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Porto is a sun-soaked city full of tantalising treats. Taste your way around Portuguese vineyards, fresh seafood and wobbly custard tarts on your next trip to this coastal gem.
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1. Queijo da Serra da Estrela
This runny mountain cheese is made from sheep’s milk. To eat it, first unwrap the cloth that surrounds it. Do not cut off the top and dig in like it’s stilton, instead, carefully slice the cheese at the side and allow it to flow from the centre. When you’ve had enough, replace the heel of the rind and wrap it back up with the cloth.
This local dish is a beast of a ham and steak sandwich baked with cheese on top. When the cheese is molten, it is anointed with a ladleful of a seasoned beer-based sauce and crowned with a fried egg. Some say this is the Portuguese version of the croque monsieur, but because of the beer-based sauce, it’s got more in common with Welsh rarebit.
3. Sandes de pernil
While the francesinha might be Porto’s most famous local dish, this slow-roasted pork loin sandwich is my favourite, as served at a Casa Guedes in the downtown area. (You’ll find them at lots of places though.)
Like rice pudding but made with angel hair pasta, this is a traditional Christmas dish in northern Portugal but you can find it year-round. It is flavoured with lemon peel and spiced with a criss-cross pattern of cinnamon.
The Portuguese love dried and salted cod whether in croquettes, or cooked with rice, potatoes, tomatoes or peppers – try them all. (Note that fresh cod is called bacalhau fresco.)
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What’s your favourite Portuguese dish? Leave a comment below…