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THE PORTUGUESE TRAVEL COOKBOOK

Story by Emanuele Siracusa November 27th, 2014

Food with a sense of place

Back in July I traveled all around Portugal along with writer and blogger Nelson Carvalheiro, as part of the Portuguese Travel Cookbook project. The idea of a collaboration between me and Nelson came up when we met on a blog trip in Kerala, India, a few months ago. I told Nelson about my obsession with Portuguese taverns, and he showed some interest towards the idea of making a project together. But my idea was too photography-based and we had to find an angle that could work for both. Because Nelson works with APTECE, an association whose mission is to promote Portuguese cuisine as a brand on a global scale, and because he and APTECE were already considering making a book on Portuguese gastronomy, the idea took a new shape, that of a Portuguese Travel Cookbook. A half-visual, half-written journey into Portuguese food, with its stories, the people behind it, and its socio-cultural and historic elements. The trip lasted three weeks and I took around 20,000 pictures, which became a few hundreds after the first round of editing. I’m not sure how many images will make it into the book, but here are some of my favourite shots from the trip that inspired the book. The editing is still in progress, but the book should see the light soon, so stay tuned!

Dona Francelina, a maker and vendor of sun-dried fish in Nazaré, Portugal, peeks through a sun-dried ray fish

NazarE'

Sun-dried fish stalls are a common sight at the beach in Nazaré, making Nazaré’s waterfront a very photogenic place. Women selling sun-dried fish usually are fishermen’s wives and wear a peculiar traditional local outfit which includes 7 skirts (which in reality are underskirts). These ladies don’t wear like this for tourists though. It’s just the way things are over here.
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Arte Xávega

One of the highlights of the trip was shooting the Arte Xávega, a traditional fishing technique whereby fishermen cast a net, let it rest for a while and then pull it in from the beach. Nowadays fishermen practicing Arte Xávega use tractors to help with the pull, but in the past cows were used. Although the tractors are a good help, the job is still quite tough on the fishermen. It gives you some perspective on how much hard work it takes before some of the finest fresh fish can reach kitchen tables in Portugal and all over the world.

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Food, Food, and more Food

Here are some of the dishes I got to photograph and try during the trip. The book will also include some of these recipes.

Massada de Robalo
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people and culture

Part of the project also involved photographing the people who fed us, gave us something to drink, entertained us, kept us company, or shared their stories with us.

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PLaces

Last but not least, photographs of places are the soul of the travel component of the travel cookbook. Here are some of my favourite shots.

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Footnote: Emanuele Siracusa
Portugal