• Portuguese Tapas

    An Introduction to Portuguese Food

    If you’re heading to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal</a>, be prepared to eat, and eat well. Spain’s neighbor is moving out from under that country’s culinary shadow and is rapidly becoming a favorite of globe-trotting foodies. Portuguese cuisine reflects its dominant coastline—seafood is front and center, and fish pulled from Portugal’s Atlantic waters are considered to be among the best in the world. And while you might not be familiar with Portuguese, Portugal’s seafaring past has influenced the cooking of <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/africa/" target="_blank">Africa</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/latin-america-tours/" target="_blank">South America</a> and even <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/asiapacific/" target="_blank">Asia</a>! (The technique of making tempura, for example, is believed to have been introduced to Japan by Portuguese seafaring merchants and missionaries.) Here’s a look at what makes Portuguese food so unique.<br><br><b>Portuguese Seafood: Fresh…</b><br>Cutting into a tuna steak that came out of the sea a few hours ago is something that Portuguese locals take for granted—and often insist upon. Fresh fish, from tiny sardines to massive yellowfin tuna, is a favorite here. If it lives in the sea, chances are the Portuguese have found a way to eat it. Squid, octopus, clams, mussels, oysters, crab—all can be found on Portuguese menus. In fact, the Portuguese are the world’s third largest consumers of seafood, behind <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Japan </a>and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a>.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EjSg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015tjR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>…And Salted.</b><br>Cod is king here, but it’s not like the breaded and fried version (served with fries, of course) most of us tend to order. The Portuguese love bacalhau, which has a double meaning: it’s the Portuguese word for cod, and it’s also what the Portuguese call their salted and dried version of the fish. The Portuguese say there are 365 ways to prepare bacalhau—one for each day of the year—and depending on whom you ask, there are dozens, even hundreds more bacalhau recipes than that. Salt cod might not be high on your list of things to eat, but no trip to Portugal is complete without giving it a try. And with all of those ways to serve it, there’s gotta be one you’ll like!<br><br><b>Portugal? More Like PORK-</b><b>tugal</b><b>.</b><br>Almost as popular as seafood is pork, or ham, or really, any part of the pig. Presunto is a cured ham made from semi-wild roaming black pigs. Whole-roasted suckling pigs are a mainstay in small towns and villages across the country; leitão da bairrada or leitão assado is a popular method of preparation, in which the suckling pig is slathered in a paste of garlic, black pepper, olive oil and butter then spit-roasted. The Portuguese aren’t shy about using the whole hog: the signature dish of Porto is tripas à moda do Porto, a stew made with pig’s ears, along with calves’ feet, tripe and beans. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EjSg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015tjW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Speaking of Portuguese Stews…</b><br>If Portugal has a national dish, it would be cozido. It’s a one-pot boiled feast that’s often served as the mid-day meal when families are gathered together. The components of cozido will vary from region to region, but there are some constants: cabbage, root vegetables such as turnips and carrots, potatoes and various forms of Portuguese sausage, from chouriço (the Portuguese version of Spain’s chorizo) to blood pudding. Proteins can include chicken, beef and pork. The method of cooking cozido on the island of São Miguel in the Azores is truly unique: big sealed pots of cozido are placed in a hot spring heated by the local volcano, where they slow-cook for several hours.<br><br><b>And Of Course, The Port.</b><br>A Portuguese meal wouldn’t be complete without a bit of the country’s famed namesake, port wine. Authentic “<a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Porto</a>” is made from grapes grown in the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Douro Valley</a>, and it&#39;s most often served after a meal—try it with Portugal’s São Jorge strong cow&#39;s milk cheese. But you don’t have to save your Port for dessert. Tawny and even white Ports are often served as an aperitif.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002EjSg&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000015tjb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><br>We’ve only scratched the surface of Portuguese food here—for example, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal </a>is Europe’s largest consumer of rice, so you’ll find dozens of fantastic rice-based dishes. And for the really adventurous eater, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal </a>offers foods that at first glance look like a dare, but are beloved by the locals. (Roasted pig’s head, anyone? How about a fresh lamprey?) Whatever your tastes, you’ll find lots to love on a Portuguese menu. Bom apetite!<br><br><br><br><br><br><br><br><i><b>A little about the author: </b></i><br>Jason Avant is a freelance writer based in Carlsbad, California. An avid surfer, hiker, and backpacker, his outdoor passions fuel his love of adventure travel. He’s traveled extensively across the U.S., including three years spent in Alaska; he’s also journeyed through Mexico, Costa Rica, France and Italy.<br> 

