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Being a place of fishermen and mostly centered by the sea, the Algarve is one of the many Portuguese gastronomic paradises dedicated to the lovers of fresh fish and the best seafood quality
Being a country with a wide rural population and ready availability of vegetables the soups are usually made from seasonal local grown produce. Exceptions to these are staple soups that can be made at any time and are cheaply made by normally using leftovers. The soups often are a cheap replacement for a full meal and therefore they can be heavy in consistency and very tasty. Do not be too surprised to see a Portuguese ordering a soup to finish his meal as there is still this habit to ensure that he is fully satisfied within!
Açorda de Pão
Consists of vegetable, meat or fish stock, eggs and stale bread, coriander, garlic and seasoning.
Very popular soup that is made from shredded kale or cabbage.
Basically a chicken broth. Rice and ham are common ingredients.
Sopa de Agriões
This popular soup is made from watercress and potatoes.
Sopa de Campo
This is a soup made as the name implies "Farmers Soup", from radishes, carrot, celery and garlic.
Sopa de Ervilhas
Another popular soup when peas are in season
Sopa de Pedra
The name of this soup translates into "Stone Soup". The soup has folklore origins and is prepared from lettuce, egg, onion, and lots of garlic. True to tradition a small stone is placed in the soup.
Sopa de Peixe
Some "Fish Soup" can be so thick with fish that it is virtually be a meal in itself. This soup varies considerably from chef to chef and usually is made from fresh cod.
"Soup from across the mountains" is made from white cabbage, potatoes, turnip, carrots and some pork meat.
Sopa de Tomate
In season this soup can taste exceptionally good and the secret lies in the balance of herbs and other small natural items that can be added
The Portuguese palate tends to (their) prefer shellfish prepared and served in their natural state but here are a some exceptions.
Amêijoas à Espanhola
Cockles prepared in their open shells with an onion, tomato and garlic sauce.
Arroz de Marisco
Rice stew with every sort of shellfish that is available in the market that day. Chopped tomatoes and onions are also added as it is being prepared with fresh and chopped coriander used as garnish.
This is also the name given to the cooking utensil that is two pan-shaped halves hinged together and closed with a clasp. They have handles attached so that it can be taken straight from the stove or grill to the table. It works on a trapped steam-cooking basis. The contents more often contain some or a mixture of prawns, shrimps, crabs, large prawns, clams, pork filet, chicken, lean bacon, herbs and seasoning. Usually prepared for a minimum of two persons and this is quite a feast.
Conquilhas no Tacho
Cockles together with onions, bay leaves and garlic, and cooked in a clay earthen pot on the stove.
Santola à Maneira de Chef
The cooked meat of the crab is removed from its shell and served shredded in a mixture of herbs and condiments
Every morning boats full of fresh fish arrive to the markets. This fish is then carefully prepared at the many fine restaurants. The most popular dishes are the fish soups, octopus rice, whelks’ dish with kidney beans, the fish-stew and the shellfish açorda. In the interior regions, all dishes have a typical rural flavor, like fava beans, cherry chicken and chickpeas stew.
As in shellfish the general preference is to serve the fish in a simple manner and with little or no garnishing. Normally fish is grilled or fried, and served accompanied by boiled potatoes and a vegetable or a side salad. Some exceptions to this are listed here.
Arroz de Polvo
Segments of Octopus tentacles prepared with tomatoes, onions and served in a wet rice bed.
Bacalhau à Braz
One of the more popular ways to prepare codfish. Thin strips of cod mixed with onions, thin strips of potatoes and bound by eggs.
Bacalhau com Natas
Fried cod with onions baked in the oven with a cream white sauce and diced potatoes.
This dish can be likened to the French dish "Bouillabaisse". Mixed fish and cockles are boiled in a sauce made from onions, tomatoes, garlic and herbs.
Boiled mackerel with both heads and skin removed, then marinated for about 5 hours and served cold with some olive oil and vinegar. This is a very popular dish along the Algarve.
Ensoupada de Enguias
Made from small baby eels in a tomato and onion fish stock.
This can be translated into "stuffed squid" and is served with boiled potatoes. The stuffing is based on the tentacles of the squid mixed with smoked ham and seasoning.
The sardines must have been caught that same morning. They are quickly grilled with no basted other than sea salt. When eating the skins should easily separate from the flesh of the fish. Nowadays served with boiled potatoes and side salad. Originally, the sardine would be laid across a slice of thick country bread and the natural juices from the fish would soak into the bread – delicious!
The Portuguese cuisine tends to treat meat in the opposite manner to that of fish. The flavour of the meat is often disguised or dismissed by the strength of the sauce or garnishing. This is particularly true when they prepare wild game. Here, we have attempted to list some dishes that are really appetising.
