Pottery Uncovered In Portugal & A Few Portuguese Tapas Recipe’s

The History and customs of Portugal can be told through the decorative pieces made with a great sense of humour and imagination.

Portuguese Traditional Pottery: Clay and Glass have always been materials used by artisans in Portugal.

The large Portuguese brands that still exist today, were able to maintain themselves afloat independently of the changes in fashion and demand that have occurred in the past decades. The classic brands focused on the most exclusive products, with more elegant designs, as is the case with world-famous Vista Alegre – this particular brand dates back to 1942 and is well known throughout the world for its high quality porcelain, take a look at their site and you will get a better understanding of their most exclusive designs and must have pieces of homeware. www.myvistaalegre.com/pt/. The most “rustic” pieces that began their production focused on the popular masses are easily available in markets all over Portugal.” Caldas da Rainha, just north of Lisbon, is the center of Portuguese pottery due to the abundance of clay deposits. There are so many different designs from the various regions of Portugal each with their own history. I enjoyed these two different sites that give me a little more detail on the various districts and what is distinct about each of them.


www.visitar-lisbon.com/en/shopping/ceramics-glass.html offer an in depth view of some of the more “high end” porcelain and pottery made in Portugal.

TRADITIONAL RED CLAY AND HAND PAINTED POTTERY is available in all markets, pottery stores and on the road sides throughout Portugal.

PORTUGUESE TAPAS (called petiscos): Thought I would share a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes that I always serve on my red clay pottery collected from various trips to Portugal.

FRIED PORTUGUESE PRAWNS – a family secret from my mom “Mamma Maria”, I really had to do some convincing for Mum to let me post this recipe!!!!

CHICKPEA & CODFISH COMBO – Having a Portuguese evening at home then this is a must:  Chick pea and codfish traditional Portuguese combo. This recipe mixes both key ingredients in a light dressing, all combined into a salad that can be served together with various other tapas dishes or as a starter to a main course.


  • 1kg Large Prawns
  • 1 Large Clove of Garlic
  • 1 cup beer
  • 2 tsp good quality olive oil
  • 2 small chillies (more if you like your prawns spicier)
  • The outer skin of one onion
  • A handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • Salt to taste


  1. Boil Prawns for 15/20 minutes together with chilli, salt and the skin of an onion (this gives the prawns colour) – once boiled remove water and allow prawns to dry
  2. In a frying pan, mix the olive oil, garlic and handful of chopped fresh parsley
  3. Allow sauce to saute for a few minutes then add prawns – toss together in the sauce and then add fresh lemon juice to taste
  4. Serve prawns in beautiful Portuguese pottery – bon apetite!!!

Courtesy of “Mamma Maria” my remarkable motherJ

FLAMED chouriço (in portuguese) using a red clay pottery chouriço dish – chouriço is traditionally flamed with Aquadente *Portuguese Aguardente has several varieties. Aguardente vínica is distilled from wine, either of good quality or undrinkable wines. It is mostly used to fortify wines such as port, or aged to make aguardente velha (old burning water), a kind of brandy. Better known in South Africa as “Fire Water”. Chorizo and most Portuguese products are available in most Everfresh markets – www.everfreshmarkets.co.za


250 gr cooked chick peas
2 salted cod steaks
1 “cloved onion”
2 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
2 red pepper
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp Sherry vinegar/can use red wine vinegar if you can’t find sherry vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
Large bunch of parsley

If you’re using pre-soaked chick peas and cod go to step 3.

  1. Soak the cod in cold water for 2-3 days (depending on the thickness of the pieces) changing water twice a day. In the last day add the chick peas to the water to soak overnight. Cod fish can be purchased from www.everfreshmarkets.co.za. (In Portugal you can find de-salted cod fish in most stores and I would use canned chick peas which makes this recipe a little easier and quicker)
  2. Boil in fresh water (with a little more salt) with a “cloved onion” (a peeled onion with cloves) and bay leaves. Take off the heat when chick peas are cooked (these take about 45 minutes and should be soft while keeping their shape).
  3. Boil the cod for about 5 minutes (the middle should be practically raw) in the same water as the chick peas and put aside. www.pasto.wordpress.com
  4. Make the dressing in a pestle and mortar. Smashing the garlic cloves with some sea salt, add cumin seeds and crush, then add the olive oil.
  5. Shred the cod into small pieces and mix with the drained chick peas, red pepper and roughly chopped parsley. Toss in the dressing and serve.

Recipe available on www.pasto.wordpress.com an awesome blog on Portugal and Portuguese food.


A strenuous walk up to the Castelo de St Jorge was not in vain. For a consumer like me, anything that involves a little retail therapy makes exercise all worthwhile.  Discovering all these interesting stores selling handmade ceramics, crafts and beautiful artifacts made my creative senses elate with excitement.
Walking up this quaint winding road to the soft sound of Portuguese fado and house jazz you cannot but take in the beauty of this diverse city – there were people sitting in wine houses eating tapas platters and sipping wine and other tourists meandering in the cobbled streets.  For good handicrafts made by Portuguese artists then these two stores are a must to visit – Nobre Povo – Portuguese Contemporty Handicraft and Azulejo Handmade by us:

THE PRODUCTS FROM BORDALLO PINHEIRO  well known throughout the world and a must to add to any to your homeware collection, even just one or two pieces add a quirkiness to a table – see the many selections of ceramics available on their website www.pt.bordallopinheiro.com and www.ebay.com and so many other on-line stores.

“Rafael Bordallo Pinheiro is one of the most influential people of the nineteenth century Portuguese culture, with a remarkable production particularly regarding the areas of humoristic drawing, caricature and ceramic creation. His work represents an unsettling ever timely reality and a fundamental document for political, social, cultural and ideological study of a time period….” Worth a look to find the diverse products sold and to learn a little more about the history of these products www.pt.bordallopinheiro.com

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