It’s probably all the Portuguese language classes, but I’m reminded on a fairly regular basis — OK, daily — how quickly my memory is eroding now that I’m in my 40s. I look at the columns of grammar-related matrices, the scores of Portuguese vocabulary words that haven’t found their way to a permanent spot in my brain’s filing system, and I wonder how long it will take me to remember them all. And then, once memorized, how and when to use these words, in the correct order.
However, when it comes to food I never forget a flavour or a smell. If I could somehow bottle that powerful association, I would apply it to grammar and vocabulary. Maybe I should write verb conjugations in my food?? Until I figure it out, I know I should write more about these stages in my expat life so I can read these lists five years down the road and laugh at myself. I also fully expect that my list of favourite Portuguese foods will change as I discover new things. For now, one year in, these are the Portuguese dishes that tickle my fancy the most, in no particular order:
My love for bolo de bolacha (cookie cake) is well-documented, because the variations to this dessert are endless. I’ve had some excellent ones, and I’ve had some forgettable ones. It’s a rather complicated cake, and easy to mess up: some are too dry, too sweet, the cookies don’t have the right texture, the cream tastes artificial, or someone had the bright idea to put sprinkles on top instead of nuts. I’ve tried so many different bolo de bolachas I’ve stopped taking photos of them all, because that just gets boring. Now, I just photograph the ones I really like or are unique in some way, and the one above fit both criteria — the hit of cherry sauce on top was better than any icing! We passed by Régua since then, and all I could think about was that bolo de bolacha!
I’ve had a thing for alheiras since the first time I tried them, and my favourite is still the piquante (spicy) version — no surprise there.
I know this isn’t food, but I have to give a shout out to the Portuguese for their high standards of coffee. I have never had a bad cup of coffee in Portugal yet. Extra points for serving it up on the beach!
More Portuguese food pictures here: http://www.pinterest.com/gailatlarge/portuguese-food-drink/