An Unlikely Blend: The Most Typical Flavors of Douro
Gastronomy and Wines
Porto is a city full of traditions and the traditional Douro cuisine is an art. We invite you to discover the gastronomic specialties of the region and to try, in the various local restaurants or aboard a cruise in the Douro, the delicacies of your preference. After all, there are recipes for all tastes, with intense and authentic flavors that will surely make your mouth water!
Here are the most highlighted specialties for each place:
In Porto we are called “Tripeiros” which comes from the word “Tripas” meaning Tripe, and people in Porto like Tripe. This, “Tripas à moda do Porto” (Tripe Stew) is an incredibly unique delicacy that will tell us a lot about the city´s history. To be a “Tripeiro”, as the legend says, is to be proud. The legend tells us that before we left to conquer Ceuta, in 1415, the city of Porto contributed with Tripes for the fleet, so this became a reason of pride.
However, Porto does not only live off Tripe Stew, or “Tripas à moda do Porto”, we have other dishes that should be highlighted: “Bacalhau à Gomes de Sá” (Codfish, Potatoes, Boiled Egg), “Pastéis de Bacalhau” (Codfish Fritters), the bohemian “Francesinhas” and, to go along with these, our wine that flows through your throat, both from the Green Wine Region, as well as, from the Douro Wine Region, which is a real temptation.
As for the “Francesinha”, there is no doubt about it: “Francesinha” is from Porto and everything that done throughout Portugal are just mere imitations of the real deal. Invented in the Restaurant “Regaleira”, it´s the most famous sandwich in Portugal, an irresistible combination of meats and a spicy sauce, this sandwich is praised by gastronomes from all over the world.
Be sure to try this famous delicacy aboard one of our Special Francesinha Cruises!
Vila Nova de Gaia
Vila Nova de Gaia remind us of the warm “Broa de Avintes”, a typical dense rye and corn bread, the “Velhotes” a sweet dough bread and the beautiful terraces next to the Douro River where you can see the best landscape of Porto. Gaia is bourgeois and rural, it is of fishermen and Nobel men, it has aromas of the sea and river. This city has plenty of restaurants with windows through which we can see one of the greatest treasures of Portugal: Port wine, which this city keeps so well stored. In Gaia, be sure to delight yourself with a glass of Port wine that is made in the Douro and ages in the cellars here. For this purpose, we suggest the 6 Bridges Cruise with Fado Show, a program in the Douro where you can sail along the banks of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia on a charming cruise, followed by a guided visit to the Cellars, with a delicious Port Wine tasting and a wonderful Fado show.
Amarante's gastronomy is a mix of both the characteristics of the Minho and Trás-os-Montes Regions, given the city's geographical location. In the past, the royal road between Porto and the Trás-os-Montes Region passed through Amarante, this was a long and painful road to travel. So, in Amarante many travelers would stop to recover their strength. Even today, the Amarante cuisine is based on substantial dishes, such as the mountain goat, the “arouquesa” and “maronesa” veal (two typical types of meats), the “feijoadas” (bean stews), the “Cozido à Portuguesa” (boiled assorted meats with potatoes and vegetables) and of course, the cod. There is also the delicate river trout and the perfectly well-seasoned cured and smoked meats. Also famous is the chicken rice, popularized by the nuns of Santa Clara, who were offered, in payment of promises, countless poultry.
Eggs play an important role in the making of all local sweets. Local confectionery was born in the Santa Clara Convent. However, the nuns were forced to be removed, with the French invasions and this made it, so the sweets started to be made by the families of the village and sold in the shops near the river. In all the confectioneries in the city you can taste the delicious “Papos-de-Anjo” (egg puffs with sugar syrup), “São Gonçalos” and “Foguetes” (pastries made with soft eggs and sugar), the “Lérias” and “Brisas” of Tâmega (pastries based on sugar, eggs, almonds and Port wine). We must also mention the phallic sweets of normal or excessive sizes, which, on festival days, are sold abundantly on the streets of the city. They are a caricature of the prayers of young women and old single women who ask for help from the holy matchmaker.
This city surrounded by the Mountains of Cabriz and Marão, it´s beauty invites you for a visit. Not to mention, the delicious sweets (which on their own make it worth a visit), the sausages the smoked and cured meats, the game recipes, and the strong wines. Vila Real's specialties are roasted veal and roasted goatling with oven rice, the meat pies “covilhetes”, the Maronesa Cow meat, pigs’ knee, meat bread and various smoked sausages.
Vila Real´s sweets are incredibly famous. Some of these true delicacies have curious names, like, “as cristas de galo” (rooster crest) from Santa Clara Covent, made with egg custard; the as “tigelinhas de laranja” (Orange bowls), the ”bexigas” (bladders), the “santórios” (sanctuaries) and the “ganchas de S. Brás” (Claws of S. Brás) all made from sugar and water; and the “pitos de Santa Luzia” (a pastry filled with pumpkin jam).
Now, speaking of wines, the highlight goes to the famous Mateus Rosé, an innovative pink wine, produced from red grapes from the Douro region.
The Lamego´s traditional gastronomy is based on the local and famous prosciutto or as we say in portuguese, “Presunto”. If you go to Lamego, and especially if you are a lover of cured meats, it is mandatory to try this presunto.
The “Bola de Lamego” or Lamego´s Meat Bread i salso one of the most apreciated specialties of this region, so much so, it is sold in many of the city´s stores or pastry shops. This bread could be stuffed with “presunto”, codfish or fried meats.
Some of the typical and traditional dishes of Cinfães are: Roasted Goatling with oven rice, pork skin crackling (like chips), corn grits with boiled pork liver, Lamprey Rice and Bordelaise Lamprey, Fried Shad Fish, cured and smoked pork meats and “Rojões à moda de Cinfães” fried pork meat with fried potatoes and blood sausage. Speaking of sweets and pastry, we must highlight the “Pão-de-ló” a fluffy egg cake, buttery sweets, “sopa seca”, which means dry soup, this is our take on bread pudding, the “formingos” which are kind of porridge but with bread and the rye cakes.
This beautiful entrance to the Port wine region is excellently located over the Douro. Around you have the Marão Mountains which are a protection for the vineyards. Mesão Frio is known for a local specialty, the “falachas” or biscuits made from dried chestnut flour.
Located in the middle of the Port wine region, Alijó offers a regional menu that includes grilled octopus and drunken pears in Muscat wine. Here you have the well-known Pousada de Barão Forrester, which is named after Baron of Forrester who was a famous English businessman in the Douro.
The local gastronomy of the Superior Douro is based on the use of products from the land like olive oil, almonds, figs, but also from the river, fishes like babels made in various ways, but one to highlight is “Migas”, which is a type of bread soup or “torned bread”. You will also find dishes made with products like wild mushrooms and wild chards which the locals pick from the land.
“Mogadouro” mushrooms have been considered for decades as a natural food used by many families. In this Douro Cuisine, the importance of hunting should also be emphasized, especially the Wild Hare Rice with Portuguese cabbage, the wild rabbit stew; partridge stew “presunto” (prosciutto) and “Ensoapado de Javali” which is wild boar stewed and poured over old bread, so kind of a bread soup.
Leave the diets for later and enjoy the local specialties. Douro cuisine is one of the best in the country, with delicious snacks that you will not be able to resist.
Book the program Douro City Break and enjoy regional products from Lamego. Or embark on a 3-day adventure on the Secrets of the Douro and Tâmega cruise and be dazzled by the Green Wine and Port Wine regions, on a fascinating adventure through the History, Gastronomy and Traditions of Northern Portugal.