Unique food souvenirs you can buy in Lisbon
As the world becomes more and more a global village, you can almost find anything anywhere in the world. This applies even to souvenirs, even though they are supposed to be mementos of one given place.
You could be in Paris and buy a figurine of the Eiffel Tower made in China. You could buy an “I ❤️ Bangkok” sticker printed in Vietnam. Or a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt from a city where the famous chain is not even present. And you’d wonder if any of these objects actually have anything to do with the place you spent time at.
In Lisbon, you’ll find cheap trinkets and non descript souvenirs that were most likely produced in a factory in some other country. Some will be generic while others do embrace local themes like sardines, trams, roosters and so on. But if you’d really like to dazzle friends and family back home, we’d suggest going down a more original route, and choosing edible gifts. Maybe they won’t last as souvenirs forever, but they are very likely to please those on the receiving end.
Rather obvious edible gifts from Portugal would include local wines, like the internationally acclaimed Port and, if the customs on your side of the world allow, perhaps some regional cheeses and charcuterie. Besides these more straightforward options, we would love to recommend you some local and unique Lisbon souvenirs that will bring a taste of Portugal to your folks back home!
These are some of the best edible gifts you can buy in Lisbon:
We are obsessed with sardines around here. So much so that when we’re not eating them fresh during the summer months, or canned during the rest of the year, we are shaping chocolates after the fish so that we can still think of them during sweet indulgent moments. You will come across chocolate sardines in some souvenir stores around Lisbon. This makes for a cute gift as the chocolates are not only shaped as fish, they are also presented inside cans similar to those used to preserve fish. Super colorful and original!
🍫 Buy at: Portugal dos Meus Amores
📍Calçada do Sacramento, 21 1200-393 Lisbon
Apart from chocolate fish, we do indeed have real tinned seafood. The canning industry in Portugal has gained worldwide fame for its high-quality preserves. Forget about the regular canned tuna you’d normally get at the supermarket, and widen your preconceived idea of canned fish visiting one of our speciality stores. Premium fish and seafood are preserved with a variety of flavors, ranging from straightforward olive oil to marinades with herbs or spices. The cans are so artistic and eye-catching that not only is this gift great because of the stuff that comes inside, but also for the decorative potential of the packaging in itself. Chances are you’ll almost feel sorry to open the cans and end up discarding them!
🐟 Buy at: Loja das Conservas
📍Rua do Arsenal 130, 1100-040 Lisbon
In Portugal we love jams! A stereotypical traditional Portuguese grandma would be the one who’d normally make jam at least once a year and supply the entire family with sweet spreads to last for a while. But the truth is that, now-a-days, not everyone makes jam at home. Fortunately, we can still buy great jam from stores that sell these sugary fruit delights in regular jars or, like the brand meia.dúzia® does, in super artistic tubes. The packages are perfect to squeeze and remind us of tubes of paint used by artists. But this is not just a marketing gimmick. Their range of flavors and ingredient combinations are actually special and delectable. Try the Azores pineapple jam with lemongrass, the strawberry jam with Port wine and chili, or the orange jam with Madeira wine. Irresistibly sweet and oh-so-very Portuguese!
🍍Buy at: Good Gourmet
📍Rua 25 de Abril 5 1000-003 Lisbon
Sour cherry biscuits
It takes a simple stroll around downtown Lisbon to come across one of the several stalls selling ginjinha, that is, sour cherry liquor. Served in normal transparent shot glasses or inside an edible chocolate cup, with actual sour cherries served with the liquor, or just the booze straight up, usually costing only 1 euro, this is one of those drinks tourists love to sip when in Lisbon. You might not want to buy a whole bottle of ginjinha to take back home, particularly if you’re not traveling with checked-in luggage, so why not appreciate this sour fruit in the form of cookies? Sour cherry biscuits, known in Portuguese as bolachas de ginja are sweet but with a tangy aftertaste, crunchy and not something you are so likely to come across in many other cities!
