With a rich and diverse gastronomy, mainland Portugal and the islands do not have in their gastronomic heritage “one” dish that can be raised to standard-bearers to be presented on the table of the world.
There is traditional and regional cuisine. Recipe based on ancestral uses and flavors rooted in different and different regions. “In Portugal there is no province, district, land that is not listed among the local monuments, the specialty of a rare, wise, fine snack, a true symphony of always sublime flavors”, as described by Fialho de Almeida, in o ” Gato “. A consensual description among the diners.
However, despite the unrivaled richness and variety, “we lack a national dish,” said Noélia, chef of the restaurant Noélia & Jerónimo, in Cabanas de Tavira, Algarve. “There should be a flag plate,” she tossed her. “Is that cod?” She asked. “But cod is a variety of ways of cooking”, answered the woman at the commands of the family restaurant nestled in the Ria Formosa during the 4th edition of “Mulheres Com Tomates”, an event that took place in the cellar of the Marquês de Pombal Palace, in Oeiras, under the banner “As Chef is city “.
As for the theme of identity, we recover Fialho de Almeida: “The national dish is like the national noveliro, a product of the collective genius: nobody invented it and everyone invented it: you come into the world for this, and when you leave your land, before father and mother, is the first thing he remembers ”, immortalized the writer and journalist.
The conversation moderated by Patrícia Conde (NUTS) brought together Ana Moura, kitchen manager of the Lamelas restaurant (Porto Covo), Angélica Salvador, from In Different (Porto), Maria Solivellas, Ca na Toneta (Mallorca), Marlene Vieira, from Marlene (Lisbon) and Noélia, by Noélia & Jerónimo (Tavira). Five women, five chef of five cities and a union in defense of the promotion of local products and culinary identity.
No matter how hard you try, cod is still there
Between a tasting of “Carcavelos Villa Oeiras Wine in the Pastry shop”, with the chef the pastry chef Sara Soares and Vino Verita, a sensory journey anchored to the aforementioned wine, by Patricia Gabriel, in the Chapel of the Palace, let’s go back to the question posed by chef Algarvian
If the Moroccans have the Tajine and the paella is the symbol of Spain, just to mention the maritime neighbors to the south and land neighbors to the east, the westernmost corner of Europe does not have a delicacy that is identified with Portugal.
We associate the country with music (Fado), football (Cristiano Ronaldo) but at the table, where you sit with family, friends, complicity and business, the variety makes it difficult and, in a lot, the choice.
We will be able to present the traditional steak with fries and eggs, octopus, pataniscas, Portuguese stew, grilled fish, tripe, the kaleidoscope of cod recipes, and everything that can remind the palate, reality seems to be inevitable: choose the “such ”Dish is more complex than one might imagine, even if the consensus on its existence is not as far away as one might think.
Noélia Jerónimo launched the question, SAPO 24 took the opportunity and raised the rest chef.
Maria Solivella, a voice breathed in by Spain, characterizes Portuguese gastronomy through the existence of “various dishes”. There is no exact answer on the tip of the tongue. “It’s an open kitchen,” she describes herself. “I would say cod … but cod is not a dish. It’s a fish ”, she portrays herself in line with what Noélia had said. “Wines or cheeses explain more than one dish”, says her manager, together with her sister Teresa, of the restaurant Ca na Toneta (Caimari, Mallorca).
Marlene Vieira, an autobiographer from the north, has “the” plate on her palate. She stumbles upon the first choice. “Courage, I would say … no … because it is above all in Porto and there are those who do it elsewhere”, she admitted. She tries another one. “Maybe the rice. We are the second largest consumer of rice in the world ”. retire. “The rope. Yes, the açorda ”, concluded the former Marsterchef. Which? “With what we want. We have the broth, the oil and the aromatic herbs », he replied, sprinkling spices on the discussion.
A compliment came from Brazil. “There are so many and so good”, exclaimed Angélica Cardoso, the hand of in Outros, in Porto. Having lived in Portugal for 17 years, she hesitated when she pointed to “the” dish. “Rice with fish, cod, rice with tomato, rice with fish or meat,” she said. She leaves the recital. She is based on a reminiscence of familiar tones. “Portuguese pork. It was the first dish I prepared for my family when I returned to Brazil, ”she condemned her. “Right. Pig, no doubt.”
Ana Moura, back in the Alentejo region where her maternal grandparents were born, was the fastest to respond. “Bacalhau à Brás”, without batting an eye identifies the alfacinha who planted the experience for five years in Spain and opened “Lamelas” just one year ago (May 18, 2021) in a land between Sines and Vila Nova de Mil Fontes in need of promotional buzz.
Finally, Noélia, the cook chef born in the mountains of the Algarve: “La cataplana”, he said, or not “native of the Algarve”.
