Olá amigos, Luis here!
Just like here in Jersey, Christmas in Portugal is a time of joy, family gatherings, and, most importantly, delicious food and drinks.
Every year as the festive season approaches, I find myself wanting to share the authentic taste of Portugal's Christmas with local food lovers looking to try something different.
So if you fancy changing up your Christmas eating traditions and trying ours, here’s how.
Bacalhau: The Christmas Eve star
The big Christmas meal usually takes place on Christmas Eve in Portugal, and the star of the show is Bacalhau. This isn't just any fish; it's a symbol of our history and culture. At Divino, we source the finest salted codfish.
Bacalhau de Consoada - a simple dish, where the cod is the real star
The “traditional” way of preparing it is 'Bacalhau da Consoada,' where it's boiled and served with a medley of potatoes, cabbage, and eggs, all layered in fragrant olive oil.
We always say there are 1001 ways to prepare salted cod. My personal favourite for Christmas is ‘Bacalhau com Broa’, a dish made with salted cod, Broa (traditional Portuguese bread) and layers of sliced onion and potatoes.
Meat returns for Christmas Day
As we move to Christmas Day, usually with a sore head, the table is filled with hearty meats and roupa velha, a dish made from Christmas Eve’s leftover Bacalhau.
For me, 'Cabrito Assado,' is the main event! This tender roast lamb is full of deep, rich flavours and marinated in garlic, wine, and aromatic herbs.
Turkey is often served as a cheaper alternative. Portuguese recipes aren’t too far from their British counterparts - but you’ll rarely find an over-cooked brussel sprout!
No Portuguese Christmas is complete without our heavenly sweets. The 'Bolo Rei,' or King Cake, with its crown-like shape and colourful candied fruits, is not just a dessert; it's a piece of our heritage.
Bolo Rei - Portugal’s less heavy answer to Christmas cake
For those that don’t enjoy a heavy dessert, 'Rabanadas,' our own twist on French toast, are irresistible, especially when you add a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar.
And now to get merry!
With all that food, you’ll need something to wash it down with. Ginja, a luscious sour cherry liqueur, will be found on most Portuguese Christmas tables. For me, one sip of Ginja and it tastes like Christmas, whatever the season.
Both Portugal and Madeira are famous for their port and fortified wine, and there’s no better time of year to bring out the rich stuff. We only import the stuff we love to drink and have a huge range of Porto, Madeiran and Moscatel for you to choose from.
Ginja, a sweet cherry flavoured liqueur served in a traditional chocolate cup
And don't forget our sparkling 'Espumante,' a festive bubbly that is perfect for Christmas toasting and a Portuguese twist on bucks fizz.
Bringing Portugal to your Christmas in Jersey
At Divino, it's not just about food and drink; it's about the experience, the tradition, and the memories we help create. This Christmas, as you gather with loved ones, know that each product carries a piece of Portugal's soul and my personal commitment to quality and authenticity.
I hope you’ve found this guide to a genuine Portuguese Christmas helpful and inspiring. It's my pleasure to bring these flavours and stories to your home.
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to try the best of Portugal's Christmas traditions, right here in Jersey!