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Best Portuguese food, wine to try at Houston’s Central Market

by Clarence Jones

Central Market, a beloved supermarket in Houston known for its unique foods and wines, is currently hosting a limited-time promotion showcasing the flavors of Portugal. Passaporte Portugal, running through Sept. 26, is Central Market’s annual Passport series, which makes a welcome return after a five-year hiatus. During this promotional period, the store is offering an extensive range of Portuguese goods that have never been available in Houston before. These products include cheeses, meats, breads and pastries, olive oils, canned goods, wines, seafood, and spices.

For those who prefer not to cook, Central Market is also offering a variety of prepared Portuguese dishes, such as rice with seafood, piri-piri chicken, grilled sausages, lamb meatballs, roasted pork, shrimp, and seafood. Recipe cards are also available throughout the store for those who want to try their hand at using Portuguese ingredients to make their own meals.

One highlight of Passaporte Portugal is the selection of tinned fish from the famous Nuri family, a delicacy in Portugal. Customers can choose from eight Nuri varieties, ranging from $6.99 to $14.99, and enjoy them directly from the tin, paired with bread, cheese, olives, and wine.

Another must-try item is the Pastel de nata, also known as Pastel de Belem, a Portuguese egg custard tart with a crisp pastry crust and a creamy custard filling. These iconic Portuguese desserts are finished daily in the Central Market bakery and are priced at $2.99 each. In addition to these tarts, there are 26 new baked goods featured during Passport.

For those looking for unique gifts, Galo de Barcelos, the “Rooster of Barcelos,” is available. These colorful decorative and tabletop pieces, made from wood and ceramic, are a national symbol of Portugal that express faith, integrity, and good fortune.

Central Market is also offering individually boxed and numbered Azorean pineapples, considered the world’s best pineapples due to their exceptional sweetness. These exclusive fruits, priced at $15 each, are available for the first time at Central Market.

Additionally, Central Market imported two sizes of hammered cataplana vessels, which are both the namesake of the famous Portuguese fish stew and the term for the copper cookware used to prepare it. Customers can use these cataplana vessels to cook traditional Portuguese dishes in the oven or on the stovetop.

Iberico pork from purebred Iberico pigs is another standout product available in Central Market’s meat market during Passaporte Portugal. This pork, known for its marbling and flavor, comes in various cuts such as loins, steaks, and rendered lard.

To complement the Portuguese cuisine, Central Market is offering over 100 Portuguese wines during Passport, including bold reds and the country’s famous Vinho Verde.

Central Market has spent years sourcing the products available during Passport, and this promotion comes at a time when interest in Portugal is increasing. “Right now everyone is going to Portugal and talking about Portugal,” said Juan Gonzalez, Central Market Houston’s cooking school manager. “It has all of a sudden become a big European destination. Portugal encompasses everything we look for in Passport.”

While many of the Passport items will only be available during the promotional period, Central Market plans to keep some products in extended inventory based on customer response. For a full list of Passport events, customers can visit the Central Market website.

Passaporte Portugal at Central Market is a unique opportunity for Houston gourmands and dedicated home cooks to explore the flavors and products of Portugal. With a vast selection of Portuguese goods, prepared foods, and wines, this limited-time promotion is not to be missed.

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