Arroz de Pato
A simple and satisfying dish of strips of roasted duck mixed with rice and roasted again in the oven.
Bife à Frigideira
This is a rump steak with a thick slice of gammon ham on top fried in an earthenware oval dish with a slice of bread.
Bife de Peru
Thick tasty slices of turkey fried with garlic and served with chipped potatoes, rice and side salad.
A dish not for the faint-hearted! This dish is "jugged cock" with rice and the cock’s blood plus vinegar is added as it is being cooked.With rice or boiled potaotes
Carne de Porco à Alentejana
Fried cubes of pork and cockles partially cooked together with a tomato and onion sauce.
Coelho à Minhota
This dish almost fits into the introduction paragraph above. A rabbit is marinated for 24 hours and then fried in small sections. The rabbit is served with a tomato based sauce.
Cozido à Portuguesa
This is a "meat stew" made from the shin of beef, served without the liquid and made from boiled white cabbage, carrots, turnips, smoked sausage and rice. Other types of meat may also be used.
Dobrada com Grão
A mixture of celery, onions, leeks, added to strips of tripe, and seasoned and served with chick-peas.
Empadinhas de Castelo Branco
These are tasty "meat pies" whose meat contents can vary prepared with onions and some white wine.
Ensopada de Borrego
A rich recipe for fried pieces of saddle of lamb in a onion and garlic sauce, and served with slices of bread covered in the resultant sauce.
This a regional dish of stewed marinated pheasant in brandy and wine.
This is smallish tasty chicken gilled on charcoal while being basted with a special sauce prepared differently by each chef. The essential ingredient is the hot piri-piri and the chicken must be served straight from the grill. Normally chipped potatoes and salad accompany the chicken.
Iscas com Elas
Liver marinated with garlic, pepper and bay leaves, some white wine and a touch of vinegar. Fried in pork fat and served with boiled potatoes. A dish renown for its popularity in the area of Lisbon.
"Suckling pig" slowly cooked with wood faggots and basted for several hours in a specially constructed stone oven and served hot or cold.
Lombo de Porco de Monção
Oven prepared pork usually accompanied by roasted skinned chestnuts.
Rabo de Boi com Grão
An oxtail prepared in a thick sauce and served with chick-peas
Tripas à Moda do Porto
A dish that tends to be strong in flavor. Made from calf’s tripe, veal shank, smoked sausage, streaky bacon and chicken.
Oven cooked lean veal then sliced and served with a sauce consisting of chopped tomatoes and onions.
In the past the Portuguese cuisine has paid little attention to the excellent quality and variety of their home grown vegetables. This situation is now improving but unfortunately a little late in the day as the mass marketing trends have caused fast growing techniques together with a great amount of imported goods to be introduced with the resultant loss in quality, natural vitamins and goodness.
Ervilhas com Ovos
Prepared very much in the same manner as "Favas à Saloia" using peas in season. A fried egg is added before serving.
Normally a dish that accompanies grilled meat but can be eaten alone. Using a meat stock and more flavour is added to this dish of peas by the addition of herbs and onion.
Favas à Saloia
Named after the country people living around Lisbon this is a dish that becomes available only in the broad bean season. Broad beans are prepared accompanied for flavouring with a little sliced garlic sausage and lean bacon.
Feijão-Frade em Salada
Chick Beans boiled in plain water and when cold they are flavoured with finely chopped onions, parsley and gently coated with olive oil and vinegar.
Feijão Verde Guisado
Basically a runner bean stew with onions, tomatoes and bay leafs, flavoured with some pork fat and smoked ham or sausage. Sometimes boiled eggs are added.
One of the best perfected arts in all Portugal is the desserts and sweets and this finds in the Algarve one of the best places for this art. You will want to try all of them, from “Dom Rodrigos”, the Morgadinhos, or figs filled with almonds and many other goodies made with almonds, honey and fig jam
It is safe to assume that the majority of the Portuguese have a "sweet tooth". Most deserts and pastry have more than their fair share of sugar content. There are many different sweets created and only a few are listed here.
A sweet rice pudding slightly flavoured by lemon and cinnamon.
A sweet cake with an orange and almond flavour and with a filling of sweet chilla paste.
A preparation of the yolk of eggs, almond paste, sugar and water, that together is presented in a shredded manner wrapped in silver paper. Very popular in the region of Algarve.
Massa de Doce Regional
A special treat basically only found in the Algarve. Almond paste together with sugar is moulded into various delightful designs of small fruits and animals. They are then hand painted with cheerful colours to create a reasonable imitation of the real object.
