A day dedicated to food, drink, family and friends - that's our kind of festa! While Thanksgiving is America’s epitome of this kind of celebration, it's pretty much every Sunday standard in traditional Portuguese homes.
Portuguese enjoy most lunches and dinners throughout the week with wine - no wonder Portugal boasts the world’s highest consumption per capita! And considering the versatility of Portuguese fortified, sparkling and still red, rosé and white wines, made from 250+ native grape varieties in 14 distinct wine regions, you can be sure there is a wine for every food and occasion!
The Quinta do Tedo team imbibing on the winery's patio
As the season for festive smorgasbords, lengthy meals, and free-flowing libations approaches, we’d like to inspire you with countless ways to pair one of our great Portuguese partners’ food-friendly Ports, Douro DOC wines and olive oil with your Thanksgiving spread...
Quinta do Tedo’s Douro DOC Rosé Wine is both fresh, elegant, serious and pairs with a surprising amount of light and sturdier dishes.
Enjoy it with smoked salmon on toast or endive lettuce boats with tangy cream; salads with pomegranates, nuts and goat cheese; other fresh cheeses; pumpkin, sweet potato and mushroom-inspired side dishes; succulent turkey with bright cranberry sauce; and vegetarian main dishes.
The 2017 Douro DOC Red Wine is juicy and bright with a supple mouthfeel from nearly 5 years (!) of aging. This is a crowd-pleasing red that drinks beautifully, and easily.
Pair the red with with a classic turkey, other meat and fish dishes and sausage or mushroom and chestnut stuffing.
Ruby Port belongs to the younger category of Ports that age for less time in large vats than Tawny Ports and resemble dark red wine, just with more complexity, body, power and sugar.
This is rich, spicy, grippy, smooth, chock-full of red and black fruits and provide beautiful contrast to salty, pungent blue, stilton and other strong cheeses and dark fruit- or chocolate-themed desserts, such as berry pies, flourless chocolate tarts or a more savory baked brie with berry coulis.
Velvety Fine Tawny satisfies those dishes and taste buds that Ruby Port does not, and vice versa. Quinta do Tedo is well-known for their Tawny style Ports - aged in smaller vats for longer time, hence their lighter color, concentrated sweetness balanced with acidity (2% of each barrel evaporates each year, we call this the “Angel’s Share”), and evolved aromas of caramel, orange peel, dried fruits, nuts and baking spices.
Pair Tawny Port with toasted or candied nuts; parmesan, comté or other aged, hard cheeses; mushroom or chicken paté on toast; or, perhaps the most classic of all - pumpkin, pecan and apple pies.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
And finally, if you haven’t tried Douro Valley Extra Virgin Olive Oil from dry-farmed, centenary, certified organic groves like Quinta do Tedo’s, you’re missing out (although we cannot blame Portuguese olive oil’s recent name to fame - in the past it was bottled and sold as Spanish!)
The olive oil is fruity, full and with a long finish, pour it into a bowl sprinkled with salt to dip fresh, crunchy radish, fennel, carrots or bread into, drizzle it over salads and mains, or roast veggies in it.
Finally, if you want to get creative not just pairing, but cooking with Portuguese wine, here are some favorite Portuguese-inspired Thanksgiving recipes to pop some more Portugal to:
Portuguese Port Cranberry Sauce - This recipe is written by a good friend from Porto, Ryan Opaz from Catavino Tours (check them out next time you’re Portugal-bound) and theLAB (one of Porto’s few natural wine shops). The best part about this sauce - it uses and pairs perfectly with Port (we suggest Tawny!)
Chouriço Stuffing and Portuguese-Style Roasted Potatoes - Simple and delicious, these Portuguese twists on all-time Thanksgiving favorites make for great side dishes with added complexity, heat and smokiness. They pair great with medium-bodied Douro, Dão or Bairrada red wines.
Portuguese-Style Vinho Verde Turkey - Cookbook blogger and author Tia Maria gives us another reason to love Vinho Verde cooked into and served alongside this recipe - the wine’s high acid content cuts through the fat of the turkey for a perfect pairing.
Portuguese-Style Beer Turkey - This recipe hails from George Mendes' New York City Portuguese restaurant, Lupulo. It’s spicy and salty and pairs nicely with sparkling wines from Portugal’s Bairrada region (traditionally enjoyed with the region’s famous roasted suckling pig).
Portuguese Corn Bread (pão de milho) - This dense, moist, yellow bread has a wonderful texture and sweet and nutty flavor. It’s a staple in Portuguese marisqueiras (seafood bars) and tascas (little tapas bars) and beautifully sops up hearty soups and rich sauces, stands up to pungent and creamy Serra da Estrela sheep’s cheese, and will compliment Thanksgiving dishes paired with a bright and flavorful Douro or Dão white wine!
If you are looking for some fabulous Portuguese wines and ports for thanksgiving dinner, we have curated Thanksgiving packs - check them out here.
Cheers and enjoy!
Odile and the Farah Team