The Douro River weaves through the fertile landscapes of Portugal’s mountainous north, passing towns and villages untouched by the passage of time. Here, local people stay true to a traditional way of life, and one that values an authentic and time-honoured approach to regional cuisine.
Port wine may be the greatest export of the Douro Valley, but the locals treasure their food, too. This rural region is rich with provincial farmsteads offering fresh produce at the roadside, and many people rely on these farmers, shepherds and artisans to enjoy fresh, local food each day.
As well as these regional producers, the native cuisine of the Douro is still heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. In fishing villages like Afurada and Angeiras, local fisherman can still be seen gathering their day’s catch, with hauls of sardines, mackerel, tuna, hake and bacalhau (cod) making their way to the food and produce markets of Porto and Regua.
Here at Emerald Cruises, we believe a region’s culinary legacy can reveal lots about its culture, traditions and way of life. We also know that, for many of our guests, sampling local food is one of the great joys of a luxury river cruise. So, with this in mind, here we take a tour of the Douro in five delicious recipes — providing step-by-step instructions so you can recreate each dish at home.
Originating from the Beira Litoral Province of the Douro Valley in the 19th century, Chanfana is a Portuguese stew comprising of roasted goat, bacon, vegetables and typical Portuguese seasonings like paprika, bay leaves and ground black pepper.
Legend has it, Chanfana was created during the French conquest of Portugal in 1810, when local people were forced to eat old goats after their livestock was pillaged by the invaders. To ensure the meat was tender, it was braised in a red wine broth with herbs, spices and vegetables for several hours before serving.
Today, Chanfana is enjoyed across Portugal but remains a typical dish of the Douro Valley, where it’s traditionally served in a clay pot from Olho Marinho. Our recipe follows the traditional version of the dish, but you can add or remove certain elements to suit your tastes.
Serves: 8. Prep Time: 30 Mins. Cook Time: 4 Hours.