Stewart and I just came back from a fantastic long weekend in Portugal and I wanted to write a post with pictures from the trip. Portuguese Food makes me happy and reminds me a lot of the food I grew up with in Brazil. Stewart didn’t get as excited about some of the things I was drooling over such as their egg yolk desserts or their brigadeiros (condensed milk and chocolate cooked together and then rolled into chocolate sprinkles). We had an amazing weekend, eating like mad. We actually often throughout the weekend used a very brazilian expression that may make absolute no sense to others: “pisei na jaca” or stepped on the jackfruit. This expression means I messed up or screwed up and my friend Nanda and I usually use it to say we ate too much. Sometimes she even says she stepped on it with her rubber boots, meaning overdose of on food in her book. We totally stepped on the jaca this weekend! After a huge dinner saturday, my husband stated he would stop eating dessert the next day……At about 4pm Sunday, that resolution was over and we had amazing ice cream on the beach in Cascais.
Portuguese food in pictures…..
We took a 6am flight from London and after check-in went straight to breakfast. We didn’t want to eat at the hotel and they suggested Quinoa https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quinoa-Lisboa-p%C3%A1gina-oficial/117507648278776 just up the street. First lesson, don’t eat breakfast at the hotel unless its included. Ours was 15 Euros per person and you can have a banquet for that in Portugal….
Every friend I spoke to about Portugal said the same thing: you MUST go to Pasteis de Belem. We were in a clothing shop friday and the owner, who is portuguese, even said it was a must. He said to skip the line and walk in, and take a table instead of buying something from the counter. Best tip anyone could have given us as lines can be insane.
Their pasteis de Nata are the ones you see all over portugal and the same ones I used to eat in Macau. They are best fresh and slightly warm…..and the crust should be a very flaky filo, holding the eggy yummy filling and sporting a slight burn on top. We went to Pasteis de Belem for breakfast and had several pasteis de nata, plus other sweets we wanted to sample (stick with the Pasteis de Nata, the best). http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt/
Their coffees are also delicious but the names of the coffees can be overwhelming in Portugal, even for a Brazilian who speaks the language. Basics:
- Cafe carioca: watered down expresso
- Pingado: milk added
So, carioca pingado is basically a capuccino and their Galao is a latte. That is all you need to know.
After a walk around Belem and a visit to the cool Museum http://pt.museuberardo.pt/ where we bought some fun dessert tubes, it was time to eat again.
What we found in the museum store…….paint tubes with chocolate or desserts.
- Paint tubes with chocolate or desserts, easy to travel!
We went to Mercado Campo de Ourique, a very cool market with different food stands where they cook a lot of different portuguese specialties. https://www.facebook.com/mercadodecampodeourique
We tried the famous leitao (roasted pork) which honestly was a bit dry and not great. We drank 1L of deadly and delicious passion fruit sangria while we devoured some portuguese black ham (like Pata Negra) and portuguese cheeses. We also sampled the egg desserts, some empadas and even some sushi (skip).
When we walked out, we came across Aloma (http://www.omelhorpasteldenatadelisboa.com/), which claims they have the best pasteis de nata in Portugal. We had to try despite how full we were. And glad we did as it gave us even a better appreciation for the ones from Pasteis de Belem that are so so superior. These were not flaky on the crust and the filling not as flavorful. Skip!
Later in the afternoon we stopped at a conservas shop, or canned goods shop. They have sardines, tuna, octopus and all……..I didn’t try as I am not a huge canned goods person but they look stunning.
After Lisbon, we spent the day in gorgeous Sintra and headed to Cascais for a night and day on the beach. In Cascais, while we were running, I saw this cute gelato place called Artisani (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Geladaria-Artisani/96950422546) and stopped running to get a sample. It was amazing, all sorts of uniquely Portuguese flavors like chocolate salami (chocolate log with cookies that makes it look like salami), pasteis de nata and others. We devoured our ice creams and pronounce it best ice cream of 2014 so far, gelato far exceeded even Grom in Milan. http://www.grom.it/eng/. Best ice cream in Cascais, or I dare say all of Portugal!
Some other food tips:
Beware of the very common bread basket that magically appears on the table…..it is always charged and they tend to add things like cheese (around 5 euros) or other enticing goodies that you think you are getting for free…always ask. But the sheep’s milk melting cheese is yummy and worth it.
Smart marketing is everywhere, from the desserts in paint tubes to drinks in test tubes.