Porto’s food scene is filled with sweet/savory treats and traditional goods, where tales and traditions abound. On this 3-hour Porto Food Tour led by a local chef, food writer or food specialist, we will stroll the scenic streets of Porto in order to discover more about the culinary sphere. From historic confeitarias offering the tastiest of sweets to modern venues serving revised interpretations of such traditional food as the francesinha, we’ll savor our way through the city, coming away with a richer understanding of the finer points of Porto’s cuisine. This tour offers a fantastic opportunity to experience the sights, smells, and tastes of gastronomic Porto.
Porto Food Tour
We’ll meet in the historic center and kick off our Porto Food Tour with a local pastry and a coffee. We may start our day with a Jesuíta, a sweet pastry stemming from Santo Tirso, just north of Porto. Originating from the Jesuits (no surprises there), its triangular shape consists of layers of thin, flaky pastry with a splash of egg cream filling, topped with a crispy meringue crust. (For those inclined otherwise, a pastel de nata is never too far away in Portugal). We’ll introduce the theme of the tour from a local setting as we admire locals popping in for their staple morning snacks and a cimbalino (espresso). Our docent will turn to the specifics of how these delicacies are made and the role these traditional spots for locals play today.
Fuelled by a taste of Portuguese sugar, we’ll move onwards through Porto’s streets, teeming with tasty delights. Our Porto Food Tour may take a number of different directions depending on the interests of our group. We may turn our attention to another essential of the Portuguese diet: bifanas. But what are they? Essentially, snack-sized meat sandwiches gobbled up from the north to south of the country. Filled with pork and seasoned with spices and garlic, these bread rolls are a staple of the Portuguese diet. We might visit the home of the Porto bifana—celebrated for its large cauldron brimming with tasty juices for topping these pockets of pork, it’s a good spot to knuckle down with locals. We may step into a traditional delicatessen to see produce and conserves on display; arranged just so, it’s almost museum-like. Our docent will be able to explain the myriad of cans and jars on display and how these play into Portuguese cooking.
From Cod to Francesinha
On subsequent stops on our Porto Food Tour we'll delve deeper into local specialties and Portuguese dining culture, potentially tasting pataniscas de bacalhau (salted cod fritters) and discussing the role of fish in the Portuguese diet. We’ll get a chance to try some francesinha, the typical Porto sandwich inspired by the croque monsieur (it’s said). The dish typically consists of bread and layers upon layers of meat, topped off with melted cheese and swimming in a tomato and beer-based spicy gravy. (A tasty vegetarian equivalent is available). Our docent will talk about the history of this Porto eccentricity as we munch down, possibly finishing off with a sweet treat such as a Portuguese eclair, or by wetting our beaks with glass of Port wine or vinho verde, depending on taste buds.
As we progress through this Porto Food Tour our culinary expert will lead us through the traditional world of Porto cuisine. Our exact presentation and tour of shops will vary depending on the docent and group, creating a unique experience that will leave us with a well-rounded understanding of Portuguese cuisine in general and the unique food culture of Porto.
Can I participate in your small group food tours if I have food allergies?
Yes. If you have any specific allergies/intolerances, please indicate these in the Travel Notes section during booking. Your docent will do his or her best to accommodate, though please note that some shops we visit do use wheat flour and nuts in the kitchen for other items. Again, please make note of any dietary issues. If you are booking privately, we can customize a route that will avoid such items, something that we cannot fully do on our small group walks.
Where do we meet? Where does it end?
The walk begins near the town hall in central Porto, and stays within a relatively concentrated area. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and 24/7 phone number.
Can I do this tour in the afternoon?
For private groups, yes. The content might be a little different but we can adjust. Please note your preferred start time in the travel notes section.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible?
We do cover quite a bit ground on this seminar. Although we have designed it to move generally downhill, Porto is known for being hilly and many of the streets in the old town are cobbled. Some of the shops we visit are small and many will have a step up to access them. Please contact us with any mobility questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you or propose modifications where necessary.
Is this tour appropriate for children?
This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly docent. Please contact us.