I always love exploring a new culture through their food, and that was one of the things I was most excited about doing in Portugal. When I think of Portuguese food, I think of fresh seafood, piri-piri, and Iberian ham. And all of those were things we’ve been enjoying since we’ve been here. But we knew we wanted to dig in a little deeper, and so Jonah booked us a tour with Lazy Flavors.
One of the places I kept reading about in my research of Lisbon was the newly refurbished Mercado da Ribeira, aka Time Out Market Lisboa, so we decided to tour the market with Mariana of Lazy Flavors. The market is one of the oldest in the city, and has been rebuilt and expanded multiple times. But in 2014, it was bought by Time Out with a new concept in mind: keep half of it as a produce, meat, and fish market, and open the other half as a dining hall. They invited in some of the top chefs from around the country, some amazing shops, a bar, and more to offer a huge range of classic and contemporary Portuguese food.
We started our tour walking through the market side, and Mariana talked about some traditional dishes and ingredients in Portuguese food. We scoped out new kinds of seafood, talked to a butcher who has been in this market for 60 years, and learned about a traditional sausage called alheira. Alheira was invented by the Jews of Portugal who were given the choice in the 15th century to either leave the country or convert to Christianity. Many of them supposedly converted, but secretly maintained their Jewish religious practice, which included not eating pork. In order to hide the fact that they hadn’t actually converted, they openly made sausage, but stuffed it with game or poultry and bread instead of pork.