Mousse de Chocolate
This has to be home-made, as manufactured varieties do not come near to the quality created from powdered chocolate or manufactured.
Pão de Ló
A form of pastry bread that has a rich yellow softness.
Pasteis de Nata
Originally a speciality from the district of Belem, in Lisbon. This is a small round flaky pastry cake filled with a sweet cream based content.
A very popular sweet very similar to egg custard. Occasionally, a chef will add something extra to create his or her own particular flavour.
A fluffy white sweet creation made from egg whites, sugar and lemon juice.
Quiejo de Figo
Layers of stuffed figs that are compressed into a cake form. The layers are flavoured with crushed almonds, anis herb and cinnamon.
This name translates into "Dreams". A sweet tasting pastry covered with sprinkled sugar.
Tarte de Amêndoa
A tart with a chipped almond filling and glazed with liquid caramel.
Torta de Amêndoa
A sponge roll spread with an almond and sugar paste filling.
Torta de Laranja
The same as the previous item but using oranges as the main ingredient.
Toucinho do Céu
An almond tart originating from the north of Portugal.
Like all other Latin countries Portugal is no exception when it comes to drinking coffee. The strength of the coffee drunk is much stronger than normally used in some countries, such as England. The Portuguese enjoy their coffee and most people start their daily routine with a coffee on their way to work. Addicts are known to average up to 18 "Bicas" a day! The different coffee grains used within Portugal are mainly from Angola and Brazil and brought in by seven major importing companies that act as distributors. The coffee is normally freshly ground when needed during the day and be warned that sometimes this noisy machine action can be quite deafening to the ears.
To assist you in your travels through Portugal below is given a description of the various ways of ordering a coffee to your liking ."Measure" refers to one filling from the electric Coffee Grinder. "Pass" refers to the one controlled amount of water that is passed through the ground coffee beans in the removable container in the Coffee Machine.
Small black coffee - served in a small cup using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called either a Bica, Expresso, or just, Café.
Small black coffee with less water - one Measure and half a Pass of water, and is called an Italiana or Bica Curto.
Weaker small black coffee - one Measure and two Passes of water, and is called a Bica cheia, or, Café Cheio,
Small black coffee in a cold cup - very popular in Lisbon and is a normal Bica and is called a Chávena Fria.
Small black coffee in a hot cup - also popular in Lisbon and is a normal Bica and is called a Chávena Quente.
Small black coffee from a Cimbalin Coffee Machine - it is called Cimbalino.
Small weaker coffee - half a Measure with one Pass of water, and is called a Carioca or a Bica Fraca.
Double black coffee in a cup - using two Measures and one Pass of water, and it is called a Bica Dupla
A large weaker coffee - one Measure in a tea-sized cup - it is called Abadanado or Abatanado.
A small black coffee with alcohol - this is called a Café com Cheirinho.
Cold coffee in a tumbler glass - one Measure and one Pass of water, in a glass full of ice and a slice of lemon with sugar already added. This is called a Mazagram.
A small black decaffeinated coffee - served with a small cup, hot water, sugar, and a decaffeinated coffee in a packet, and is called Café Descafeinado, or, Descafeinado Solúvel.
A small black coffee with a measure of alcohol (brandy) - using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called Bica com Cheirinho.
Coffee and Milk
Coffee with hot milk to add in a tea-sized cup - using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called Café com Leite Apart, or Serviço de Café.
Coffee with some hot frothed milk in a tea-sized cup - this can also be called an Abatanado.
Batido de Café - a form of coffee milkshake, often made from a variety of ingredients. An exotic example made contain chocolate and extract of banana besides the basic coffee and cold milk.
Half coffee and half hot milk in a tea-sized cup - using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called Meia de Leite, and sometimes Café com Leite.
A small coffee cup full of milk and a a little coffee - this is named a Garoto.
A Cappucino - a small black coffee served in a tea-sized cup usually served with whipped cream or with machine frothed milk.
More hot milk than coffee in a tumbler glass - using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called Galão.
A small black coffee with a drop of hot milk - using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called Bica Pingada, or sometimes just Pingo.
A small black coffee with cream and a measure of any whisky or brandy - using one Measure and one Pass of water, and is called an Irish Coffee
Information courtesy of general internet research and algarveuncovered.com, portugal-info.net, tripadvisor.com, algarve-guides.com and many more sources
.One of the great pleasures of any holiday is eating out. Fresh ingredients, stunning food and real value are the hallmarks of Algarve restaurants and eating out is the norm for everyone visiting the Algarve.The selection of fresh produce is part of the great gastronomic delights that await you on your holiday in Portugal. This is a list of popular dishes to help you enjoy the occasion more