Actually, it may be a tiny country at the bottom of Europe but when it comes to history, breathtaking places, diversity and gastronomy Portugal has some of the most generous packs of opportunities on offer! This is, indeed, a country where nature and ancestral skills blend beautifully to deliver unique products.
Spread the Wine was created with the purpose of sourcing the finest Portuguese flavours. Our quest for wine and food takes us, sometimes, on rough tracks and remote hamlets, but we bring back gorgeous products and inspiring stories of family owned businesses and socially committed projects. We are thrilled to offer these boutique products which reflect an artisanal approach and are able to create distinct experiences that delight your taste buds, cheer the senses and nourish the soul.
There are endless food-pairing possibilitiesbut my inspiration is the approaching festive season. Here, I’ll make a short tour around some of the Portuguese Christmas delicacies.
A must-try entry | Portuguese sausages
There is a wide variety of sausages but the one that really makes my mouth water is the alheira, a smoked sausage made with pork (or game, boar, poultry), bread and olive oil, seasoned with salt, garlic and paprika. Grill it and serve it together with thin slices of chouriço, salpicão and ham.
Our food partner is Grão-a-Grão, a family owned farm that specialises in the breeding of the indigenous Bísaro pork and is totally dedicated to the preservation of traditional flavours of Trás-os-Montes.
To fully enjoy this fine food my choice is a wine grown in the same region, Trás-os-Montes: red, robust and full-bodied, with beautiful spicy notes that enhance the flavours of the smoked food but elegant enough not to overpower them.
A must-try main dish | Cod fish or octopus?
(They are both important parts ofa Portuguese table)
Octopus is one of the most appraised Portuguese dishes and, actually, one of the seven gastronomic wonders of Portugal. Simply boiled or roasted but always generously sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil previously flavoured with garlic and laurel.
I recommend a Douro Reserva White. Exuberant and round it will match perfectly the smooth texture of the boiled octopus.For the roasted octopus, a surprising Alvarinho Reserva, full-bodied, complex with hints of sweet wood, citrus and tropical fruits.
There’s many different ways of cooking bacalhau (salted codfish) but I love the Alentejo recipe, with crumbled corn bread and smoked ham, mushed potatoes and sautéed turnip greens. Again, don’t be shy with the olive oil!
To match this dish, an Alentejo Organic Vinho de Talha, a traditional red wine made according to the Roman methods, in a big amphorae, and bottled invariably on the 11th November.
A must-try dessert | Cheese, chocolate and bolo-rei
(It’s impossible to decide on just one…but it’s Christmas anyway!)
Not to be skipped is the Terrincho sheep cheese, or the Serrana goat cheese, both made from indigenous breeds of Trás-os-montes. With strong aromas, they may be savoured on rye bread, with one of the seasonal jams also produced in the farm and, of course, a good wine. I think that an Alentejo Reserva is the perfect pair for this tasty cheeses with his lively bouquet of ripe red fruits, pepper, cinnamon, saffron, light balsamic notes of truffles and “sous-bois”.
The king of the season is the Bolo Rei, and a traditional cake must be accompanied by a traditional 30 Years Old Tawny Port. The notes of fig, honey and dried fruits will blend in your mouth to perfection.
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