meat in the oven. The Pork Meat Alentejo way or Veal requires bold red wine with a bouquet. The traditional soup Cação (a shark fish soup), accompanies well with Antão Vaz (variety of white wine). With reference to snacks of the Alentejo, they can be enjoyed with new white wines, less loaded with flavours so as not to confuse the palate, Sauvignon or Chardonnay.
In the Algarve, you can enjoy white wines, mainly from the area of Lagoa, with fresh seafood, boiled Prawns, “Percebes” (goose barnacles) or even some grilled squid on a terrace restaurant in Portimão, near a beautiful beach. A good sea bream cooked in the oven must be served with a full body dry white wine. With regards to red wine, they harmoniously accompany grilled vegetables and white meats. As for the beautiful Algarve salads with oregano, they combine well with red wine.
As an appetizer, the best is Madeira Dry that can stimulate the appetite for the meal. As a digestive at the end of the meal serve a wine spirit or bagaceira.
All these wines and gastronomy represent the way of being of the Portuguese and values associated with them - joy of living, sun, light, colour, pleasure, welfare, culture and history, geography, character, integrity and much more!
"Because the bottles Saint-Gobain Mondego, accompany your meal and the most important moments, deserve the highest quality."
With the kind assistance of Mr. Antonio Maia (Restaurant Santa Catarina - Figueira da Foz)