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Portugal has an extensive and diversified range of traditional food products. We have selected for you the best products, with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), handmade or limited production.
Our country has a millenary tradition of quality olive oil production, with six regions with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO): Trás-os-Montes Olive oil, Beira Interior Olive oil, Ribatejo Olive oil, North of Alentejo Olive oil, Interior of Alentejo Olive oil and Moura Olive oil.
Sausages have been part of the Portuguese gastronomic tradition for centuries, as with preserves and cheeses, initially it was another way of preserving meats, using seasonings and forms of curing (smoked and cured).
Portugal has several sausages and hams with PDO or PGI.
Preserved food came from the need to preserve food for a longer time, using ingredients (such as vinegar) or techniques (specific cooking) so they can be consumed for much longer.
There are two Portuguese preserves with PDOs: Negrinha de Freixo Olives and Elvas and Campo Maior Conserve Olives.
Jams, Jellies and Honey
In Portugal, there are 12 denominations of recognized geographical origin of honey: Serra da Lousã, Montesinho Park, Serra d'Aire, Castelo de Bode, Ribatejo Norte - Bairro and Alto Nabão - Terras do Minho, Terra Quente, Serra de Monchique, Barroso, Alentejo and Azores. The various types of honey - orange, raspberry, eucalyptus, sunflower, rosemary, heather, roses, etc. - vary according to the characteristics and geographical location of the plants from which the nectar is extracted and the types of bees producing. For this reason, honey may present different consistencies and colors.
Our country, also has a great tradition in the production of jellies and jams that originally, were used as a form of preservation of the fruits and some vegetables (like tomato or pumpkin) that have been produced for centuries. There is even a DOP of a fruit in syrup: the Plums d'Elvas.
Sauces, Spices and Condiments
The production and use of aromatic herbs and spices as well as, subsequently, seasonings and sauces, have been part of the gastronomic tradition of Portugal for centuries, having intensified after the Discoveries.
We also have a PDO region for Salt and Flower of Salt: Tavira. But there are more producing regions with high quality, like Castro Marim, among others.
Rice, Pasta and Flours
Rice production in Portugal began to be documented in the early years of the 18th century, in the border areas of the Tagus estuary. But it is known that it was cultivated much earlier in the regions of the South, as an inheritance of the Muslims. At present, rice is grown in the Mondego basin (Figueira da Foz, Coimbra), in the Beira Baixa basins, in the Sado basin (Alcácer do Sal), in the Tagus tributaries basin, in the dams in the South and in other regions, in smaller scale. A large percentage of the rice produced in Portugal corresponds to round grain varieties, which is Carolino rice, but also characteristically elongated grain Agulha rice.
Our country also has a great cereal tradition, mainly in the Alentejo, where there is a lot of common wheat (for the production of bread flour) and hard (for the semolina used in the confection of pasta), initially in the dry land and later in irrigation.
Coffee, Teas and Infusions
Although Portugal is not a coffee producer, its relationship with Africa and with Asia has meant that its consumption and production (blends and packaging) is a tradition that is as much, or more, implanted than in many producing countries.
As for teas and infusions, we are currently the only producer of tea in Europe (in Azores) and with high quality, as well as various herbal teas, because the production of aromatic herbs is widespread all over the country.
Pastry and Confectionery
Portuguese pastry goes much further than the famous Pastel de Nata, being highly rich and diverse. The most traditional confectionery in Portugal is of convent origin and is based on eggs and sugar or honey (well plentiful), combined with other very traditional products such as nuts, for example.
Portugal has an ancestral tradition in the production of cheeses in all regions, with 16 Denomination of Controlled Origin (PDO) and 1 Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). Those traditional cheeses are made, mainly, with sheep's and goat's milk, but also cow's milk, in the Azores. The best known may be, perhaps, the Serra da Estrela DOP Cheese, obtained from raw sheep's milk, from the breeds Bordaleira da Serra da Estrela or Churra Mondegueira, but all deserve to be tasted.
Fruits and Vegetables
Portugal has exceptional conditions for agricultural and livestock production, due to the many hours of sun, availability of water and fertile land. All this 'seasoned' by the proximity of the Atlantic, which gives our products a very special flavor.
Here, for the reasons already enumerated in the parent category, Portuguese fruits, also because they are still produced on a small or medium scale, are much sweeter and more crispy.
Our vegetables are fresh, tasty and longer lasting.
Portugal has tradition in the production of almond, mainly in Trás-os-Montes and in the Algarve, but more recently with the Alqueva dam, large almonds plantations (intensive and superintensive) are being born in the Baixo Alentejo.
The walnut is produced a little throughout the country, with emphasis on Trás-os-Montes, Beira Litoral, Alto Alentejo, Ribatejo and Oeste, while the pine nut is concentrated in the district of Setúbal (mainly in Alcácer do Sal).
Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables
Those are healthy snacks, made only of fruit or vegetables that have been removed all the water in a hot air oven. There are already several processes that can make the snacks more or less soft.