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  • Japanese lanterns

    5 Foods You Must Eat While in Japan

    <p>Undoubtedly, one of the most popular reasons people visit <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank">Japan</a> is for its layered, long-standing and completely delicious food culture. In the United States, we get access to some of it, primarily through sushi, but the truth is that there’s a culinary world that can only be experienced by visiting the country itself. Here are five foods you have to try while in Japan.<br> </p> <p><b>1. Sushi/Sashimi</b></p> <p>Chances are most of you have eaten sushi in the past, but you’ve never truly eaten sushi until you’ve done so in Japan. The craft is truly an art form--something that must be studied, apprenticed and practiced many times over before any sushi chef can take the reins themselves. Everything--from the fish’s texture to the thickness of the cut--is performed with exacting precision. You’ve likely eaten sushi many times at home, so it only makes sense to head to the source to see how the masters perform their craft.<br><br><img alt="Japanese sushi and sashimi" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIY" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>2. Ramen</b></p> <p>Depending on where you call home, it wouldn’t be surprising if you’ve dug into a savory bowl of ramen or two. The traditional serving is comprised of noodles, pork broth, thinly sliced pork, and usually accompanied by scallions, a soft-boiled egg and other accoutrements. Japanese ramen chefs also like to turn up the bells and whistles, with different kinds of ramen to satisfy different needs. Do you have a soft spot for chicken katsu? There&#39;s a ramen for that. Prefer chicken broth to pork? They’ve got you covered. Enjoy a good curry? There’s a ramen for that, too. There are other different broth bases, too--soy, salt and many other kinds of permutations. No matter the day or weather, ramen is sure to please.<br><br><img alt="Traditional Japanese ramen" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYId" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>3. Yakitori</b></p> <p>A favorite of revelers and beer drinkers, yakitori is as much of a social event as it is a grilling bonanza. Chicken is often the star of yakitori joints, called Izakayas, which serve a variety of other small plates, too, akin to tapas. There other grilled delights that can be served as yakitori such as duck, eggs, okra, beef and anything else that can possibly be skewered.<br><br><img alt="Japanese yakitori chicken" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIi" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>4. Okonomiyaki</b></p> <p>With its base including eggs and tempura flakes, okonomiyaki are savory, flour-based pancakes that are prepared on a griddle and served with a variety of ingredients. Think pork, cabbage, cheese, and even caviar, along with vegetables griddled and topped with mayonnaise, sweet sauce and dried tuna flakes, called bonito.<br><br><img alt="Traditional Japanese pancake - okonomiyaki" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIn" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <p><b>5. Gyoza</b></p> <p>Another quintessential Japanese dish is gyoza. As popular in Japan as ramen, this traditional pan-fried dumpling is a staple of Japanese cuisine. Wrapped neatly in a tasty, and convenient, bite-sized package, the gyoza is fried first to achieve a crispy brown bottom and sides, before being steamed to achieve the perfect balance in opposing textures. With both vegetable and meat options, the gyoza is sure to please all parties involved.<br><br><img alt="Japanese gyoza dumpling" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001Y4Oc&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000oYIs" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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  • Outdoor Terrace at Villa in Tuscany

    5 Romantic Destinations to Inspire Your Next Vacation

    <p>Valentine’s Day may be over, but we are still feeling the love! Here are five of our favorite romantic travel destinations.<br> </p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">5.) THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS</a></h3> <p>Heather-covered moors, ruined castles and unspoiled nature… the Scottish Highlands are straight out of a fairy tale.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/scotland/" target="_blank">Scotland Cultural Walking Adventure</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> Stroll through the iconic ruins of Urquhart castle, taste single malt whisky at an acclaimed distillery, and glide between highland mountains on the waters of Loch Ness. Throughout, you’ll spend your nights in lovely country house hotels, and enjoy a wide range of walks from canal towpaths to Edinburgh’s lively High Street.<br><img alt="Man drinking whiskey in Scotland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSb" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi-tours/" target="_blank">4.) POSITANO</a></h3> <p>“Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone.” John Steinbeck’s essay on Positano was written in May of 1953, but his description holds true today. Breezy Seaside paths encourage a nice slow pace for absorbing the atmosphere or marveling at the gravity defiant cliffside villages.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalfi/" target="_blank">Amalfi Coast &amp; Capri Cultural Walking Adventure</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalficulinary/" target="_blank">Amalfi Al Buon Gusto</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> It’s truly hard to top the magnificent views and the sensation you’ll experience from exploring the country’s most picturesque region! With Classic Journeys, you will view the 14th-century monastery atop Monte Solaro in the island of Capri, stroll through Positano as the sun sets and take part in a medieval paper making demonstration. This trip will be sure to take your breath away.<br><img alt="Positano, Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSl" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank">3.) MERZOUGA</a></h3> <p>The sunset stretches on forever over waves of red sand. Lanterns cast a magical glow around a quaint desert encampment and cumin-scented stew simmers over a campfire. A night in Merzouga is the epitome of romantic adventure.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco/" target="_blank">Morocco Cultural Walking Adventure</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> For those with more of the zest for adventure, our Morocco tours will be sure to impress. Explore the labyrinthine 9th century Medina in Fès, take a sunset camel ride across 1,000-foot-high sand dunes in Merzouga and shop the world-famous souks of Marrakesh.</p> <h3><img alt="Photographer in Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSq" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></h3> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">2.) ST. EMILION</a></h3> <p>This is Southern France at its best. The picturesque town is also a World Heritage site and renowned for red Bordeaux wines (The Romans first planted vines here in the 2nd century). It is a perfect place to spend the day as you <i>sirote et saveur</i> or “sip and savor” your way through this enchanting region.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/bordeaux/" target="_blank">Bordeaux &amp; Dordogne Cultural Walking Adventure</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> Be transported into the romance of the Middle Ages as you stroll through Bordeaux’s centuries-old flinty vineyards, limestone caves, and fortified villages.</p> <h3><img alt="Saint Emilion, France" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lSv" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></h3> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany-tours/" target="_blank">1.) TUSCANY</a></h3> <p>Classic, eternal and the ultimate romantic destination! Tuscany will steal your heart as well as your stomach. We’re only half-joking when we argue that the landmarks of Florence, Siena and Tuscany’s gorgeous hilltowns barely distract us from the wonderful food of the region.</p> <p><b>How to go:</b> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">A Taste of Tuscany,</a> <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscany/" target="_blank">Tuscany &amp; the Cinque Terre</a><br><b>Trip Highlights:</b> On our Taste of Tuscany tour, you will sample wines and olive oil, visit cheese makers and experience firsthand how Italians cook and eat at home.<br><img alt="Tuscany, Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7ky&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002lT0" style="height: 345px; width: 500px;"></img></p>

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