The Traditional Menus of the Christmas Season in Portugal
Undoubtedly, Christmas is the time of year when we are with the people we love the most. It's a season marked by the bustle of company events, family and friends’ dinners. However, as this festive season approaches, it is inevitable that the topic of what to prepare to welcome our dearest ones does not come up.
In Portugal, cod and turkey are the kings of the table during the Christmas season. However, the menu does not rely only on these specialities. Through a journey into the traditional Christmas recipes from each part of the country, get to know the wide range of options.
Cod, typically called "faithful friend", appears in several versions and is the most unanimous dish at the Portuguese Christmas dinner table. In its most traditional version – ‘bacalhau com todos’ (codfish with all) - it is served boiled, accompanied by various vegetables and egg and drizzled with olive oil. However, more elaborate versions have been conquering the Portuguese table, where the cod is baked or fried, just like in Trás-os-Montes.
Also, for Christmas Eve, but with less importance, there are those who prefer octopus, roast turkey, or rooster of cabidela, in the case of the Algarve. In the insular regions of Portugal, it is common practice to find chicken broth with rice or the typical ‘espetadas’ from Madeira (succulent cubes of beef grilled on a skewer.
It is at Christmas lunchtime that meat is the most popular, especially stuffed and oven-roasted turkey. However, there are other options on the table in the various areas of the country. In the Azores, they choose oven-roasted chicken. In the Alentejo, roast cockerel and roast lamb are the favourites. The heart of the Algarvians is won over by leg of lamb or suckling pig. In Beira Interior and Litoral and in the Douro region, roast kid with roast potatoes will not go unnoticed. In Trás-os-Montes, the choice is between lamb and mutton. In Madeira, the Carne Vinha e Alhos is the favourite - although this is a difficult delicacy as the meat needs to marinate for at least three days.
On the other hand, eschewing meat dishes, the tradition of reusing the leftovers of the 'bacalhau com todos' from the previous day and turning them into a dish called "roupa velha” (old clothes) or "trapo velho” (old rag) is also common. In this way, waste is avoided and the preparation time for Christmas lunch is reduced.
A meal is not only made of main courses. The magic of Christmas is also characterized by the flavours that sweeten our mouths. We are talking about the mythical "sonhos", the "Bolo Rei", the "rabanadas", the "filhoses", the "arroz-doce", the "pão de ló", the "leite creme" or the traditional Madeira honey cake. If you are visiting Portugal during the Christmas season, you must try at least one of these Christmas sweets.
When we talk about socializing, we also think about the drinks that accompany us in these moments. At Christmas, homemade liqueurs, brandy, and Port Wine are the main choices. However, in the Northern region, people still say that Christmas Supper is no supper if there is no warm red wine flavoured with a cinnamon stick or wine soups.
If you are already worried just thinking about what you are going to prepare for the Christmas season, rest assured. There are a few options to avoid this turmoil between pots and pans and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Imagine a Christmas where all you have to do is enjoy what is prepared for you. Does that sound good to you?
Christmas at Dom Pedro Hotels
This is where Dom Pedro Hotels comes in. With options for Christmas Dinner and Lunch, both in the Algarve and Lisbon.
If you plan to spend Christmas dinner in Lisbon, you can choose between the Il Gattopardo Restaurant and the Bistrot Le Café of the Dom Pedro Lisboa Hotel. If you plan to spend Christmas dinner in Algarve, we suggest Restaurant Oliva in Hotel Dom Pedro Vilamoura. If you are looking for places for Christmas lunch on the 25th of December, Bistrot Le Café and Restaurant Oliva could be the solution!
There are several Christmas menus available in our hotels, from 55€ per adult, with buffet options. Children aged between 4 and 12 enjoy a 50% discount. Children up to the age of 3 have no associated costs. If you are a member of the Dom Pedro Club Card, you can also enjoy a 10% discount on your Christmas reservation.