Portugal's Autumn Flavours
How do you know that autumn has arrived once in Lisbon? A sunny city with mild weather sometimes the leafs only start falling from the trees in late October long after the season has settled. The best way to know that it's time to indulge into the perks of the new season is to take a walk downtown. If you cross a few hawkers in peculiar pedal vehicles with a few smokey embers on it, you'll know that Autumn is officially here. These little carts with a kind of barbecue on it are selling delicious roasted chestnuts and you should not miss it. They are one of the oldest city's landmarks. But chestnuts are not the only Autumn flavour. To celebrate the new season, make sure you try at least on of those typical Autumn Portuguese flavours:
Pumpkins are abundant in Portugal, especially at this time of the year. To preserve it all year long it has been transformed into a kind of marmalade with cinnamon and nuts. It's delicious and normally it is combined with requeijão, a typical Portuguese fresh creamy cheese.
Chestnut trees also generously grow in the Portuguese region. Apart from the roasted chestnuts, there are a few other dishes with it as the main ingredient. Soup is one of them, especially in the southern region of Alentejo. It's a rich and very warming soup helping prepare the body for the cold winter days.
This is a difficult one to translate. It is a low-grade alcoholic beverage derived from the wine and that only exists at this time of the year. It is the star of the St. Martin's festivities taking place in November to celebrate the end of the vintages. It's consumed with chestnuts, of course. Normally it is homemade and doesn't reach the supply chains. So, to try it you have to know a Portuguese wine producing family.
Rennets are another prolific fruit growing in Portuguese lands. They can be a bit sour so the best way to try it is roasted in the oven with a cinnamon stick, sugar or honey and a little bit of liquor to season it. A very comforting dessert to take after a long Portuguese typical meal.
Silvia is an awarded writer and a traveller with more than 15 years experience. Although her journeys have been taking her a bit everywhere in the world, Lisbon is her hometown, is the city where she always returns to unveil and write about its never ending wonders.
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