Food and Wine
– Fresh fish and fine foods
The food and wine of the Silver Coast region is rooted in a rich and varied tradition of gastronomy and fine wines. The cuisine is dominated, not surprisingly, by seafood given the Silver Coast’s position on the edge of the Atlantic. Much of the fish served in restaurants or sold in the supermarkets has come straight off the fishing boats that work out of towns like Peniche.
Robust reds and fruity whites
The Silver Coast is also known for the wine produced in the region – typically full-bodied, aromatic red wines and fruity whites. In the south the wines are lively when young, intense yet well balanced and with an exquisite bouquet when aged. Further north the white wines are delicious with intense fruit flavours.
Out of this diversity the wine-growing areas of Óbidos and Alenquer, Arruda dos Vinhos and Torres Vedras were born in 1989. The Silver Coast region is also known for its light wines with lower alcohol content, and for the only DOC (controlled standard of origin) classified brandy in Portugal – Aguardente Vinica from Lourinha.
Silver Coast cuisine is rich and hearty with dishes such oven baked kid, stewed rabbit with rice, fish stews, baked or boiled sea bream and rock bass from Peniche, eels and cockles from the Óbidos lagoon and shellfish from the beds at Porto de Barcas. The unnattractively named Lagosta Suada – ‘sweating lobster’ – is a particular delicacy which can only be found in the Western Region).
Sweet and fruity
Many of the dishes found on the Silver Coast have their origins way back in history – dishes such as trouxas de ovos and lampreias de ovos (sweet dishes made with eggs); cavacas (light crisp cakes) from Caldas da Rainha; bean pies from Torres Vedras; and pães-de-ló (sponge cakes) from Landal, Painho and Rio Maior. The Silver Coast is Portugal’s main apple and pear-growing region and these flavours are found in many of the region’s sweet dishes.
Silver Coast Cuisine
Fresh fish and shellfish are abundant on Silver Coast menus, but there is also a rich tradition of cooking from the region’s rural countryside. This is country cooking as it used to be – hearty casseroles to keep the fiercest winter winds at bay, delicious soups that are a meal in themselves and a selection of traditional cakes and desserts that will satisfy the sweetest tooth.
Cozido à Portuguesa: a hearty one-dish casserole made with vegetables and various cuts of fresh and cured meats.
Bifana: A very popular Portuguese snack consisting of a slice of pan fried pork in a country-style bread roll. Ask for mostarde (mustard) to accompany it.
Caldeirada De Peixe: A real fisherman’s stew, traditionally made from whatever the boats brought in that day.
Lagosta suada: Lobster cooked in a sealed container, hence the name ‘sweated lobster’.
Porco à Alentejana: Cubes of pork cooked with clams – the combination of meat and sea food is unusual but delicious.
Feijoada: A rich and filling stew of beans, often with beef and pork.
Caldo Verde: Soup made from green cabbage and potato, often served with Chouriço.