I’m writing this blog post as my official entry for a 16 day food tour around Portugal conducted by APTECE Portugal which I came across while reading Nelson Carvalheiro’s blog. For the contest I’m asked to write what food means to me, why it’s my main reason for travelling and what I should expect from the tour. The first part is tricky. It’s one of those questions you’re not quite sure how to answer. Seeing as I write about food and travel for a living, I’d have to say it’s an integral part of me. It’s a world I find exciting and intriguing and one that is constantly evolving.
People travel for leisure, to take their mind off things, but most travel to discover, explore and learn more about new places and people. It is easy to read up about a city or country through a travel-friendly guide book but I find that some of the most interesting stories come alive on a plate. I love meeting locals and striking up a conversation,( not always is it easy especially if they are wary), but I find if you ask a local about where to get a good meal he tends to open up and connect immediately, more often offering more information than you expected to learn. Everyone has their secret recipes, their nonnas inventions or dishes that came to life in the most unassuming ways and it’s these food stories that make my travels far more interesting. Everyone is eager to showcase their cuisine and ingredients and take great pride in their food, it’s always during my meals that I tend to learn more about a place and it’s people – just by the way they cook and eat and that’s a treasure I’ll keep travelling for.
What do I know of Portugal? The land of Vasco da Gama, the great conquerors that left their Portuguese influence all over( especially in Goa India where almost everyone still speaks fluent Portuguese ), their gorgeous football team with delicious eye candy, their love for seafood and copious amounts of wine that is drunk with it – basically not a lot. My knowledge and understanding of Portuguese food is limited to peri peri sauce, rissois, which I recently learnt how to make and of course vindaloo, which I know isn’t a Portuguese dish but is heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine. What I am hoping will happen through this food tour, is not only will I get to experience new flavours, textures and food that I’m not familiar with or have probably never tasted before, but I’ll have a better understanding of the country and its people. A better understanding of the cuisine, and of course I’ll be able it to share it with everyone.
I’ve heard wonderful tales of Portugal through two well-known writers and photographers, Nelson Carvalheiro, who is my one-stop-shop on everything about Portugal and the first person I think of whenever I come across anything Portuguese, and of course the very talented Emanuele Siracusa who’s based in Lisbon and constantly shares the most beautiful pictures on his blog making me wish I was in Portugal.
Here’s hoping I can join these two lads in the country they love so much and enjoy everything Portugal has to offer! After all nothing excites The Tiny Taster more than travelling for food !! To know more about the contest check out this link