When the Age of Discoveries initiated about 500 years ago, the phenomena we now know as globalization started taking place. Portugal was one of the nations at the forefront of this exchange of cultures across all corners of the world.
The Portuguese, who first explored the North of Africa, traveled to the Americas and, eventually, onwards to Asia. The Portuguese were responsible for making several far-flung cultures mingle, and with this mix of traditions and ways of life, the way the world now eats changed forever! Until that moment, inhabitants of every part of the world would rely on local ingredients and, for the most part, were even unaware of foods that would grow elsewhere...
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Generally speaking, Portuguese people tend to have a classical mindset when it comes to food. Following the old saying “if something is not broken, why fix it?” we have for years clinged to recipes that have been passed from generation to generation in our families. We have embraced traditional flavors and cooking techniques almost as sacred as magical formulas that shouldn’t be altered.
In the last decade, though, the landscape of Portuguese cuisine has been changing. This is thanks to younger chefs who dare to defy tradition, and also diners who not only are ready to taste something different, but who crave precisely that! This Portuguese food revolution has chef José Avillez as its frontman...
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In Portugal, there are two types of establishment that are more than just places to eat. They are places to meet friends and neighbors, to socialize, to gossip, to analyze last night’s football match, and yes, in good Portuguese fashion, to complain about the weather and the state of the country’s politics. One is the pastelaria (pastry shop), and the other is the mighty tasca.
What started out being a place where workers could warm up their own food, in exchange for buying wine and coffee (they were eager adopters of the Italian espresso machines, in the early 20th Century), developed into a temple of affordable and hearty food, with a homely ambiance to match its tasty eats...
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