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Bacalhau, sardinhas, feijoada and pastéis: Portugal is famous for its delectable cuisine. This is the perfect excuse to turn your weekend in Lisbon into a culinary expedition, with a visit to a 19th-century food market on Friday, a gourmet tour on Saturday and a Portuguese cooking lesson and culinary feast on Sunday. Just add a bottle of vinho verde and you are all set. Bom proveito!
Each region of the country has its own traditional local dishes. The capital boasts numerous hip restaurants and antique taverns that serve a great variety of Portuguese dishes. Lisbon also produces the most delicious pastry in the world, the pastel de nata. Droves of gourmands make the pilgrimage to the Fábrica dos Pastéis in Belém, the only facility that possesses the authentic 19th-century recipe for this famous flambéed cream pastry. And that is just one of the many destinations on a lengthy list of culinary hotspots.
Built in 1882, the elegant Mercado da Ribeira stands right across from the Cais do Sodré train station. Lisbon’s largest food market is a paradise for gourmands. Browse the stalls for salted cod, live octopus and tiny snails in large nets - all the ingredients for a delicious meal can be found here. In the afternoon and evening you can also sample various dishes as dozens of stands serve up their specialties. There is plenty of room under the wrought-iron roof with 500 seats inside and another 250 seats on the patio.
Mercado da Ribeira, Avenida 24 de Julho 49, Cais do Sodré, Lisbon
is more expensive than the competition, but one of their culinary tours of Lisbon takes visitors off the beaten track to the multicultural neighbourhood of Mouraria. In groups of no more than 10 people, you will enjoy a 3.5 hour walking tour through winding alleys, steps and narrow streets, guided by a knowledgeable local. The tour will stop at 6 different delis, restaurants and tascas to sample local specialties and Portuguese wines. Get ready for a long and enjoyable walking lunch. This culinary tour costs 56 euro, including food and beverages.
“Learn the secrets of Portuguese cuisine with a cooking class”
If sampling ingredients and tasting local dishes has whetted your appetite for learning how to prepare typical Portuguese delicacies, consider taking one of the many cooking classes on offer in Lisbon. Try Cooking Lisbon, where a group of up to 14 people learns how to prepare a traditional 3-course meal using only fresh ingredients. The cooking class runs from 6:00-10:00 pm. After preparing all the food, the group sits down to eat their creations with a good glass of wine. This costs 65 euro, including food and beverages.