10 tasty ways to eat your way through Portugal

Portuguese cuisine rarely travels well. The cooking of mainland Europe’s westernmost country is deeply rooted in the freshest local ingredients.

Superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, lamb raised on flower-speckled meadows, free-range pigs gorging on acorns beneath oak forests. Without them, it just doesn’t taste the same.

Superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, lamb raised on flower-speckled meadows, free-range pigs gorging on acorns beneath oak forests. Without them, it just doesn’t taste the same.

So while diners worldwide crowd Italian trattorias, French bistros and Spanish tapas bars, Portuguese restaurants abroad generally cater to melancholy emigrants seeking in vain to matar saudades (kill their longing) for mom’s home-cooked food.

Things are changing, though. The success of Portuguese chefs like George Mendes in New York and Nuno Mendes (no relation) in London is generating a global buzz about the cooking of their homeland.
Regular visitors have long been in on the secret, but here are 20 reasons why Portugal should be on every foodie traveler’s list.

1. Piscivore perfection

In Europe, only Icelanders eat more fish than the Portuguese. Superstar chef Ferran Adria says seafood from Portugal’s Atlantic waters is the world’s best — and he’s Spanish.

Markets glimmer with a startling variety, from baby cuttlefish to U-boat-sized tuna. If your food heaven is fresh seabass expertly barbequed with a hint of lemon, garlic and olive oil, this is the place.

Best eaten by the sea in restaurants like Sao Roque in Lagos, Restinga in Alvor, Furnas in Ericeira, Azenhas do Mar or Restaurante da Adraga west of Sintra, Ribamar in Sesimbra, or Doca do Cavacas on Madeira island.

2. Liquid gold

Drive the backroads of the Alentejo, Beira Interior and Tras-os-Montes regions and you’ll weave through endless olive groves. Olive oil is the basis of Portuguese cooking, whether it’s used to slow-cook salt-cod, dribbled into soups or simply soaked up with hot-from-the-oven bread.

Exports have quadrupled over the past decade as the world wakes up to the quality of Portugal’s liquid gold, either from big-time producers like Gallo and Oliveira da Serra, or hand-crafted, single-farm oils.

The latest prize: a gold medal for Olmais Organic oil at the World’s Best Olive Oils awards in New York.

3. The national boiled dinner

Portugal’s cooking is rigorously regional: meaty and robust in the north, Mediterranean in the south. Yet one dish unites the country: cozido.

Best eaten as a big family lunch, this is a boiled one-pot featuring a hunk of beef, various piggy bits, sometimes chicken, always cabbage, potatoes, carrots, turnips and an array of sausage, including paprika-spiced chourico and cumin-flavored blood pudding.

There are regional variations: in the Algarve they add chickpeas and mint; expect lamb and pumpkin in the Alentejo, sweet potatoes on Madeira. In the Azores islands, cozido is slow-cooked by volcano in underground pits.

4. Lisbon’s gourmet awakening

A new generation of chefs is shaking up the capital’s restaurant scene with ultra-modern takes on gastronomic tradition. Leading the charge is Jose Avillez. His Belcanto restaurant facing the Sao Carlos theater won a second Michelin star in 2014.

Its menu features braised red mullet with liver sauce, clams and cornmeal; oxtail with foie gras, chickpeas and creamy sheep cheese.

Rivals include Henrique Sa Pessoa’s new Alma restaurant, just round the corner and wowing diners with the likes of hake with burnt leek and hazelnuts; or Joao Rodrigues, voted chef-of-the-year with his riverside Feitoria. Sa Pessoa and other celebrity chefs offer cheap and cheerful alternatives at the Ribeira market food hall.

5. King cod

They say Portugal has 365 recipes for cooking salt cod. In fact, there are many more.

Bacalhau is served “a bras” with scrambled eggs, olives and fries; as fish cakes (pasteis de bacalhau) alongside black-eyed-peas; barbequed, oven-baked or simply boiled with cabbage and carrots, then drizzled in olive oil.

