The cusine of Sintra
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THE CUISINE OF SINTRA

Portuguese cuisine is currently finding its way onto the global scene. In Portugal, eating out is almost always a very pleasurable experience. The gastronomy found at Sintra is as varied as it is all across Portugal. The secret of Portuguese cooking is using the finest and freshest ingredients. Some restaurants will only adhere to age-old traditional recipes whereas others dare to innovate - in either case, you won't leave feeling hungry. Portuguese portions are as generous as the smiles offered by the friendly waiters.

FISH

You would expect from a country where so much of its landmass is coastal, with a heritage of seafaring, their food obsession would be about fish. In Portugal's case, you would be right. Atlantic currents bring an abundance of white fish to Portugal's shores, such as bass and bream. Other seafood and shellfish happily shelter in the vast number of coves, lagoons and inlets. One delicacy prized all along the western Iberian coast is the Goose Barnacle, known as Percebes in Portuguese. They're found growing on the rocks contently being battered by the Atlantic waves. Collectors or "percebeiros" have to risk their lives on slippery steep cliffs braving the hefty currents and swell. The coastline around Sintra is a perfect habitat for Goose Barnacles. The locals will tell you here is the best place in the world to eat them.

However, if these odd-looking creatures aren't your thing, then there's plenty of alternatives found in a great number of fish restaurants found in the area. There's nothing better in my mind to enjoy the catch of the day simply chargrilled, with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt, helped down by a chilled Setúbal white wine. Portuguese also enjoy fish stews, most notably the Cataplana. Named after the clam-shaped pan it's cooked in. The Cataplana originates from the Algarve, possibly from Moorish origins. Cataplana is now found all over Portugal with regional variations. Most often, it's a dish shared by two people.

Sardinhas Assadas (grilled Sardines) are a staple in restaurants all over Portugal, yet best eaten during the Santo António festivities in June when they're in season. In Cascais, they claim to serve the best sardines in Portugal. Another popular dish found everywhere is Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, clams in a garlic-coriander-wine sauce, ideal for dipping crusty bread into on a balmy afternoon. Not all the fish found on Sintra's menus are locally caught, however, Salmon and Bacalhau are most likely sourced from Scandinavia or the North Atlantic. Bacalhau (dried salted cod) is Portugal's national dish. Their obsession with it is reflected by the vast array of recipes on offer. It's said there are 365 different ways to cook bacalhau, one for each day of the year. In Sintra, you're likely to come across Bacalhau com Natas, Bacalhau à Brás and various other house styles.


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Fish in Sintra

Bacalhau


TOP TOURS

Lisbon: Sintra Food Tour and Wine Tasting with Scenic Drive

Sintra Food and Wine Tasting Scenic Drive

Leaving Lisbon behind as you travel to Sintra for your first tasting - a ‘travesseiro’. Learn about the history of bakeries in Portugal and learn why pastry confectionery is so dear to the Portuguese while you stroll around the beautiful village centre.

From Sintra, head to Colares for a wine tasting at the Adega Regional de Colares. After Colares, stop at a local restaurant to recharge your batteries and dine on a delicious Portuguese meal. Next, enjoy a scenic drive along the Sintra coast and past the village of Azenhas do Mar and the surf destination of Guincho. Finally, observe some local shellfish nurseries before heading for one final tasting in the Cascais Bay Area.

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Wine & Food Tour of Sintra from Lisbon

Wine & Food Tour of Sintra from Lisbon

Come and visit the beautiful wine-house in Colares, Adéga Regional de Colares and have a go at a few tastings. It is the home of most of Sintra's wine producers. The building itself is impressive. The interior is dazzling by the size and number of casks it houses.

This is where the magic happens, where the wine ages in wood casks, giving the wine its unique flavour that can only be found in this area of Portugal. Later you'll get a chance to connect with nature. You may choose between a restaurant by the sea or a picnic in the beautiful woods of Sintra. We offer three different restaurant options for you to choose from.

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A Taste of Pena Palace - Food Tour

A Taste of Pena Palace - Food Tour

This gastronomical experience will take to your table the best traditions from main courses to local pastries and ending with Port Wine tasting.

This experience gets even better as it will be guided by a local and expert guide, who will let you in on all the history and traditions of Portuguese cuisine, as well as everything you need to know about Sintra! No need for you to worry about how to get to us. We will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation. Just sit back and enjoy the best Portugal has to offer.

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MEAT

Meat in Sintra

Leitão

You can find most types of meat and poultry on a Portuguese menu. There's usually two or three types of steak on offer, beef or veal. Pork makes an appearance very often. In the town of Negrais northeast of Sintra, they specialise in roasted piglet (leitão), which has to be tried to be believed. It is truly a delight to the taste buds. Another outstanding pork dish is Porco Preto. Originating from the Alentejo region, these small black pigs are fed on a diet of acorns and are full of flavour.

Chicken is a popular dish often grilled with Piri-Piri in specialised restaurants. Turkey is a popular choice also, mainly served in steak form. Meat finds its way into stews too, the Cozido is a hearty one-pot dish of various meats, sausages and vegetables. Another tasty one-pot is Arroz de Pato, which is essentially a risotto made from duck, chouriço and rice, finished off in the oven ten minutes before serving. Portugal has a rich tradition of making fine choriço type sausages and hams, many with DOP status, including some great blood sausages. The Alheira is a smoked chicken sausage created by jews during the Inquisition to fake pork consumption.

SWEETS & DESSERTS

Many Portuguese small towns have their own dessert, from the famous Pastel de Nata from Belém, the Fradinho of Mafra and the pies of Azeitão. As far as confectionery in Sintra is concerned, the ‘Queijada de Sintra’ (Sintra tartlets) rules supreme. It is made from an ancient recipe dating back to the Middle Ages. A filling of curd cheese, ground almonds, egg yokes, sugar and cinnamon cooked in a pastry case and sprinkled with icing sugar.

Another sweet delight is the Travesseiros of Piriquita. Piriquita is already considered a must-see for tourists visiting Sinta. Opened in 1862, Casa Piriquita soon became famous for its puff pastry pies with a filling of almond cream and now have two bakeries in Sintra.


Aerobus
Queijada de Sintra

Queijada de Sintra

COLARES WINE

The Colares wine region located around Sintra is one of the worlds oldest producing areas, if not one of the unusual. It is the second oldest demarcated wine regions in Portugal after the Douro. The art of making wine here was introduced by the Romans when they occupied the region. The vines are planted in the dunes which follow the coast, trained low to avoid the Atlantic winds. This terrain proved too harsh for the phylloxera louse that devastated nearly all of Europe's vines in the 19th century. The shortage of competitors led to a boom in the popularity of Colares wines. However, the processes involved in planting and training vines in such an alien environment for grapes is arduous. Production has fallen sharply in the last 50 years from 2,500 acres of vineyards in the 1940s to just 50 acres today.

What is produced is of excellent quality and quite distinct. The acidic and tannic nature of the reds mean they're aged for years before being released on the market. Today there is a consorted effort to revitalise the industry. New vines are being planted in much sort after areas where holiday homes are in high demand.