PORTUGAL’s GOOD TASTING
It is all about building a convincing image of the best we have to offer in the areas of gastronomy and wine and spreading it to the world and its people, winning them over with the certainty that the taste of Portugal is refined, sofisticated and cosmopolitan.
We – the portuguese people – are owners of a rich, diversified and original cultural heritage. Our gastronomy, which someone has described as «being without a doubt a field of aesthetics and teacher of the art of living in society», fits this scenario of cultural heritage. We lack nothing in this field. We have bread made out with flours of all the best cereals, we have a fumatory of an extraordinary richness and variety, we have the best fish and seafood in the world, we have some noble meats and a couple of cheeses that we can be proud of. One of the great wines of the world is portuguese, the Porto wine, as are a set of table wines whose qualities are becoming more and more recognized. As the cherry on top of the cake, we have an artisan way of making many of the abovesaid products that can and should be valued in this globalized world we live in. If we possess such an unique way of being, then we should value such feature and quality. But if we are aware of our individuality as an old people of many centuries, we also have to have the clearness to acknowledge that our best gastronomy is still known to very few.
It is not the intention of gastronomy to solve the big issues of Mankind. Its job is a much simpler but still equally noble one: allowing men to relate better and become wiser about a subject that has to do with their quality of life and that of the society on which they live in, in other words, that has to do with their happiness. A gastronome, a true gastronome, is like a kind of keeper of the integrity and authenticity of a whole community’s food matters.
It also makes sense to call attention to the fact that, in the last decade, we have witnessed the appearance of a group of male and female cooks, some of which have won the title of «Chefs» due to their creative talent. These «Chefs», which rely mainly on the best our traditional cuisine has to offer, have lead us towards modernity, and why not say, towards the front line.
We are then, in one of those moments in which all that is missing is to join forces, have good willing, energies, work ability, strictness and discipline that will enable us to take a step forward. It will not be an easy task to convince the world that Portugal is a place of good, original and very tasteful things. But, although it does not often shows, we still have not lost the touch and the ability to face the challenges presented to us. Now it is all about building a convincing image of the best we have to offer in the areas of gastronomy and wine and of spreading it to the world and its people, winning them over with the certainty that the taste of Portugal is refined, sofisticated and cosmopolitan.
DAVID LOPES RAMOS,
Taste Portugal consists of a diversified Program of Actions, thought of for several national and international target audiences. This program can, at all times, benefit from new iniciatives from both public and private partners in the following main areas of performance:
At an international level, the promotion of gastronomy is directed both to the tourists of our main target markets and to international opinion leaders.
At a national level, the actions are designed for the national tourists but also to all professionals who contribute to the qualification of the gastronomic offer.
The Program intends to be able to mobilize all agents who are, either direct or indirectly, associated to the Gastronomy and Wines offer, so that we have the ability to pass on to those who visit us, in a harmonized way, the cultural values associated to these two areas and the enrichment that it can provide to the experience of a stay in Portugal.
Tourism of Portugal, Regional Tourism Organizations and Island Territories, Business and Professional Associations, Central (Economy, Agriculture and Fishing, Culture) and Local Administration Organizations, professional Public and Private Organizations – all have an important role to play.
Taste Portugal has the technical support of the Portuguese Gastronomy Association and the global guidance of José Bento dos Santos.
Regional Tourism Organizations, Island Territories, the Portuguese Tourism Confederation, the Portuguese Hotels Association, AHRESP e APHORT (Portuguese tourism and hotel organizations), the Portuguese Professional Cooks Association, the Vine and Wine Institute, Viniportugal, the Directorate General of Fisheries, the Companhia das Lezírias, «Compro o que é nosso» («I Buy what is ours»), Pousadas de Portugal and the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation.
JOSE BENTO DOS SANTOS,
CHAIRMAN OF THE PORTUGUESE GASTRONOMY ASSOCIATION
We should be proud of our culinary and gastronomic heritage, both in terms of its historic role and its present value.
In the wake of the Discoveries, we introduced many of the products into Europe that now form part of our everyday diet: spices - in particular pepper, cloves and cinnamon - and also ginger, coriander, green peppers, tomato or paprika, that are now widely used as core ingredients.
Portugal also developed its own distinctive cuisine, with unique traditional recipes that delight and surprise visitors. Alongside this wonderful tradition, we now have a school of chefs who deftly interpret these classics, while blending them with modern and innovative culinary styles.
Portugal is blessed by the fact that our fishermen catch the world’s finest fish along our coastline, our farmers produce delicious horticultural products, the finest fruit, our olive oil, which, in the words of Eça de Queiroz “is worthy of Plato’s lips”, our salt, our cheeses, our wines - first-class products which are recognised by the world’s leading specialists.
And of course we shouldn’t overlook our diversified and mouth-watering desserts, that have perfected the art of transforming sugar?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of tourists are unaware of this inescapable reality and are unfamiliar with our genuine gastronomic skills. They therefore sense no desire to visit the country in order to sample Portuguese cuisine.
How it is possible that Portugal still isn’t viewed as a first-class gastronomic destination, notwithstanding the gratitude owed to us for the key historic role we have played in the development of European and world gastronomy, and the fine quality of our products, recipes and Chefs?
Given this lack of a clear gastronomic identity, it is well worth combining our efforts, with confidence and motivation, in order to convey an image to the world that reflects our true culinary wealth and heritage.
A convincing image of our current status and full potential, sustained over the future, to be admired with respect, for a tradition of which we can all be proud and whose fruits we can all reap.