I realize that I cannot judge a country’s cuisine after only 4 days and only visiting one region, but I must say I was disappointed with the Portuguese cuisine. I may not have been to the finest establishments in the country, but visited a variety of different restaurants both in Porto city and in the Douro Valley.
In writing this, I am aware that only 35 years ago, Portugal was just emerging from a crushing dictatorship and that modernity and change take time.
The cuisine is based on simple ingredients that are not expensive: sardines, salt cod, pork and potatoes. (To their credit, the Portuguese potatoes have a lot of flavor, more than usual, for some reason.)
My frustration with the cuisine is threefold:
Traditional preparations are quite heavy and stodgy.
There was a lack of vegetables in the cuisine (which probably contributed to the heaviness)
The cuisine was not one that goes well with Port wines.
A future posting on this blog will report some of my suggested dishes that were inspired from these frustrations. My goals were 1/ to create recipes that marry well with port, avoiding the classics of blue cheese and deserts with caramel, coffee and chocolate and 2/ to use the staples of a Portuguese diet.