Crumbled with cornbread in the university city of Coimbra, baked under mayonnaise Ze-do-Pipo-style in Porto, chopped into a favorite Lisbon salad with chickpeas and onion, bacalhau is always close to the Portuguese soul.

It’s available everywhere, but Lisbon’s Laurentina restaurant may just serve the best.

6. Say Queijo

Why Portugal’s cheeses are not better known is a mystery. True, amarelo da Beira Baixa — a herby goat-and-sheep-milk mix, was judged the world’s greatest in a tasting organized by Wine Spectator and Vanity Fair a few years back.

Yet creamy Serra da Estrela from the milk of ewes raised in Portugal’s loftiest mountain range; hard, pungent cow’s-milk cheeses made on the precipitous mid-Atlantic slopes of Sao Jorge island; or peppery Terrincho produced in remote Tras-os-Montes, remain largely unknown.

Such dairy delights may be served as appetizers or after a meal with red wine or port, sometimes accompanied with quince jam (marmelada).

7. Porto’s tasty trinity

In the 15th century, patriotic Porto donated all its meat to Prince Henry the Navigator to feed his soldiers when they sailed off to do battle in Morocco.

Left with just offal, they concocted a dish which remains the city’s signature: tripas a moda do Porto. It’s not for the faint-hearted: a stew of butter beans, calves’ feet, pigs’ ears and peppery chourico as well as the tripe — the chewy white lining of cow’s stomach.

Ever since, inhabitants of Portugal’s second city have been known as tripeiros — tripe-eaters. Porto’s other best-known dishes: slices of deep-fried octopus and monster meat sandwiches smothered in spicy sauce and named francesinhas — or little French girls.

8. Going with the grain

The Portuguese are Europe’s biggest rice-eaters, outpacing Spaniards and Italians, but while paella and risotto are globally ubiquitous, Portugal’s arroz dishes are unjustly neglected.

Arroz de marisco is sumptuous: sloppy rice cooked in a garlicky, cilantro-infused tomato sauce fortified with a multitude of shellfish, which can include lobster, crab, clams and shrimp. You can taste top-notch versions at

Cantinho do Mar in seaside Praia da Vieira de Leiria; O Faroleiro overlooking the spectacular Guincho beach in Cascais; or Marisqueira Rui in Silves, the old Moorish capital of the Algarve.

Other classic rice dishes: arroz de pato, oven-baked with duck; arroz de cabidela, involving lots of chicken blood; and sweet, cinnamon-scented arroz doce for dessert.

9. Wild pigs

Portugal enjoys some of the world’s juiciest pork and tastiest ham as a byproduct of its thriving cork industry.

Semi-wild black pigs grow fat on a diet of acorns dropped by the forests of cork oaks across the southern Alentejo region. The resultant porco preto is marbled with fat, filled with flavor.

Cured ham (presunto) made from these beasts — especially from the border town of Barrancos — rivals the best from Spain or Italy. The Alentejo’s most distinctive dish combines clams with garlic-and-red-pepper-marinated pork.

10. The old school

Just about every provincial town has a least one old-school restaurant cooking time-honored dishes unique to their region.

Examples: Porto Santana serving vinegary dogfish soup in the whitewashed town of Alcacer do Sal; Cafe Correia famed for stuffed squid in Vila do Bispo; Aveiro’s O Telheiro and its eel stew; the Solar Bragancano whose seasonal partridge, pheasant and boar dishes make a trip to Braganca worthwhile.

Portuguese towns also have a bunch of informal restaurant categories: tascas are wine taverns serving hearty lunches; cervejarias are for seafood and chilled beer; pastelarias are nominally pastry shops, but also serve lunchtime dishes.

Salesforce CEO bemoans ‘horrors of the last week’

Marc Benioff kicked off Salesforce’s second-quarter earnings call with an urgent plea: “This hatred must end now.”
The company’s CEO began what is usually a formulaic presentation to investors by commenting on violence at a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia and the terror attacks in Spain.

“The world has watched with all of us the horrors of the last week taking place in the United States and Spain,” he said Tuesday. “The pure hatred that we have seen displayed is everything we all want to end.”

