Serra da Estrela Gastronomy
It is common knowledge that, in mountainous areas, the culinary instinct is very refined. Serra da Estrela is no exception. The hard life of the past forced its people to a survival food that was refined and, let’s say, became a rustic culinary art, but rich, well-seasoned and with a great presentation, which became one of the prides of its inhabitants. population. The excellent quality ingredients, combined with the experience of many years, make Beira food a treasure not to be missed by its visitors.
Choose autumn to visit and discover the mountains. The cooler weather, with accidental rain and fog, are undoubtedly an invitation to sit down and enjoy a good filled table. The lamb and lamb of the Bordeaux breed, with tender and tasty meat, are the main and most appreciated dishes of the local gastronomy.
As starters, you can enjoy the smoked meat, which includes the famous smoked ham, sausage and black pudding, served alone or accompanied with regional bread and washed down with the best of the region’s wine cellar, the wines of the Dão.
And dessert will melt it. You have to venture out for the famous and noble Queijo da Serra or for a special cream cheese, accompanied by a pumpkin sweet worthy of kings. Or, if you prefer, try the sweet sardines, an ex-libris of the Serra da Estrela regional sweets. It is a centenary convent sweet, made with soft dough, stuffed with almonds, eggs and sugar. After fried, the sardines are wrapped in chocolate.
Famous for its characteristic flavor, you will also find rice with coot and seasonal game dishes, such as wild boar, partridge and rabbit. Don’t forget the porridge with rosemary honey and the chestnut liqueur.
There is no doubt that, in Serra da Estrela, you will find true gastronomic treasures.
Regional Quality Products
If you like bread, be sure to visit the Bread Museum, in Seia, where you can buy various types of regional bread.
In Serra da Estrela you can discover countless regional products available directly from the producer: various types of jam, olive oil biscuits, ham, black pudding, sausage, sausages, teas, Beira wines. But, as it is well known, the gastronomic ex-libris of Serra, whose name has already crossed borders, is the famous Serra da Estrela cheese, produced exclusively with Bordaleira sheep’s milk, and curdled with the thistle flower. Enjoy until the last bite and don’t waste the skin, which concentrates a large part of its unique flavor in the world.
Another highlighted product is honey. The rosemary, with a clear color and very sweet aroma and taste, is very rich in nutrients and, therefore, a great ally for health, as it can be used as a natural sweetener. Several studies have been carried out to highlight the anticancer properties of rosemary. Furthermore, it is considered a powerful aid in the treatment of degenerative diseases.
The heather honey from Serra da Estrela, with a remarkable flavor, is a source of energy as it is rich in natural sugar and, therefore, appreciated by people who prefer less sweet products. With a strong aroma, it is thick and soft like rosemary honey, having already won silver and bronze medals in International Honey Contests.
Other products worth mentioning are the fruity flavored Beira olive oil and the famous wines from the Dão Demarcated Regions
The cherry from Cova da Beira stands out for its quality, as well as apple and peach, whose characteristic flavor is due to climatic conditions.
Serra da Estrela chestnuts, considered as the bread of times of crisis, due to their nutritional richness, are used to make various dishes such as puree and soups. They can also be served roasted, stewed or boiled. They are a cozy food.
There are also other products that can be found in this gastronomically generous region of Portugal. However, the most traditional ones were mentioned.