Mario from our Sales team introduces us to his favourite flavours and culinary delights of the Portuguese Coastal Camino and his home country: Portugal.
Traveling allows us to explore and enjoy the different aspects of places we visit; the landscape, the people, the climate, the architecture, and among many other topics, gastronomy is always top of my list on my travels.
I recently cycled the Camino de Santiago from Porto to Baiona, and besides being able to visit my own country and the beautiful city of Porto, I also had the opportunity to enjoy and to introduce my colleagues to some of the culinary delights and some traditional dishes of Porto and the northern coast of Portugal.
Starting from the beginning, in Porto the first dish that I must mention and which gives the inhabitants of Porto their name: “tripeiros”, are the “Tripas à moda do Porto”, which basically is a bean stew with pork tripe. It may not sound very good, but it is delicious. This is the dish that most characterizes the spirit of the inhabitants of this beautiful town, which has its origins hundreds of years ago, in the XV and XVI centuries, at the time of the Portuguese discoveries, where people used to give the best meat to the sailors, leaving only the lesser cuts of meat and offal for themselves. They still managed to create this gastronomical delight.
The dish that divides the podium in this town, and perhaps the most well-known dish is the famous “Francesinha”. This dish, which seems very simple to make but has an important secret, which is the sauce. The “Francesinha” is a sort of sandwich with pork steak, sausage and chorizo, all covered with cheese which is melted and covered with the sauce, which is fantastic and no doubt the soul of this dish.
I have also to mention Port wine, world-famous and one of the symbols of this city. If you have the opportunity, I recommend a visit to the Port wine cellars where you can taste the famous nectar.
On this route, which goes along the northern coast of Portugal, we had the opportunity to pass through some towns; such as Povoa de Varzim, Esposende, Viana do Castelo and Vila Praia de Ancora which has a past, present and definitely a future linked to fishing; therefore, there are plenty of places where you can taste the most varied and freshest fish that can be found at a very affordable price.
One of the wonders of this region is also the Vinho Verde, or green wine. Yes, green wine! It is not because it is green, the right translation might be “young wine”, it can be red, white, rose or lightly sparkling. This wine is perhaps the ideal wine to accompany a good fish or even a seafood dish. Green wine is undoubtedly one of the symbols of “Minho”, which is the name of the north-western region of Portugal.
Codfish, but in this case dried codfish, which can be cooked in so many different ways, is undoubtedly one of the relics of the Portuguese gastronomy, from the north to the south of the country. Fried cod fillets with a delicious tomato rice was perhaps the dish that most impressed my colleagues. A simple but characteristic dish that is full of flavour, which gave us the drive to continue for another 30 km.
I could mention many more gastronomic delights, such as the famous “pasteis de nata”; a variety of seafood dishes that we can find along this route; different types of chorizo, which is also one of the symbols of Portugal’s gastronomy; as well as “Papas de Serrabulho”; Lamprey rice, etc… the list goes on!
So as well as the whole adventure and experience that is the Camino de Santiago, for me, it was a very flavoursome trip!