The Flavours of Porto in the Cold Days
07 Nov, 2016, By Manuel A.
I truly feel that Porto’s flavour hasn’t changed a bit since I was a child, but this doesn’t mean that the city’s stuck in time – on the contrary. Porto’s traditional cuisine keeps the wonderful and unique flavours from another time.
Autumn (undoubtedly) smells and tastes like roast chestnuts sold at every street corner downtown. In autumn it feels like all the countryside is paying the city a visit. Pomegranates, pumpkins, persimmons, grapes, apples and oranges, one can taste and buy them all, anywhere in the city. This is also the wine’s grand season, with farmers, producers and sellers joining in fairs to show their new products. I personally adore autumn cuisine: the fresh new wines and all the smoked food give it a special taste; a rural one. The first rain showers touching the soil scent the air with that incredible earthy aroma, making everything taste better.
As the cold weather crawls in I find it more and more appealing to eat all those heavy, tasteful and spicy recipes my grandma used to cook. I recall the flavours of the potatoes, beans, cumin and specially the pork. I guess I’m not overstating when I say people from my region really enjoy the taste of their pork. No wonder they call us the tripe eaters…
Besides all the Christmas lights, Christmas flavours invade Porto in the winter (and my childhood memories ride again). During this special season sugar, cinnamon, cheese and Port wine give this town a special scent. Although everybody hopes not to put on weight during Christmas time, in Porto that’s virtually impossible. In every street in downtown Porto there’s a bakery, café or grocery shop, that’s why every street smells as if a huge banquet is going on. Permanently! Ever since I was a kid, whenever I think about Christmas, I imagine it smelling like these cakes, pastries, nuts, codfish, and all kinds of sausages that flavour my city during this time.
Part of this rainy and grey city’s mystique comes in the winter, when it’s cold outside but our tables are full of thousands of different tastes.