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Discover Portugal with Teresa from Delicious Wordflux

teresa from delicious wordflux

Season with Spice is about connections. A convergence of cultures. A place to explore; a place to interact and learn from people who are linking the New Spice Route through the stories they share, and the dishes they cook.

In this spirit of travel and discovery, we will be introducing each of our featured bloggers on the New Spice Route. And we begin this Culinary & Cultural journey with Teresa from Portugal.

Teresa moved to Florida in 2009, but through her blog, Delicious Wordflux, she continues to represent her home. And who better than Teresa - a former journalist for a Portuguese tourism magazine, director of an art gallery, and more recently as a 'Portuguese explorer' - working in international relations - traveling throughout Europe, to Russia, China, and the former Portuguese colony of Cape Verde.

Hi Teresa, it's wonderful to have you here, and linking the New Spice Route through Portugal. Which part of the country are you from?

I grew up in Braga, capital of Minho region in North of Portugal. It’s the third biggest city and the oldest one in the country.  It is known as the Portuguese Rome and the city of archbishops, having more churches per square meter than any other city, with a mix of different architecture and artistic styles, showing the rich influence through the centuries.

pedestrian street in braga minho northern portugal

What would you normally find on the dinner table in Braga?

Everybody in Portugal knows that in the North they will be more than well served with dishes like bacalhau à Narciso and bacalhau a Gomes de Sa (salted cod dishes), sarrabulho (stew seasoned with cumin), rojões à minhota (pork dish with wine and bay leaf), roasted lamb with potatoes, frigideiras do cantinho (puff pastries stuffed with pork and beef). And sweets like leite-creme (milk custard), pudim de abade de priscos (bacon pudding), toucinho do céu (bacon from heaven), suspiros (meringue cookies). And a bottle of light Vinho Verde (green wine). My grandfather actually used to have a little vineyard of this kind.

‘Bacon from heaven’? Maybe it’s best we don’t ask, and let everyone imagine what it could be. But yes, we can’t mention Portuguese food without wine. Is Vinho Verde your favorite?

That’s difficult to answer since we have so many demarcated regions and each one has great wines. I would probably choose Alentejo and Douro regions. Yet, I can’t forget the Vinho Verde. It’s so refreshing.

Vinho Verde green wine portuguese and bacalhau com natas salted cod
How about food in other areas?

With the Atlantic and  Mediterranean Sea coastlines, seafood is king in Portugal. From fish stews, grilled sardines, fish au salt, bread and seafood stew, octopus rice or squid salad and of course the thousand and one ways to cook bacalhau (salted cod), there is an enormous diversity of regional dishes.

How about international influences? Portugal is over 96% Portuguese, but there must be examples of cultural melting pots in the country?

Certainly, mostly from immigrants from the former Portuguese colonies, like Brazilian, African and Indian.

That's great that there are still so many influences from Portugal’s significant role in the Spice Trade 500 years ago.

Absolutely. Vasco da Gama even introduced new flavors to Indian cuisine, like chili pepper from the Americas, which helped in the development of what curry is today. And he brought home many spices, introducing new flavors that modified Portuguese dishes.

Which spices are most commonly used in Portuguese cooking?

We use many spices and herbs like turmeric, saffron, cumin, pepper, nutmeg, paprika, bay leaf, parsley, cloves, chili, rosemary, coriander, oregano, curry powder. For the sweets: cinnamon is a favorite flavor, but also citrus zest, vanilla.

Speaking of sweets, is the ‘Portuguese Egg Tart’ a popular treat in Portugal? Or only in former Portuguese colonies like Macau and Melaka?

Oh, sweet Macau! I went to Macau once and the Portuguese cultural influence is notable in the region and of course in the food as well.

The art of pastry is very old in Portugal, originating in monasteries from the Middle-Ages. One of most famous is the Belem pastry, translated to Portuguese egg tart. All the pastries shop sell it, but the most unique and original one is from Belem, right beside the Jeronimos monument in Lisbon. You can smell the cinnamon and creamy milk from afar and you'll see a huge line of people waiting to try the famous sweet. The house keeps a secret recipe - we have this expression that says: 'fechado a sete chaves', which means it's very well kept, and only three people can access it.

Leite Creme Portuguese Milk Custard

Definitely sounds like it is worth the long wait. With all of these wonderful Portuguese dishes you’ve mentioned, is it easy to find the right ingredients in Florida to cook them at home?

I miss some good quality Portuguese ingredients like salted cod, olive oil, olives, sea salt, rich local cheeses, bread, a local pear called Rocha, and chestnuts from Trás-os-Montes region.

Nevertheless I’m still a happy cook in Florida. There are succulent oranges; delicious blueberries; meyer lemons are my favorite; and now is the mango season in Merritt Island, very close to us and I love mangoes. We have local organic sugar and good honey, so life is good.

Many chances to mix these local ingredients with your Portuguese dishes.

