Portugal is a southern European country with the oldest borders in all of Europe. Its proud history can be felt all throughout the country, from its capital down to each tiny, picture-perfect village with its own distinct culture and traditions.
Are you planning on visiting Portugal and wondering what you should take back home or try while there? Or maybe you have Portuguese roots and you're curious about the kind of products that are made in Portugal. In any case, what better way to learn about a country than through its products? For that reason, I've decided to put together this article about products I've come to love in my adopted home of Portugal and you'd love too if only you knew about them.
Below is a list of my favorite Portuguese products that you should check out!
Claus Porto Soaps
Claus Porto soap is synonymous with luxury and quality.
I first came across this fabulous natural soap while shopping in El Corte Ingles, a department store in Lisbon. Claus Porto had a cute display so I decided to buy a bar.
I was amazed by how creamy the lather is, how fragrant and natural it smells, and how soft it left my skin. I had no idea that this soap is actually famous and well-known amongst American celebrities. I only found that out after Googling "Claus Porto soap" to see if I could buy it when I returned to the US. To my relief, I learned that I can indeed buy these amazing soaps in various luxury shops in New York. Shops in the U.S. that sell Claus Porto include places like Saks Fifth Avenue, but they're a lot more expensive there.
Claus Porto soap has been made in the same traditional way in Porto since 1887. The wrapping is always a beautiful art-deco design, making Claus Porto soaps a wonderful gift or souvenir.
You've probably heard of port wine, but what about other Portuguese wines?
Portuguese wine production dates all the way back to Roman times and there are over 500 indigenous grape varieties. Even wine experts are unfamiliar with all the different types!
There are 11 major wine producing regions in Portugal, including Alentejo, the Algarve, Beira, Dão, Douro, Minho, Montes, Ribatejo, Setúbal, Tejo, and Trás-os-Montes.
Wines in various regions really differ from one another because of the variations in climate throughout Portugal, so you get very distinct wines. There are over 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) of vines and Portugal is the seventh largest exporter of wine in the world.
Next time you're looking for wine, consider a Portuguese wine. Maybe some green wine?
Portugal's port wine, or simply "port" is not the only fortified wine produced in Portugal, there's also Madeira.
Portuguese Ceramic Tiles: Azulejos
Portugal has ceramic tiles down to an art form!
Portuguese tiles—known as azulejos—are part of Portuguese culture and have been produced in the country for five centuries.
Beautiful azulejos are everywhere you look in Portugal—inside and outside the walls of churches, on ordinary homes as you walk down the block, on benches, fountains, and any place you can imagine putting a tile on.
In public places, azulejos often depict historic scenes. There's even a museum (my personal favorite) dedicated solely to the history and production of azulejos.
There are also tile-inspired everyday items like gorgeous jewelry and coasters.
You can buy a beautiful tile or tile-inspired item in many souvenir shops throughout Portugal. It's my favorite souvenir from the country.
Decorative Tile Jewelry
Portuguese tile, known as azulejo, have inspired artists to create miniature reproductions of their beauty in the form of rings, earrings, and bracelets.
Cherry Liquor: Ginjinha
Ginjinha, also known simply as Ginja, is the most famous liquor in Portugal. It's made by infusing sour cherries (called ginjas) with a Portuguese liquor called aguardente.
Ginjinha is normally taken as a shot with the cherries on the bottom of the shot glass. In the city of Obidos, the shot glass is traditionally made from chocolate so you just take the shot with the shot glass! Bottles of Ginjinha and chocolate shot glasses can oftentimes be found as a set in souvenir shops.
Also in downtown Lisbon, there is a little shop that served nothing but Ginjinha. It's popular amongst both locals and tourists who line up with friends and take shots on the street.
Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world. So naturally, the country also produces some neat things made from cork. Things made from cork include postcards (my family back home loves those!), cork purses, wallets, and of course wine corks. You'll be sure to come across lots of cork accessories in souvenir shops around Portugal.
