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Setúbal Gastronomy

To enjoy the Setúbal Peninsula wines to their fullest, there is a wide variety of gastronomic specialties to choose from in the region to pair with the wines. With the Atlantic Ocean and the Tagus and Sado River estuaries framing a large part of the region, it is of no surprise to the abundance of fish and seafood dishes that the region has to offer. Many towns and villages have their own traditional dishes, with the fishing towns of Sesimbra and Sines in particular, contributing to this large variety of fish and seafood.

Setúbal, the fishing city famous for its sardines, was recognized for its unique quality in 2011, when the Grilled Sardine of Setúbal was voted as one of the "7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy". But when it comes to


grilled fish, you cannot forget the other famous ones such as carapaus manteiga (butter makerel), peixe-espada (scabbard fish/Atlantic cutlassfish), besugos (red sea bream), douradas (gilthead bream), robalos (seabass), sargos (white sea bream), linguado (sole), cherne (Atlantic wreckfish or stonebass) and garoupa (grouper).
Just as known as the grilled fish, are other fish and seafood dishes such as caldeirada- the "stew of the sea", salmonetes à Setubalense (red mullet Setúbalense style), choco frito (fried cuttlefish) and feijoadas (bean stews) and saladas (salads) made with choco (cuttlefish) and polvo (octopus), massadas de peixe (fish stews with pasta). And we cannot forget the local eel, which is prepared in stews as well as caldeiradas or just simply fried to the delight of gourmets. Several restaurants in the area have chosen a "flagship" house dish, and Montijo, specifically the town of Lançada, is the birthplace of one of the gastronomic "Cathedrals" of the Setúbal Peninsula: the "Casa das Enguias" ("House of the Eels").

 
 

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Traditional Dishes

the other famous ones such as carapaus manteiga (butter makerel), peixe-espada (scabbard fish/Atlantic cutlassfish), besugos (red sea bream), douradas (gilthead bream), robalos (seabass), sargos (white sea bream), linguado (sole), cherne (Atlantic wreckfish or stonebass) and garoupa (grouper).
Just as known as the grilled fish, are other fish and seafood dishes such as caldeirada- the "stew of the sea", salmonetes à Setubalense (red mullet Setúbalense style), choco frito (fried cuttlefish) and feijoadas (bean stews) and saladas (salads) made with choco (cuttlefish) and polvo (octopus), massadas de peixe (fish stews with pasta). And we cannot forget the local eel, which is prepared in stews as well as caldeiradas or just simply fried to the delight of gourmets. Several restaurants in the area have chosen a "flagship" house dish, and Montijo, specifically the town of Lançada, is the birthplace of one of the gastronomic "Cathedrals" of the Setúbal Peninsula: the "Casa das Enguias" ("House of the Eels").

With meat dishes, there is no lack of variety, for in the municipalities integrated in the Setúbal Peninsula, you can find many different specialities, such as cabidela de galinha (chicken stewed with its own blood with rice), arroz pato (baked duck with rice and sausage), cordoniz (quail), ensopado de borrego (lamb stew), coelho com feijão encarnado (rabbit with red beans), lombinhos de porco com açorda (pork medallions with "bread soup"), entrecosto com migas (pork ribs with "bread stuffing"), a good cozido á portuguesa (Portuguese stew) and salsichas frescas à montijense (fresh sausages Montijo style), among others.

 

As side dishes there is profusion of fresh vegetables and salads, as the coolness of the humid land close to the Sado River estuary favors vegetable production.

Those who want to visit us must taste the acclaimed Setúbal orange and the typical striped Palmela apple.

It is said that one of the Portuguese national petiscos (small appetizer plates), caracois (snails) was started in the Setúbal Peninsula. If the history of the snail as a Portuguese delicacy could be traced back, it would be reckoned that the general consumption of this dish was spread from Setúbal to the rest of the country.
 
 

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Regional Products

The cheeses from this region are mostly sheep based, and have its major recognition in the delicious DOP Azeitão cheese. Despite the fondness of the Azeitão cheese, it should not belittle the Saloio cheese, which is also a sheep based cheese that can be found in the region.
Besides the Queijo de Azeitão, the sheep butter and rustic bread baked in a wood-burning oven are also known regional products.
When it comes to sweets, this is one of the most acclaimed regions in Portugal. The tradition and diversity of Setúbal orange based sweets, was almost lost in time but nowadays is coming back and a traditional orange sweet that was recently reintroduced was the São Filipe, a refined and delicious pastry which besides orange, other local components are included in the recipe.



The town of Azeitão boasts its delicious namesake Tortas, Amores and Esses pastries, along with the egg and almond Queijinhos (the pastry is in a cheese format).

From Montijo (former Aldeia Galega do Ribatejoup to 1930) you can find the delicious bolhinhos de amendoa (almond) and gila (a type of pumpkin) cookies, the Queijadinhas de Leite (milk pastries), Pudim de Vinagre (Vinegar pudding) and Bolo de Milho (corn based cake).
Palmela contributes with the Santiagos, Palmelenses, Queijadas de Requijão tarts, the Arroz Doce (rice pudding) with sheeps' milk and the fogaças cookies.
 
From Alcácer do Sal come the pinhoadas com mel (popular sweet with pine nuts and honey) along with other pine nut and sweet potato sweets.

 
 

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Wine Pairing


 
 
The great diversity and quality of the grape varieties that can be used in the production of these wines enables the creation of quality regional wines with distinct characteristics that fulfill a large range of consumer preferences.
 
Whites and Rosés


The white and rose wines from the Setúbal Peninsula have an expressive aroma, with a good structure that is elegant and fruity. They are ideal for aromatic fish or shellfish dishes, such as the caldeirada (fish stew) and rices and pastas all well-seasoned with traditional Portuguese herbs. These wines go quite well with ethnic food, such as Italian.
 
 
 

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Red Wines

The Setúbal reds are commonly rich, with an intense color, a full aroma with round and mature tannins, thus making them quite appealing. These wines have a charm of their own and are ideal for a lounging conversation, for finger food or any type of meat or fatty fish and most cheeses.
 
 
 

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Fortified Wines, Moscatel de Setúbal and Moscatel Roxo 

The Moscatel de Setúbal is a centenary Denomination of Origin, and these wines are some of the most prestigious Portuguese fortified wines, well known outside of Portugal. The first international distinction occurred in 1855 at the Paris Universal Exposition, when the Moscatel de Setúbal from José Maria da Fonseca was distinguished with a gold medal.

The Moscatel Roxo has a more limited production, hence being less known than the white but nevertheless is no less appreciated. Ferreira da Lapa in 1875 called it "the Fifth Essence of the Moscatel wines".


Delight yourself with a young Moscatel de Setúbal while tasting some petiscos (Portugal's version of tapas, small appetizer plates). You may also appreciate having an aged Moscatel de Setúbal or Moscatel Roxo with sweets and cheese.