Local identity and defense of the gastronomic territory
During the conversation, Maria Solivellas speculated that she had a mission: “to maintain the Mallorcan identity” in the restaurant described by the Financial Times as “rustic chic“. There, he adopted the concept of “zero kilometer”. He uses local and island suppliers and products, adopts Mallorcan recipes, of popular inspiration and makes everything based on traditional cuisine. “The tradition is to enhance the local economy which was disappearing. The landscape drawn by the peasants was disappearing. This activity is linked to the social and ecological aspects and I started working on the local and ecological aspects ”, he recalled at the round table.
He spoke of tourism: “(Tourism) misleading, ferocious, it can destroy identity”, he drew attention. However, she showed the other side of the (good) coin. “The first to understand (the local identity) were the tourists. They appreciate the difference and seek culture, ”she praised.
The granddaughter of “Lamelas”, originally from Alentejo by blood and Lisbon, Ana Moura, has decentralized the kitchen in Lisbon and arrived in Porto Covo, on the Alentejo coast. “If there’s another place I’ve always thought I was beyond Lisbon, it’s Porto Covo,” she confessed to SAPO24 on the sidelines of the event.
It adds data on the local essence. “I want to recover the flavors of the Alentejo and help the local economy,” she speculated. “I buy local bread, meat and fish. The seller already knows what I want. It’s a closer relationship ”. “It’s more work,” she admits, but she pays off.
Marlene Vieira takes the bread. “It comes from northern Europe and it’s the same everywhere. I try to keep the bread from my grandmother’s recipe and I gave it my stamp, ”she assured. She was born in Maia, educated in Santa Maria da Feira, apprentice in Vila do Conde, raised professionally in Manhattan, New York, USA, she came of age in Lisbon, where this year she opened a refined cuisine which it gives its name.
“It is difficult for me to see other restaurants, from other cuisines, more crowded than the Portuguese one,” he complained. He admits that Lisbon is “losing his identity” and talks about the place where the square was. “I am in a border area (Avenida D. Infante Henrique, near the cruise terminal, gateway to the tourist Alfama) and I would like to show more Portuguese cuisine and not just be known for grilled and pan-fried fish.” , he shot.
Noélia recognized her “good fortune to live in the Ria Formosa”. She navigates through the protected landscape. “I depend on the Ria Formosa, I come from the Ria Formosa and I count on what you give me. We have to exploit what nature offers us ”, she reiterated.
Angélica Salvador, Brazilian by birth, born in Paraná, Portuguese as a guest, clings to the genetic tree. “It is important not to spoil Portuguese products, but I will go back to their origins, in Brazil, to my mother and my grandmother,” she said. “The flavor is there and it seeks Portuguese origin”, she revealed chef whose first dish cooked was the “xerem”.
The Asian hand in the kitchen and the bill
Angélica Salvador takes the opportunity to remember her journey and the last times. She breathed a sigh of relief at a time when many doors were closing. Benefited from the pandemic. Installed in Foz, Porto, on the eve of the double confinement, he had to face the need to enter take away And delivery. “I reinvented the project and my neighbors became customers. Covid introduced me to Foz “, she speculated.
Call to talk about the defense of the gastronomic territory in their respective cities, the SAPO24 she entered the kitchen, increasingly occupied by cooks and helpers from Nepal, Bangladesh and India, and wondered if the Asian presence could finally make itself felt in traditional recipes. Marlene Vieira clarified: “It does not influence because we are defenders of our homeland”. She assures them that “they learn fast, but many don’t try because of religion,” she confides. Ana Moura acknowledges that “Indian gastronomy is deeply rooted in Portugal” and adds. “The samosa is Portuguese, the cheesecake …”, she smiled.
The conversation has come to an end. It is time to politicize the restoration. “We have already passed the opening and closing. Now let’s go back to the same problem: lack of manpower. It happens all over the world, ”warns Marlene. “The Algarve mountain range has cysts today, when it was once wheat. Nobody wants to work. I started at 14, I grew up and learned to work ”, recalls Noélia. Marlene Vieira elaborates: “There is no action plan to revitalize the sector. At the Dubai Fair, in the Portugal pavilion, we didn’t have a chef Portuguese, ”he shrugged.
Given the signal for the bill to come to the table. “Don’t say it’s cheap food for the price. There is work behind it. It’s impossible to pay 5 euros for a full plate and get good pay (in the kitchen) ”, counterbalances Marlene Vieira. “I raise the prices because everything has gone up. There are things we cannot escape and there must be a balance, ”said Angélica Cardoso.
Noélia Jerónimo opened and closed the conversation. You left the prices aside and diverged. You have concluded on what they are doing and on the current situation. “Making people happy isn’t always easy,” she acknowledged. She remembered the war scene. “Bad things make us stronger. We have to grab the window. In a context of war, the country can make a difference in tourism and come out stronger ”, she underlined the way.