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Cuisine

The region’s gastronomy is unquestionably one of its most important treasures and, regardless of culinary tastes the typical dishes are always widely appreciated. There are plenty of restaurants in the region and most of them serve typical Portuguese food, with local products cultivated by the restaurant owners or by farmers and shepherds in the area.
Wine accompanies every meal | © Melanie AntunesFeijoada (been stew) | © Melanie AntunesSausage and greens | © Melanie AntunesMeals during the harvest in the Douro | © Emanuel RochaStrawberries planted in the Douro, freshly harvested | © Melanie AntunesThe bread and ham are a strong presence in the cuisine of the Douro | © Turismo do DouroCrème brulèe, cherries and regional sweets | © Turismo do Douro

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From the appetisers/starters to the main course, the flavours are always intense and unforgettable. The most famous meals are:

Meat dishes
The Douro region is well-known for an endless number of meat dishes, which include the famous roasted baby goat with rice and potatoes, wild boar stew, posta mirandesa, cozido à portuguesa (boiled meat, sausages and cabbages), partridge on a skewer, arroz de cabidela and feijoada à trasmontana.

Fish dishes
The region’s fish is caught in the Douro river and its effluents, and is served fried or marinated. The codfish is also a famous alternative to meat dishes.

Desserts
Typical desserts will make you put any diet or doctor’s recommendations on hold. Traditional pastries such as the peixinhos de chila or the biscoito da Teixeira are famous in the region. The region is also known for the delicious pão-de-ló (sponge cake) and the bolo-rei (fruit cake), manly eaten during local celebrations. The rice pudding and the aletria (vermicelli with cinnamon) are also some of the region’s specialties.

Sides
Most of the time, meals in Portugal are served with bread. If you visit the Douro region, you must try the traditional breads made with meat or olive oil. Normal bread can be savoured with regional honey or home-made jams. Regional cheeses and smoked sausages can also be eaten at any time of the day, either simple or with a piece of bread.

Fruit
There is a wide variety of fruit in the region, which are picked in different seasons. Cherries, almonds and apples are the most abundant fruits. Roasted chestnuts, nuts, diospyros kaki and tangerines are typical of the colder months. Olives and grapes are the main fruits in the region, even though they are used more to make olive oil and wine than for direct consumption.

Seasoning
Olive oil is used in most dishes, whether to cook the dish or as seasoning. Every dish is seasoned with salt, even though it can be replaced by herbs, which are plentiful in the region. Rosemary, parsley and bay leaves are some of the most commonly used herbs, mainly to cook meat.

Drinks
There is nothing better than starting a meal by drinking a glass of Port wine to open your appetite. The Favaios wine is also served as an aperitif, while the Douro wines are served with the main course. The liqueurs produced in the region, which are the result of the mixture of spirits and fruits, such as the arbutus, blackberries or cherries, are served as digestifs, replacing the international scotch. For those who do not appreciate alcoholic beverages, fruit juices and herbal teas are always a treat, especially because these juices and teas are made with fresh and crystalline water from the several springs in the Douro region.

 

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