This is a food love story between a Christmas table in Portugal and the codfish from cold waters, up in the north. Having in mind that this fish is caught in cold waters in Norway or Newfound land, this unconditional love might be miles distant, but has been lasting for centuries. The codfish is eaten all year and here it says that there are 1001 creative ways of cooking it. At Christmas eve it is set on the table as the king of the festivity. Let’s read more of this love story?

Cod fish is caught up in the north, in the cold waters of Newfoundland or Greenland and Portugal is further south, miles away. In spite of the distance this food love relationship has been lasting for centuries. Portuguese eat more of this fish worldwide, and all because of the Discoveries. Well, if we think right, the use of this fish as the main food for sea voyages had been already used by the vikings. And who knows if they had been for a visit to the south, teaching the use of cod. Later this fish was traded by the Basques, from the north of Spain, who were the first to introduce the process of salting and drying the fish on the rocks, increasing its conservation. Before that the vikings didn’t know the existence of salt.

(Imagem: Reprodução Bacalhau da Noruega)

Imagem: Reprodução Bacalhau da Noruega

The first records of this process of salting and drying the codfish in Portugal goes back to the 14th century. However, it was with the following century, that the Portuguese sailors used it as the perfect food for their long sea travels. And that’s how this romance began. The Portuguese became the fishing pioneers in Newfoundland (Canada) and quickly introduce this fish in the National gastronomy culture. It became quite popular for its resistance and conservation . We affectionately call this fish as our ”faithful friend”, because we can always count with it at home when there isn’t much to eat.

And at Christmas…

(Imagem: Reprodução Os Boemios)

Imagem: Reprodução Os Boemios

… we always invite our faithful friend to the table. Normally cooked, with potatoes and kale it becomes the king. Christmas is a religious celebration and church demanded the fasting and since there was no meat during the season, the codfish was then the chosen one. It arrives at home dried and salted, and stays for some days, pampered in the water, to remove the salt and, then, it is cooked.

The Portuguese codfish tradition was also exported outside the borders. In Brazil it s also invited at Christmas’eve, being a quite popular delicacy in the vast Brazilian gastronomy.

Since it is the time for celebration Fora da Rota Tours wishes you a Merry Xmas!