Bits about Portuguese Diet

Food is a well-loved subject among the people of Portugal. As a matter of fact, every festival is always celebrated with grand buffets or generous servings of food. It is common to find gastronomy fairs in the country.

The Portuguese diet is a great contributor to the Mediterranean diet, a collective nutrition among the cultures and countries in the Mediterranean basin. The staple food in Portugal comprises of fish, pork, chicken, rice, potatoes, cabbage, olive oil, tomatoes, and seafood. Fish is a major component of the Portuguese diet, with cod or "bacalhau" as the most popular used in more than 360 recipes. An average Portuguese consumes 45 kilograms of cod annually. Other seafood like sardine, salmon, eel, squid and octopus are also widely favoured. Every Portuguese meal is accompanied by soup, from cabbage soup to fish stew. The people of Portugal are also fond of sweets, with mouth-watering recipes that include cakes, puddings, and fruits. Desserts are commonly based on succulent fruits like peach, strawberry, fig, pineapple, orange, plum, and passion fruit.

Nearly all Portuguese recipes are integrated with different spices. It was Portugal that opened the spice route in the 15th century and popularised coriander, pepper, ginger, curry, saffron, and paprika in Europe. Since then, spices continue to influence the Portuguese diet, and consequently the Mediterranean diet. In addition to spicy dishes, Portugal is also famous for its wines, which are mostly internationally recognised.

Portugal rarely disregards mealtimes. In fact, food usually highlights family affairs every weekend. Lunch is normally a full, three-course meal eaten at a restaurant during office breaks. Restaurants and cafes in Central Portugal would often serve "plates of the day," which include a starter, main dish, dessert, wine, and coffee.