Contemporary Portuguese cuisine has its roots in hearty traditional meals made for generations of farm workers who spent long, hard days out in the sun. This half-day cooking course introduces you to the range and depth of tastes and aromas eked out from simple ingredients using traditional techniques. You’ll visit a bucolic family home in the countryside, where you’ll get hands-on as you help to cook a four-course meal. During your time, you’ll enjoy traditional appetizers, tour the farm estate and get a step closer to Portugal’s people and traditions.
Your private driver will pick you up from your hotel to take you directly into the countryside to the rural home where you’ll take your cooking class. Once you arrive, you’ll meet your host and chef for the day.
After a brief introduction over a selection of the estate’s own wine and cheese, you’ll begin preparing the meal with fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden and learn a little about traditional ingredients used in Portuguese cuisine.
Your host will explain how Portuguese food has changed over the years and remains hearty and rich, a reflection of its function in simpler days, even though fewer people are out working in the fields.
You then head back into the kitchen to get hands-on and start preparing a typical Portuguese four-course meal. Your host will describe traditional cooking techniques, guide you as you prepare vegetables and introduce you to some pesticos (traditional small plates) and local wines.
The menu itself will vary and can be adjusted to accommodate dietary needs, but it focuses on authentic local dishes such as caldo verde (kale soup) and chicken pie cooked in a traditional way.
Throughout the lesson, you’ll hear stories about life in the countryside. Once you’ve finished preparing the meal, you’ll sit down with your host to enjoy what you’ve made, either in the rose garden dining room or the courtyard with mountain views.
You’ll finish with a tour of the family estate, taking in the hedge mazes and potentially a visit to the family’s two black swans. At the end of the class, your driver will take you back to your hotel.