If you’re a fan of floral and fruity wines, you’ll know that few things in life are as satisfying, soothing and invigorating as taking a sip of refreshing Vinho Verde (‘green wine’). And what better place to tantalise your taste buds with this luscious liquid than in Portugal, its country of origin?
But while any genuine oenophile has fantasised about jetting off on a Portuguese wine tour, it’s easy to leave out a vital step in your planning: what food pairings will best complement and enhance the taste of your favourite wine?
Since Portugal is world-famous for its sensational seafood, the answer may appear simple… until you realise the sheer magnitude of available dishes. To avoid crippling indecisiveness while wining and dining, we’re here to introduce you to three must-try Portuguese seafood specialities. Bom apetite.
If you’re a serious foodie, the first dish on your gastronomic bucket list should undoubtedly be Bacalhau. This culinary creation, whose name translates to ‘cod’, is arguably Portugal’s best and most famous one. While this fish is usually salted and dried before serving, it’s also available in its fresh form (known as bacalhau fresco), and is often seasoned with parsley, onions, olives and egg. Although Bacalhau is the country’s traditional Christmas dish, you’ll find it at any time of year – after all, how could you resist savouring this flavourful fish for a whole 364 days?
2. Arroz de Tamboril
If you want to take a break from cod-based dishes, Arroz de Tamboril is a mouth-watering alternative. Tamboril, meaning ‘monkfish’, is the main ingredient of this gastronomic trove, which generally consists of rice (arroz), tomato, laurel and a palatable dose of garlic. While it’s often served as a stew, which is particularly pleasant in the cold winter months, some varieties are more rice-heavy, resulting in a meal that closely resembles risotto. Regardless of which preparation method you opt for, you’re in for an incredibly tasty and filling feast.
3. Cataplana de Marisco
Looking to maximise the amount of seafood you eat in one meal? Look no further than Cataplanta de Marisco, a meal that revolutionises the meaning of gastronomic galore. This stew is prepared in a large copper container (cataplanta), which is traditionally filled with shellfish (marisco), including prawns and clams. The fresh flavours of these local delicacies are enriched with a mixture of garlic, onions, white wine, paprika and parsley. Add a piece of crispy bread, and you’re sure to find yourself on cloud nine. Delicioso!
Is your mouth watering after reading about these scrumptious specialities? Sounds like it’s time to invest in some trousers with an elastic waistband and jet off to Portugal. And, after pairing your Vinho Verde with these delicious dishes, why not wash everything down with a glass of plummy Port? Saúde!