By Darren Griffiths

A Culinary Introduction to Portugal Food Tours

5th April 2023

Last updated on June 27th, 2023 at 01:51 am

Culinary tourism provides people with exceptional opportunities to understand the local culture in an authentic (and tasty!) way. Unfortunately, some companies are taking advantage of the surge in popularity of this trend by offering inauthentic food and tour packages.

In researching this topic, we read one tour package where, on the second day, the travelers would visit Albufeira – the birthplace of paella! Another itinerary informed readers that Algarve is the best place in Portugal for a ceviche! Both dishes are not Portuguese: the first one is Spanish and the second one is Chilean!

However, because the demand for authentic Portugal food tours has increased, and associated travel/food TV shows introduce more consumers to lesser-known venues and destinations, most of these dodgy companies will be exposed.

Travelers nowadays are looking for more ethnic recipes and cooking styles. They want to learn everything about local food and drink. They are looking for unique, authentic, or innovative Portuguese food experiences.

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Check out our One Week and Two Week Portugal itinerarys!

Mediterranean Cuisine

Portuguese cuisine features many elements found in a Mediterranean-style diet. You’ll find delicious fresh fish, a variety of meats, mouth-watering fresh fruit, and plenty of legumes, both fresh and preserved.

Some famous sweet treats include almond pastry desserts and a custard pastry known as “pastel de nata.”

Although the dishes enjoyed are different between regions, you’ll discover that some things don’t change throughout the county. This is a nation that truly appreciates quality food, fresh ingredients, and a bottle of great wine or two. If you’re a wine lover yourself, you must try the renowned fortified wine, Port Wine.

Slow Food in Portugal

The slow food movement encourages the use of local products and involves the preparation of traditional dishes. It was founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986 and has since spread worldwide. It is a fast-growing alternative to the fast-food craze that has unhealthily swept the globe for decades.

The goals are the promotion of local small businesses, and the movement is against the globalization of agricultural products.

In Portugal, there are special recipes that are only cooked in one specific region. For example, the Cachena steak and rice with “tarrestre” beans is a typical dish in Arcos de Valdevez.

Cachena cattle are a triple-purpose breed from Portugal and Galicia, Spain. Cachena are considerably smaller than other cattle, and known for their madly delicious meat.

The tarrestre bean is very small. It is produced in the region and used almost exclusively in the diet of the population in Arcos de Valdevez.

This humble bean can be found in a range of hues, but beige is the most commonly seen color. These highly nutritious beans boast plenty of fiber and are an essential part of the local cuisine in the area.

Because tarreste beans grow on steep, terraced slopes, there are no automated or mechanized cultivation methods. Harvesting must be done manually, as it has been for centuries before.

Only one small region in Portugal has this special dish; nobody in Lisbon or Porto cooks it! Why is that so special? Why do we recommend eating this dish? Because we are thinking global and acting local. If you eat this regional dish in Arcos de Valdevez, you will have a small ecological footprint. And, you will be promoting the local market and be incentivizing the community to preserve your culture!

A cornucopia of popular Portuguese dishes, savory and sweet, await your discovery during your journeys through the heart and soul of Portugal. These traditional dishes are deeply rooted in the Portuguese culture, and recipes are often passed down between generations and cherished for their authentic origins.

Come to Portugal with an open mind and an empty stomach to try some of the most flavorsome dishes you’ll ever experience, from arroz de pato (duck rice) and ovos-moles (a Portuguese egg-yolk sweet) to alheira (Portuguese Jewish sausage) and caldo verde (potato, onion and chorizo soup).

Savor the different dishes of Portugal and listen to interesting stories on a unique private Portugal food tour. This is a great way to discover the incredible world of Portuguese Cuisine!

Small-Group Tours in Portugal

Portugal food tours are designed for foodies who love charming towns, traditions, culture, art food, and Portuguese wine. With the guidance and input of local guides and chefs, these cooking vacations are dedicated to uncovering the secrets and traditions of Portuguese cuisine. Immerse yourself in all things delicious with an intense 8-day of Portuguese Food Tour for foodies!

When you embark on a small-group food tour in Portugal, you’ll feel like guests, not clients. You’ll discover the true Portugal that so few fully experiences.

Groups are kept small (never more than ten people) so that everyone can get a truly personal and intimate experience. As you live like locals, explore like the Portuguese, and experience a truly authentic Portugal that other tourists completely miss out on, you’ll bond with your group and see the heart of this nation.

Portugal food tour packages are all about getting an insight into the traditions of Portuguese cuisine. You’ll witness genuine culinary artisans creating products by using ancient traditions.

Peek into pasty shops, explore local farms, and discover local food stores on your quest to enjoy every last crumb of Portuguese food. By the time you head home, you’ll be privy to the secrets of local, traditional cooking.

Unlike many of us who eat and run, Portuguese people really know how to enjoy their meals. Eating is an opportunity to spend time in good company, relax, rest, and take their time; rushing is unheard of! Normally, meals can last between one and two hours, and weekend meals even longer.

While you eat your way through Portugal, there will also be plenty of opportunities to work off some of those calories! Visit Saint George Castle in Lisbon, the romantic Pena Palace in Sintra, Port Wine Cellar, and the Best Winery of Vinho Verde. These historic sites don’t have an elevator, so don’t forget your footwear!

Book your Portugal food tour online Now: Portugal Food Tours

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Portugal food tours are for foodies who love charming towns, traditions, culture, art food and wine. Get started with our Portuguese culinary introduction.

Portugal food tours are for foodies who love charming towns, traditions, culture, art food and wine. Get started with our Portuguese culinary introduction.