🍪 Buy at: A Vida Portuguesa
📍Largo do Intendente Pina Manique 23, 1100-285 Lisbon
Premium Portuguese olive oil
For millennia, olive trees and olive oil have been very characteristic in Portugal. If there is one ingredient that defines the basis of Portuguese cuisine, olive oil would actually be it! Portugal is the 4th European producer and 8th when it comes to world producers of olive oil. But in a country where there are more than 20,000 producers of olive oil making liquid gold with different regional varieties of olives and unique olive blends, how do you know how to select a good bottle of olive oil to take home? We recommend visiting a specialized gourmet store where the staff can recommend a good option according to your taste, purpose or even budget! One thing is for sure: the world of Portuguese olive oils is vast, rich and begging to be explored!
🌱 Buy at: Manteigaria Silva
📍Rua D. Antão de Almada 1 C e D, 1100-197 Lisboa
Seeds of Portuguese fruits
Taking “the gift that keeps on giving” saying quite literally, we think buying seeds of local fruits and vegetables is a truly endearing way to take Portuguese flavors around the world. If you have somewhere you can plant, this is a gift that is sustainable and eco friendly, that needs to be nurtured and cared for and that is definitely out of the ordinary! If you’d like to embrace your gardening side with a Portuguese vibe, try planting seeds for pera rocha, Portuguese pears of the Rocha variety, laranja do Algarve, that is, Algarve oranges, or figs from the Alentejo.
🍐 Buy at: Soares & Rebelo Sementes
📍Rua João das Regras, 3-1º e 2º Dto (Praça da Figueira) 1100-293 Lisbon
Carob seems to be trending in several parts of the world these days. You’ll come across products made of this tasty pod particularly in health stores and specialized superfood suppliers. Here in Portugal, alfarroba has for a long time been popular, particularly in the southern Algarve region where carob trees are abundant. The brown pods are turned into flour and then incorporated into different recipes, such as breads, cakes, spreads or, the easiest to travel with, candy bars. The flavor of this pod is remarkably similar to chocolate but it’s local, more sustainable and perfect for individuals who don’t tolerate the caffeine present in cacao.
🍬 Buy at: Portfolio – Made of Portugal
📍Lisbon Portela Airport, 1700-111 Lisbon
Licor 35 – pastel de nata liquor
After probably indulging on one too many custard tarts in Lisbon, chances are you’ll still feel tempted to bring some back home. If not for yourself, at least for your loved ones. But let’s face it: pastel de nata doesn’t travel that well. Unless you’re going to eat it on the same day when it was baked, you will not experience these flaky tarts as they are meant to be. After a while, the puff pastry will get soggy and half the crunchy fun will be ruined. So, instead of the pastries themselves, we recommend taking home pastel de nata liquor, which you will find under the name Licor 35 Creme de Pastel de Nata. Savor it as a digestive after your meal, with your coffee or mixed into cocktails.
🍮 Buy at: Garrafeira Nacional
📍Rua da Conceição 20, 1100-332 Lisbon
Flor de sal – salt
Yes, you read that right. We do recommend purchasing salt as a souvenir from Portugal. Because if you know about cooking and flavors, you’d know that not all salts are the same. Here in Portugal we love using flor de sal, fleur de sel, to finish off our dishes. This flaky salt is hand-harvested from the top crust formed by evaporating sea water. The flavor is delicate, nuanced and it certainly helps bring the other flavors present in your dish alive!
💦 Buy at: Prado Mercearia
📍Rua Pedras Negras 35, 1100-404 Lisbon
Voucher for a gastronomic experience in Lisbon
This wouldn’t be the kind of gift you take someone back home just for the sake of it. Quite on the contrary, this would mean an invitation to travel, to taste and to experience Lisbon! If you’re considering an edible gift from Lisbon that actually requires being in Lisbon, go for a voucher for a food related experience. We’re talking cultural and food tours just like those we run at Taste of Lisboa, cooking classes to learn how to prepare Portuguese and local traditional dishes or bakery delights like pastel de nata, or even wine tasting sessions to get acquainted with wine regions and Portuguese grape varieties.
🍴 Buy at: Taste of Lisboa
They say memories are the best souvenirs, and we certainly agree. But edible souvenirs come a close second!
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