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portuguese food


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Portuguese cuisine is characterised by rich, filling and full-flavored dishes and is an example of a Mediterranean cuisine. Mutual influence between Portuguese and Spanish cuisine is common. The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions is also noted, especially in the wide variety of spices used. These spices include piri piri (small, fiery chili peppers) and black pepper, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine both for cooking and flavouring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs such as coriander and parsley. Breakfast is traditionally just coffee and a bread roll. Lunch, often lasting over an hour is served between noon and 2 o'clock or between 1 and 3 o'clock, and dinner is generally served late, around or after 8 o'clock. There are three main courses, lunch and dinner usually include soup. A common soup is caldo verde with potato, shredded cabbage, and chunks of chourico sausage. Among fish recipes, bacalhau (cod) dishes are pervasive. The most typical desserts are rice pudding (decorated with cinnamon) and caramel custard, but they also often include a variety of cheeses. The most common varieties are made from sheep or goat's milk, and include the queijo da serra from the region of Serra da Estrela. Many of the country's typical pastries were created by nuns in the 18th century, which they sold as a means of supplementing their incomes. Many of their creations, often with a high content of eggs and sugar in the composition, have related names like barriga de freira (nun's belly), papos de anjo (angel's chests), and toucinho do cu (bacon from heaven). A popular pastry is the pastel de nata, a small custard tart sprinkled with cinnamon.

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