Cork is a natural product, and anything made from cork is considered eco-friendly. If you're looking to make a fashion statement with eco-friendly products, Portuguese cork products are the way to go!
You may have heard of prosciutto, Italian dry-cured ham but did you know that Portugal has its own variety? In Portugal, it's called presunto and I personally like it even more! Presunto Iberico, as it's sometimes called, is also made in Spain where it's called Iberico jamon and it's basically the kobe beef of pigs. The pigs from which presunto is made roam the forest freely and eat natural things like herbs and acorns. The meat has a distinct nutty flavor that's incomparable. The most famous presunto in Portugal is Chaves presunto and Alentejo presunto.
There's a Portuguese saying that goes, "In the land of cattle, cheese is king.” Cheese, queijo in Portuguese, is certainly king in Portugal. You are bound to be impressed with the huge variety of cheeses made in Portugal. There's cow cheese, sheep cheese, goat cheese, and combinations of all three and they are really good quality.
Cheese is a big part of Portuguese culture and is eaten at every meal as an appetizer. The most famous cheese is probably Serra da Estrela cheese, which is semi-soft and is eaten by cutting off the top layer. Other popular cheeses include Azeitão, Serpa, and Terrincho.
I was not familiar with Portuguese desserts until I moved to Portugal, and boy was I missing out! There are more than two hundred varieties of Portuguese sweets. Many are egg-based with names such as toucinho do céu ("fat from heaven"), papos de anjo ("angel's double-chin"), and barriga de freiras ("belly of nuns", after the nuns who invented and prepared them in monasteries hundreds of years ago). There are also marzipan desserts, custard creme ones, and many others that you just have to try!
The most well known Portuguese dessert is undoubtedly pasteis de nata. It's an egg custard tart in filo dough that is best served warm, fresh out of the oven, and sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. It's really delicious and can be found in any Portuguese community.
Portuguese olive oil, known as azeite in Portuguese, is some of the best out there. Olive oil production in Portugal has a long-standing tradition, dating back to Roman times. There's even evidence of olive trees in Portugal dating all the way back to the Bronze Age! Interestingly, during the mid-16th century, olive oil was even used as fuel for lighting and Portugal exported its olive oil to Northern Europe and India for that purpose.
To this day, olive oil is an important ingredient in many traditional recipes and the Portuguese take their olive oil very seriously. There are six regions in Portugal that produce olive oil that has protected status, called DOP (Denominação de Origem Protegida). The regions are:
- DOP Trás os Montes
- DOP Beira Interior
- DOP Ribatejo
- DOP Alentejo interior
- DOP Norte Alentejano
- DOP Moura
Next time you're looking to get olive oil, consider Portuguese olive oil. You'll be pleasantly surprised. It's excellent in quality and not as expensive as others.
Olive Oil with Gold
In Portugal, you can find extra-virgin olive oil that contains 24-karat edible gold flakes. This unique gourmet item can be bought in gourmet shops and El Corte Ingles.
Portuguese pork sausage, called chouriço in Portuguese, is usually made with fat, wine, paprika, and salt.
There are lots of different varieties of chouriço and they all differ in color, shape, and taste. Many traditionally Portuguese dishes use this kind of pork sausage as an ingredient. It's also really delicious grilled, as some Portuguese restaurants serve it.
Estiah Mc Garrie on February 27, 2019:
Please post photo of the tile jewelry
MA Azizan on February 25, 2018:
will visiting Lisbon in next three weeks. =)
Josée & family on January 08, 2018:
Going to Portugal in April looking forward to try everything and more, thank you
Anna (author) from New York, NY on January 06, 2018:
That sounds lovely! Will you be visiting Porto - that's a must! And if you can do a wine tour of the Douro valley, you'll really enjoy it. The Minho region has some really picturesque towns. As far as food is concerned, Porto has a specialty, francesinha, which you should try :)
Kelly on January 04, 2018:
We are planning to go to the north of Portugal in July and August
Any recommendations on foods to eat and towns/cities to visit?
