Portuguese cuisine is highly appreciated internationally, being known for its diversity of flavors, textures, historical roots and a special passion for good food. From seaside delights filled with fresh fish to robust and rich inland dishes, Portugal offers a traditional and authentic culinary palette. One of its secrets is the skilful use of wine, in different ways, which makes this cuisine a unique taste experience.
In this article, we will explore this successful duo through 5 tips that reveal the distinction of this union for a true gastronomic experience.
1. Respect the regional heritage: Our gastronomy is much more than just food, it is the celebration of traditions transmitted from generation to generation. Each region of Portugal has its own culinary specialties, often influenced by the proximity of the sea or local customs. The Douro, for example, is known for its full-bodied red wines, such as the famous Port Wine, which enriches meat dishes, sauces and goes perfectly with cheeses. Just like the Alentejo, where the vast plains provide the ideal conditions for the production of smooth and elegant red wines. Taking into account the origin of the wine when combining it with typical dishes from the same region is excellent advice for those who want to explore the authenticity of each place.
2. Explore textures that complement each other: For lighter dishes, such as grilled fish or fresh salads, the ideal is to complement this experience with a good white wine. Preferably a refreshing white wine, with light acidity and fruity notes, so that the flavors stand out from each other, creating a balanced meal on the palate. When it comes to more robust dishes, such as our traditional meat stews or game dishes, combining them with full-bodied and tannic red wines is an excellent option. Complex textures combine to create a blend of flavors and aromas.
3. Cooking with wine! In Portuguese cuisine, this union results in dishes with a lot of personality. However, an essential tip is to know how to reduce the alcohol properly, that is, when adding wine to a recipe, allow the alcohol to evaporate. Cook the dish accordingly long enough for the wine flavor to remain but the alcohol to dissipate. It usually takes a few minutes over medium heat. The result? Rich and sophisticated dishes, with great appearance, aromas, flavors and textures. For a better experience, the tip is: when using red wine as an ingredient, know that this is ideal for adding to dishes with stronger flavors, such as meats and sauces. White, on the other hand, is indicated for lighter meals, such as fish, grilled chicken and even vegetarian dishes.
4. Using wine to marinate: Still as an ingredient, wine is great for marinating meat, poultry and fish. The variety of the wine will determine the direction the flavors will develop. For example, when marinating pork for a dish like the famous Carne de Porco à Alentejana, a red wine from Alentejo can add rich spice notes to the meat, making it tastier and juicier. Also, knowing the ideal marinade time is essential. This factor allows the flavors to penetrate the protein fibers, ensuring a delicious experience. In this case, the most tender meats can marinate for longer times, unlike lighter meats, where a few hours may be enough.
5. Be open to the diversity of dishes: As you have already concluded, our cuisine is a vast universe of flavors and aromas. When passing through Portugal, take the opportunity to enjoy our typical delicacies with our best wines. Try the codfish, our fresh fish and seafood, meat rich in flavor, soups and soups to delight the palate and of course, our irresistible regional desserts or even the convent sweets and cheeses.
In a country as rich in flavors as Portugal, gastronomic tradition is one of the biggest attractions.
Our wines, rich in colours, aromas and flavors, are perfect allies, either through pairings that enhance the flavors of dishes, or as a secret ingredient, giving complexity and depth to meals. Therefore, when you venture into Portugal, remember to toast with us to the different gastronomic experiences that our country has to offer!