The Portuguese Saudade: a culinary journey

The Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies presented on 10 May an unprecedented culinary journey as part of its 25th anniversary. Students of the MA in Innovation in Culinary Arts, along with a multidisciplinary team prepared an odyssey of flavors with roots in the traditional Portuguese cuisine. This journey, named the Portuguese Saudade, reflects an experience that involved several areas of knowledge with the same goal: to provide guests a unique journey where the Portuguese cuisine would be reinterpreted, a crossroads of knowledge and flavors, maintaining its identity.
Through the flavors that delighted the palate, as a poem delights the ear, a thoughtful and challenging harmony, the Portuguese Saudade intended to be an odyssey of flavors, textures, colors and aromas. The journey was presented to a group of 12 guests, recognized for their professional merit, the respect they have for the Portuguese cuisine. Thus, they represent key areas to experience: from the academia to the hospitality and industry, through the gastronomic criticism, design and the Arts.
Innovation was focused on traditional flavors’ reinterpretations that feed the memory of the Portuguese people and in ten different times a past with unique flavors was invoked in a challenge that had created expectations and wanted to surprise with the food and techniques used. The sustainability of the project was never forgotten, as well as the importance of pulses as food celebrated by the UN in 2016, which intended to raise awareness.
The designing of the menu, the narrative, the musical composition and the space in a harmonious moment was meant to prize Portuguese roots and products, starting this journey ashore with melon or serrano ham. Moving to high sea, with pork and clams came the reference to the Discovery period and with more or less known flavors the transition from sea to land was made with green beans and cuttlefish tempura and vegetables of the sea. A reference to how the Portuguese immersed in other cultures and flavors around the world, the guests returned to the high seas accompanied by cod, the Portuguese longtime faithful friend. After a long journey, with the discovery of new worlds, flavors, colors and textures, guests were taken to the woods in a hunting adventure with a piece of game, vegetables and edible earth. To end the meal, the Portuguese traditional wisdom of mothers and grandmothers and the secrets of convents got together, through an invitation to visit the Mountains (Serra da Estrela) in the north with curd icecream and the Algarve, in the south, with orange honey, followed by a revival of centuries-old recipes, such as rice pudding or Abade de Priscos pudding. It concluded with the presentation of petit fours that forecasted other innovative creations – the annual projects of students of MIAC were presented in original ceramics designed by students of the Product Design of the School of Architecture, as the other described moments.
With national successful sponsors, recognized by combining tradition and innovation, the creation of feelings, memories and ideas led the guests to travel back in time; time recreated in a harmony of space between the culinary arts, literature, music, visual arts and design. Guests felt nurtured by a narrative of flavors and shapes, inspired by a various dialogues at one table, where seduction games were created through a specially imaginative storyteller…”