Yes, during Christmas I prepared a traditional dessert, rabanadas, with local honey. I think it’s becoming a tradition on this side of the family here which makes me happy.

That’s exactly why you represent Portugal on the New Spice Route. Sharing your culture through your kitchen.  Thank you so much Teresa!   

But before we go (not just meaning our last question, but also before we go to Portugal because you have absolutely convinced us), can you tell us the must-see places to experience Portuguese food and culture?

There are so many must-see!

Estoril Coast -  I lived for many years in the seaside resort towns of Estoril & Cascais. I madly love this place. It’s also a fishing port with beautiful beaches and of course fresh fish. Not to miss are the fine restaurants in the Guincho area, which among other delicacies serve a delicious fish au salt.
fishing boats on Estoril Coast
lighthouse at Cascais Estoril coast
estoril coast Guincho

Óbidos: Every July this town hosts a medieval market, recreating the traditions and medieval style meals of Europe. In March, it also hosts an amazing international festival of chocolate!obidos portugal historic alley

Braga because it's so full of history that any little rock you step on will probably have some archaeological interest.
bom jesus monument church in braga portugal
And of course Lisboa (Lisbon)...
lisbon statue monument along coast
lisbon belem tower during summer day
All images in this article are courtesy of Teresa at Delicious Wordflux

21 comments:

Tamara said...

it's always great to see and read about other people and food bloggers from different parts of the world...that contribute to our daily meals and food inspirations, showing us a variety and beauty of interesting cuisines and ingredients we have never heard of! Lovely article and photos!

Jasmine said...

lovely pictures Teresa! i've been to spain before, but now i'm regretting I didn't make the trip to Portugal too..next time for sure

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teresa said...

Thank you all!
Jasmine, next time you'll know and feel free to ask me for great spots ;)
Teresa

Karen said...

hi Teresa! The leite creme looks really yummy. I'm bookmarking that recipe. Is bacon from heaven a sweet?

Teresa said...

Hi Karen! Thank you. Yes, Bacon from Heaven is a sweet and I'm feeling challenged to feature that recipe soon on the blog, since there's been so much curiosity about it. I can say the name means it's really good!

Plateful said...

This Culinary & Cultural journey is such a great initiative! Thanks so much, Reese and Mark, for introducing us to such wonderful bloggers and thier lovely spaces.

Hey Teresa, it's a pleausre to meet you! Thanks for the insight into your beautiful land and cuisine. I hail from Kochi in Kerala and the Portuguese influence on our cuisine is marked by the 'hot and spicy' dishes found here. You know, other than chili pepper, Portuguese also brought to India tomatoes, bell peppers, papaya, pineapple and cashew nuts from different parts of the world. Personally, I can't imagine cooking without chili or tomatoes, as I use them quite liberally in my own kitchen.

I've often visited St. Francis chruch, in Fort Kochi, where Vasco-De-Gama was first cremated. With Kochi steeped in so much Portuguese history, it's little wonder that I've dreamt of visiting your land and experiencing your cuisine. Okay, I'm heading over to check out Delicious Wordflux!

Teresa said...

Plateful,
Thank you so much for your insight about your remarkable experience related with the Portuguese influence. I loved to read a little bit about your rich history in that part of the world!

Nami @ Just One Cookbook said...

Hi Reese and Teresa! What a beautiful interview & post! I always want to go to Porgugal & spain, and these beautiful pictures reminded me how much I still want to go! With 2 small kids, I am not sure when I can actually go...but I'm still dreaming! Looking forward to your recipes Teresa!

Quay Po Cooks said...

Hi Teresa, thanks so much for sharing with us your journey to such beautiful places. Looking forward to see the recipe on Bacon from Heaven. Have wonderful weekend.

Teresa said...

Thank you all! I'm really happy that you enjoyed the interview and you're feeling the appeal to travel to Portugal and taste a bit more of the gastronomy.

SeasonWithSpice said...

Thank you everyone for supporting the first article in our "Discover" series! We really enjoyed learning about Portugal from Teresa (especially about the 'Delicioso' food), and can't wait to continue the series through other places around the world on the New Spice Route.

Reese & Mark

P.S. Noticed on Quay Po Cooks that she recently posted a recipe for 'Xerem' - a traditional stew from the Algarve region of Portugal. Wonderful to see so many bloggers trying dishes from different countries. Hopefully, we can foster this trend on Season with Spice.

Teresa said...

Oh, what a lovely dish Quay Po Cooks! Your xerem (can also be spelled xarem)looks divine! It is indeed a famous dish in the East Algarve. I love the seafood version of it.

DalmatiaGourmande said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

Maja_pravo said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

Maja_pravo said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

DalmatiaGourmande said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

DalmatiaGourmande said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

seasonwithspice said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

Maja Matus said...

So nice to meet you Teresa! I love the interview and the pictures, it's nice to read about different culture and food :)

Teresa said...

Thank you Maja! :)

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