Last updated: 06:50 PM ET, Fri October 14 2016

How Portugal Is Becoming Europe’s Hottest Food Destination

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | October 14, 2016

How Portugal Is Becoming Europe’s Hottest Food Destination

PHOTO: Douro River Valley is known for more than its wine these days. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

Portugal has gleaned a stunning rep for its wine and now it’s cultivating similar status for its food says a report in the Wall Street Journal

“Not too long ago, all the chatter about the Douro Valley, the flourishing wine region in northeastern Portugal, revolved around its velvety reds and austere beauty,” Alexander Lobrano.

While wine lovers have been heading to Portugal for years, now foodies are following suit.

“During the last decade, however, the Douro has emerged as one of the most compelling new food destinations in Europe, with a growing roster of standout restaurants,” he says. 

There is also a growing interest in local cuisine.

Some of the credit for the growing interest in Portuguese cooking goes to a few high-profile chefs outside the country, including Nuno Mendes in London (Taberna do Mercado, Chiltern Firehouse) and George Mendes—no relation to Nuno—in New York City (Aldea, Lupulo).

However, locally owned restaurants are still a thing in the Douro Valley and their ingredients emphasize a true farm-to-table tradition. 

“We cook with produce from the small farms in the Douro Valley. We make excellent olive oil, cheese and charcuterie. We grow fowl, pork, vegetables and fruit according to traditional methods—the land is often too steep and the parcels are too small for industrial agriculture here,” Rui Paula, owner of three restaurants in the region, told the Wall Street Journal.

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This seems to be emblematic of the Portugal restaurant scene, which is thriving on culturally ingrained cooking methods, stunning wine and a beautiful setting. 

To read on about eating in Portugal and to learn more about its diverse restaurant scene, go here.

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