Portuguese Wine with Ethnic Foods
In part one of the two-part series, I shared food and wine pairings of Portuguese/Portuguese-inspired foods with Portuguese wine. When Portugal explorers were among the greatest sailors on the seas, they heavily influenced some of the foods of Brazil.
In the second part of these series, I’ll show how the great Portuguese mariners of the time left their mark on other country’s foods. Some of the places will surely shock you. And lastly, you’ll learn how to pair Portuguese wines with various ethnic foods that you probably enjoy on a regular basis. So, read on.
Indian Dishes with a Portuguese History
Would you be surprised to learn that Portuguese explorer Vasco da Dama was the first European to reach India? A feat Columbus failed to achieve. Wonk, wonk. Upon reaching India, a well-traveled spice trade was formed. Beginning in the 1500s, Portugal introduced several spices such as chili peppers and garlic, as well as vinegar to the Indian culture.
Indian foods such as oranges were brought back to Europe by Portuguese traders. The inclusion of potatoes, pineapples and tomatoes to curry dishes traces back to Portuguese influences. Portuguese wines make beautifully delicious pairing choices for these well-seasoned foods.
Here are some Portuguese wines I had with Indian dishes:
- 2013 Passaros Loureiro Vinho Verde, Anselmo Mendes
- 2012 Arca Nova Alvarinho, Quinta das Arcas
- 2011 Contraste Branco, Conceito Vinhos
Is Sushi from Portugal?
Portugal has influenced many foods of Japan also. Who knew? Portuguese traders are credited with founding the Japanese city of Nakasaki during the latter half of the 16th century. Portugal claims sushi is derived from a recipe they brought to the islands. Also, the Japanese dish Nanban-gashi was made possible by the refined sugar brought in by Portuguese and Spanish traders.
During the trading years, Japanese lords developed a sweet tooth that was satisfied by sugary treats. Many of the desserts enjoyed by the Japanese today including kompeito candy, kasutera sponge cake, and keiran somen got their start in the mid-16th century. The Portuguese get some of the credit.
And of course, wine was introduced during these voyages, typically as a gift to warring lords. The Japanese referred to Portuguese wine as “chintashu“. The word is a combination of the Japanese word for red, chinta. In Portuguese, tinto means red. Shu means liquor in Japanese.
Here are some Portuguese wines I had with Japanese dishes:
- Duas Castas Branco, Herdade do Esporão
Here are some Portugal wines that pair well with ethnic foods:
Food: Indian Cuisine
Wine: Alvarinho. Why? Its full body holds up to the sauces commonly found in curry.
Food: Capri Salads, Chicken with a Lemon Sauce
Wine: Vinho Verde. Why? The high acidity of the wine brings balance to the meal and the lemon sauce complements the crispness of the wine.
Food: Tuna, Seafood in a Red Sauce
Wine: Baga. Yes, you can pair fish and other seafood with red wines. Why? The high acidity and strong tannins meld well with the texture and fattiness.
It used to be much easier to pair wine and foods. Nowadays, with the influx of so many cultures’ foods, pairing is more difficult but the reward of these multi-ethnic dishes is we get to drink so many types and styles of wine when we eat them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see this as a problem. I’m loving it!