The variety of flavors is huge, so we selected for you the best traditional Portuguese picnic foods. Portuguese people love to do picnics. They say that the best way to share stories and spend a good time with the ones you love is at a table full of delicious food and tasteful wine. You only need an empty stomach and good company!
In Portugal, you can find plenty of natural parks across the country to lay out your checkered blanket and feast. Called Parques das Merendas, the Portuguese adore a shady bit of green, especially by the sea, to celebrate a birthday or simply a gorgeous day.
Photo: Chamuças (samosas) and Bolinhos de Bacalhau (salt cod cakes), credits to Mark Skipper and Editorial J
A traditional Portuguese picnic will typically include: salgadinhos/panados (breaded and fried finger food), rissóis de carne ou camarão (breaded “hot half-moons” usually filled with creamed shrimp or meat), croquetes (minced beef/pork croquettes) and pastéis/bolinhos or pataniscas de bacalhau (salt cod croquettes and fritters). Chamuças (samosas), a small round of cheese, azeitonas (olives), batatas fritas (potato chips) are also a must, alongside piping hot Portuguese corn bread.
Photo: Azeitonas (olives), cheese and chouriço, credits to Dan Hodgett and Ricardo Bernardo
If you are tempted but want something more elaborated you can also try the fish: grilled sardines, iscas de bacalhau (battered cod fishcakes with egg) or small plates of salad (octopus, fish eggs, tuna spread…); – or the meat: bifana (grilled fried pork sandwich), prego no pão (steak sandwich) or alheira, chouriço or morcela (typical sausage sliced).
Photo: Prego no pão (steak sandwish), credits to Mark S.
For those visiting the center of Portugal, there is a typical delicatessen, a spit-roasted baby pig called Leitão da Bairrada. That suits great with one special drink that is cold and bubbly. Can you guess? While a cold Portuguese beer on a hot day will do the trick, you’ll inevitably find wine. When having the Leitão, we might suggest its traditional pairing of tinto espumante – a dry red sparkling wine from the local Baga grape of the Bairrada region.
With the other delightful foods you can choose wine from north to south of Portugal. In the South, you have the red wine to pair with rich meats, especially a fruit-forward tinto Alentejano. While in the North you can savor the Vinho Verde, or equally cold Verde Tinto, a traditional pairing with grilled sardines.
So on your next piquenique, why not mix it up a bit Portuguese style?
Photo: Portuguese finger food salads, credits to Jennifer Wu