Benioff went into particular detail about the events in Charlottesville, where an alleged Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and wounding 19.

What happened behind the scenes as Trump’s business councils fell apart

“I’ve been especially disheartened to see the display of symbols of hatred including Nazi flags and salutes to KKK hoods,” he said. “The horrible, tragic death of Heather Heyer was a senseless act of terror, and this hatred must end now.”

In the call, Benioff did not directly take on President Trump, whose response to Charlottesville has been widely criticized, including by top business leaders.

The president’s repeated insistence that the violence in Virginia should be blamed on “many sides” led to the dissolution of his two business advisory councils last week.

Benioff wasn’t a member of either council, but he has expressed his support on Twitter for executives who decided to take a stand.

“CEOs have the obligation to stand for what is morally right,” he tweeted on Saturday.

The Salesforce (CRM, Tech30) CEO has weighed in on a number of national issues so far this year.

In July, he tweeted support for transgender members of the military after Trump said he would ban them from serving.

The month before, he said he was “deeply disappointed” by the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

And in January, he made clear his opposition to the president’s ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“When we close our hearts & stop loving other people as ourselves (MK 12:31) we forget who we truly are—a light unto the nations. #noban,” he tweeted.

Another record year for organic agriculture worldwide

The latest global data on organic farming worldwide will be presented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and IFOAM – Organics International at the BIOFACH world organic trade fair 2017 in Nuremberg. The statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture” will be launched on Wednesday, February 15, 2017, from 4.00 to 4.45 pm in Hall Shanghai, NCC East.

(Frick/Nürnberg February 9, 2017) The positive trend seen in the past years continues: Consumer demand is increasing, reflected in the significant market growth of 11 percent in the United States, the world’s largest organic market. More farmers cultivate organically, more land is certified organic, and 179 countries report organic farming activities (up from 172), as shown in the 2017 edition of the study “The World of Organic Agriculture” (data per end of 2015) published by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International. The survey is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and NürnbergMesse, the organizers of the BIOFACH fair.

The global organic market continues to grow worldwide

The market research company Organic Monitor estimates the global market for organic food to have reached 81.6 billion US dollars in 2015 (approximately 75 billion euros). The United States is the leading market with 35.9 billion euros, followed by Germany (8.6 billion euros), France (5.5 billion euros), and China (4.7 billion euros). In 2015, most of the major markets showed double-digit growth rates The highest per capita spending was in Switzerland (262 Euros), and Denmark has the highest organic market share (8.4 percent of the total food market).

More than two million producers

In 2015, 2.4 million organic producers were reported. India continues to be the country with the highest number of producers (585’200), followed by Ethiopia (203’602), and Mexico (200’039).

More than 50 million hectares of organic farmland

A total of 50.9 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2015, representing a growth of 6.5 million hectares over 2014, the largest growth ever recorded. Australia is the country with the largest organic agricultural area (22.7 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3.1 million hectares), and the United States of America (2 million hectares).

Forty-five percent of the global organic agricultural land is in Oceania (22.8 million hectares), followed by Europe (25 percent; 12.7 million hectares), and Latin America (13 percent; 6.7 million hectares).

Ten percent or more of the farmland is organic in eleven countries

The countries with the largest share of organic agricultural land of their total farmland are the Liechtenstein (30.2 percent), Austria (21.3 percent), and Sweden (16.9 percent). In eleven countries 10 percent or more of all agricultural land is organic.

Programme of the session “The World of Organic Agriculture – Statistics and Emerging Trends”

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 4.00 to 4.45 pm, Hall Shanghai (NCC East), NürnbergMesse, Nürnberg

  • Markus Arbenz, IFOAM – Organics International, Moderator
  • Eduart Rumani, SECO, Swiss Cooperation Office, Albania: The role of sustainability standards in economic
  • development cooperation in Switzerland
  • Dr. Helga Willer, FiBL: Latest data on organic agriculture worldwide
  • Julia Lernoud, FiBL: Latest data on Voluntary Sustainability Standards worldwide
  • Beate Huber, FiBL: Standards and regulations
  • Amarjit Sahota, Organic Monitor, UK: The global market for organic food

Next Generation is the main topic of BIOFACH 2018

Once a year the international organic sector meets at BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food. At the last exhibition in February 2017, 2,793 exhibitors (258 of them from VIVANESS) and 51,453 visitors traveled to Nuremberg.

