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Pairing Wines with Portugal’s Faithful Friend: Bacalhau

Editor’s note: In 2009, Catavino contributor Andrea Smith dove into the origins, popularity and over-fishing of cod fish or “Bacalhau” in my native Portuguese. Today, I pick up where Andrea left off with a greater focus on how to prepare the dry, salted version of this flavorful fish, featuring four dishes and a few wines to pair it with. Often referred to as “Rei dos Mares” (King of the Seas), dry, salted cod is quite popular in Mediterranean countries, like Italy and Spain, and especially in Portugal where they boast 1,000 cod fish recipes. Bacalhau or “Fiel Amigo” as the Portuguese nicknamed it meaning faithful friend, picked up in Portugal during the Age of Discovery when navigators took the unrefrigerated […]

4th Annual NY Wine Expo: Taking a Trip through Portugal’s Wine Regions

Letting loose wine lovers in a tasting of the size of the New York Wine Expo is like putting a child in the middle of a candy store. It can get ugly. With exactly 760 wines from nearly 200 wineries from around the world, the three-day 4th Annual New York Wine Expo at the Javits Center was packed with folks hungry (thirsty really) for new wine discoveries. My modus operandi for the day was to get through as many Portuguese wines on the floor as possible. There were about 40 tables in the Wines of Portugal section alone, so I had to pace myself. I also decided to skip over some of the wines I’m quite familiar with—and in many […]

Petiscos: The Portuguese Cousin of Spanish Tapas

In the American restaurant scene, the Spanish small plates, “Tapas,” are no conundrum. But say the word “Pinxtos” (generally bread topped with a fish or meat mixture, especially popular in the Basque region of Spain) and you’ll lose a few people. Say the Portuguese word “Petiscos” and you’ll get a whole lot of blank stares. Are they all the same? Yes, kinda. Are they different? Yes, kinda. To make it more confusing, there are several other names by which these “small plate dishes” in Spain are called. But no synonyms for Petiscos come to mind. There certainly are Tapas bars in Portugal, but they’re an adaptation of the Spanish fare and not interchangeable with Petiscos. In America, I have yet […]

Pairing Portuguese Wines with Roasted Fowl

On cold winter evenings there’s nothing more heartwarming for this writer than a chicken roasting in the oven. The scent of herby seasonings enchant my senses and transport me to my mother’s kitchen in New Jersey where she roasts to perfection just as she learned to do back in the Old Country. In America, roasted turkey is considered one of the coziest meals in this country’s culinary repertoire. To meld the flavors of the Old and New worlds in my own kitchen, I need only to turn to my mother, Maria do Ceu, who along with her seven siblings was raised in the sleepy village of Bemposta do Campo in the interior Beira Baixa region of Portugal where roasting in […]

Tawny versus Moscatel: Which Pairs Best with a Classic American Pie?

When Warre’s, one of the great Port wine companies put its Otima 10 bottle on the market, it was targeting a younger crowd with its cleaner and more modern packaging. It apparently worked for this 30-year-old wine drinker, who normally has a soft spot for the ornate, but in this case couldn’t resist how the minimally ornamented bottle allowed the burnt caramel-colored drink to take center stage. Since purchasing my first bottle of the ten-year-old Tawny ($20) four years ago, it’s been a staple of our home bar. However, this toffee-tasting treat shares the shelf with another favorite drink of mine, the Moscatel de Setubal (also in a contemporary bottle) by Bacalhoa ($12). And as if the north and south […]

Vinho Verde Wine Selection Reverts to Regional Portuguese Recipe

I’m pretty certain my father-in-law buys an extra dozen clams just for me each time he whips up his special recipe for the family. It’s not uncommon to catch him staring over at me as I devour mounds of the shellfish and sop up the garlicky sauce with Portuguese rolls. “Soninha,” he says, teasingly. “Come on that’s it? There’s more in the pot.” Without hesitance, I dump more clams and sauce into my bowl and pour another glass of Casal Garcia vinho verde. I can go all night. For 16 years now, my father-in-law (or Mr. Ze as I endearingly call him) has been feeding me his version of the popular Portuguese petisco “Ameijoas a Bulhao Pato” in his Jersey […]

Newark is Home Away From Home to Portuguese Immigrants

New Jersey’s diversity can be found throughout the state in close-knit ethnic communities. Visitors can eat, shop, and partake of their customs. Ferry Street (or Portugal Avenue) in the Ironbound section of Newark is the heart of Portuguese activity in the state. Terracotta-roofed restaurants and cobblestone sidewalks mob this main thoroughfare that embodies the relaxed and romantic appeal of the Mediterranean countries in Europe. For out-of-towners, the Ironbound is the spot to get big portion meals at a bargain price. Iberia and Casa Seabra (formerly Mediterranean Manor) are two of the most visitor-frequented restaurants in town for such deals. But the winning combo is home-style cooking and Portuguese hospitality at the neighborhood favorite Sol Mar Restaurant (Ferry and Niagara streets). […]

Portuguese Traits Distinguish Connecticut Immigrant from Neighboring Vineyards

Editor’s Note: A few month’s ago, we were contacted by a passionate Portuguese emigrant, living in Connecticut, who longed to share stories about the foods, wines and culture of Portugal. And having stumbled across Catavino, she felt it would be the perfect location to place such stories, a request we couldn’t refuse. Sonia Andresson-Nolasco is currently a Senior Writer at Event Marketer magazine. She has worked as a journalist at newspapers and magazines for eight years, and we’re elated to have her contribution! Please give Sonia a very warm welcome, and let’s hope this piece will be the first of many more to come. Amid stainless steel tanks and oak barrels Joe’s white-bearded face lights up as he recalls his […]