Register for the 2013 convention and enjoy Lisbon's culinary delights
Portuguese cuisine melds local ingredients with exotic influences, many of them introduced during the Age of Discovery. The nation’s seafaring past is evident in its spices, including the ubiquitous piri piri hot sauce, made from chili peppers that originated in the Americas, arrived in Europe with Columbus, and now grow in Africa.
Rotarians visiting Lisbon for the 2013 RI Convention, 23-26 June, will find that breakfast consists of a roll or pastry with coffee, while lunch is the heartiest – and longest – meal of the day. It often starts with soup, such as caldo verde, a potato puree with shredded cabbage or kale and chunks of sausage. For the evening meal, if you don’t want to dine in an empty restaurant, make your reservations for 8 p.m. or later.
Bacalhau, or dried and salted cod, is the staple fish, and the Portuguese are said to have mastered 365 ways of cooking it, one for each day of the year. Locals also favor fresh sardines the size of perch, as well as lobster and shrimp. Second only to seafood is pork, including leitão assado, or roast suckling pig, and linguiça, a pork sausage. Try a bifana, a seasoned pork cutlet on a bun. The traditional sandwich is an inexpensive option at nearly every cafe or bar.
In 2011, the New York Times wrote that Lisbon is experiencing a “culinary golden age.” One of the stars is José Avillez, who studied under Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adrià, two of the world’s best chefs. His restaurants, Belcanto and Cantinho do Avillez, feature inventive Portuguese-inspired fare.
A favorite traditional spot is Tágide, in the Chiado district. For 30 years, the restaurant has been building its popularity on classic regional dishes – and on the sweeping views from its location on a hill overlooking the Tagus River.
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