The next event – taking place between 14 and 17 February 2018 – kicks off the year by focussing on the topic Next Generation. There will be discussions on ideas about how the “next organic generation” wants to continue developing the concept of organic in production and on the market, and how the generational transition can be successfully shaped.

BioFach 2018: Organic 3.0 and more

Organic farmers, processing facilities, and distributors demonstrate how a sustainable farming and food industry can function. They contribute to solving global problems such as famine, poverty, the waste of resources, the destruction of the environment, climate change, the extinction of species, soil exhaustion and contaminated water. The Organic 3.0 concept, which was first presented at the 25th anniversary of the World’s Leading Trade Fair, positioned the organic process as a modern, innovative system tackling global challenges in line with the UNO’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Markus Arbenz, managing director of IFOAM Organics says, “Today there is certified production in 170 countries in the world. The professional organic sector generates an annual turnover of 80 billion US dollars. The people who shaped the organic movement from its beginnings at the start of the 20th Century (Organic 1.0) to the present day (Organic 2.0) can look back at their astonishing achievements. Their experience is hugely valuable for the next generation. Following a holistic approach, they have succeeded in giving the organic process a secure place in the field, in stables, in processing facilities and store shelves, in the political agenda and, above all, a secure place in the heart of society. The organic process is successful because it functions practically in method and system and is sustainable for the future. In this way, the organic process and the extensive knowledge we have of it is at the frontline of the current debate on farming and nutrition.”

Young workers with an agenda for the future

Dr. Felix Prinz zu Löwenstein, chairman of the German Federation of the Organic Food Industry (BÖLW) says, “Worldwide, organic farmers are, on average, younger than their conventional colleagues. The number of entry level employees is also higher. Organic start-ups are emerging all the time.

In Germany alone, around a quarter of all food available was organically produced in 2016. And whilst the current generation of the organic sector moved across into organic, today, many entrepreneurs grow up with organic products. Like everywhere else, the generational transition in companies in our sector poses a great challenge. Exchanging experiences and advice is instrumental for the survival of these companies. Good training tailored to the needs of the sector is essential. There is still much to be done here!”

Established aims, new styles

A sustainable planet, respect for nature, a fair society and a global perspective from the field to the plate – the younger generation are also spreading these traditional aims of organic produce. The dedication of organic farmers, food manufacturers and distributors as well as of organic customers and civil society is continuing – on this, industry representatives agree. So are values such as reliability to citizens and consumers, the authenticity of products, and honest communication. But new minds, new possibilities and new motivation change not only the stories that the sector tells, but the methods and strategies too, which bring us closer to these aims. The younger generation shall discuss exactly what this means at BIOFACH 2018.

The variety of topics ranges from the new generation’s political programme about the passing of the baton and company succession to trends in the start-up sector and civil society. There will also be discussions on what conclusions the younger generation draws from the promises of the programme and the strategy implemented in the past for their plans and communication in the future.

About the BIOFACH World

NürnbergMesse has proven its expertise in the field of organic foods. At the BIOFACH, the Global Leading Exhibition for organic foods, the international branch meets annually every February in Nuremberg. The extensive range of certified organic products available demonstrates its diversity – from fresh products such as dairy produce and cheese, via fruit, vegetables, dried products such as cereals and pulses, nuts and confectionery, right up to beverages.

The international patron of BIOFACH is IFOAM – Organics International, the ideational national supporting body of the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (German Association of Ecological Food Industry) (BÖLW). A permanent component of this world-leading trade fair is the BIOFACH Congress, a globally unique knowledge platform. With five further BIOFACH exhibitions in Japan, the United States, South America, China and India, BIOFACH World shows global presence and attracts more than 3,000 exhibitors and 100,000 trade visitors year for year.