Angela Graham on December 15, 2017:
Fabulous good and wine in Portugal. Theircoluve oil is delicious and the cheeses are wonderful. I don't think I have found one thing I don't like here. The quality and price are fantastic
Jozhe Fonseca on August 07, 2017:
Everyone talks about the same things, what about Portalegre rugs, canned fishes, mineral waters, concentrated juices, soups, coffees, pottery, liqueurs, bread, beer, jams, etc.
Lena Durante from San Francisco Bay Area on May 09, 2017:
Olive oil with gold? Wow, that's something I've never encountered before. I imagine you don't actually cook with it, just use it raw?
Antonio Lewis on February 24, 2017:
I loved your article on products made in Portugal, and have already tasted many of them.
Shannon on October 13, 2016:
Do you know of any way to order Ginja here in the US? We recently traveled to Portugal and fell in love with it.
MAA on July 29, 2016:
Very helpful ...will experience them all !
Susana on May 16, 2016:
Check out this portuguese handmade products with a twist! ;)
Pretérito - Handmade in Portugal! Tks!
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/preteritohandmadeinportug...
Ced Yong from Asia on April 12, 2016:
Azulejos tiles have such a unique look and feel. I wish I could tile one wall of my kitchen with them.
Genevieve Halkett from Dayton, Ohio on December 06, 2015:
I miss Portugal - and haven't been able to find Ginjinha in the U.S. Look forward to a trip back some day...
Lucia on October 05, 2015:
How do you not have Madeira hand embroidered linens on this list?!
Munawar hussain on July 02, 2015:
Hi sweet how are you.i am fine.
i want do business in Portugal
Lee John from Preston on February 04, 2015:
Yep, it's just because of the bird is the same haha
Anna (author) from New York, NY on February 04, 2015:
Traveleze, you'd think so! I think it was actually started in South Africa by Portuguese people. I was shocked when I saw one in DC!
Lee John from Preston on February 04, 2015:
I am sure Nando's is from Portugal isn't it?
Arco Hess from Kansas City, Kansas on October 07, 2014:
The wine, presunto, and cherry liquor are all incredibly underrated. Some of the very best wine I have ever drunk came from Portugal.
SavioC on October 03, 2014:
Absolutely loved this info. I live in Goa which was a Portuguese colony till 1961. Many people still follow many of the traditions & many products you mentioned are still used by Goans. You will find it surprising that some people manufacture Azulejos . But I would love to try out the Presunto and also Portuguese Cheese. Thanks for sharing .
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2014:
I bought Sao Jorge cheese last summer and it was a hit.
Pedro Vieira from San Francisco, California on September 18, 2014:
Amazing list! A bunch of hidden gems here. There's many more like these in Portugal... Hidden gems that you'll hardly find if you don't have a local connection. If you're visiting Portugal, I recommend using services like www.WiserGo.com which let's you design several travel packages with Portuguese agents, select your favorite, they will book everything and provide customer support while you're in Portugal. Since they are local agents, they know the ins-and-outs of everything and you get to experience the country as a local!
TiffanyLatte from USA on June 06, 2014:
Wine- Architecture, love it. Nice article
keanyu on June 05, 2014:
Great article! :)
The Reminder from Canada on May 19, 2013:
Still trying to get a hold of ginjinha here in Canada. I'm portuguese and never tried it. Great hub and the info is very accurate!
Mary Crawley on May 18, 2013:
Fly London is, in spite of the name, a portuguese brand of modern trendy shoes. I have a pair of wedges from then and it's like walking on clouds, but 5 in taller! Luis Onofre has also beautiful shoes.
Also the link from Luis Bretten has some really nice stuff!
Luis Betten on May 02, 2013:
Nice to see such positive interest on Portuguese products!
Im Portuguese, thought currently living abroad, and i've found this website, http://www.takeportugal.com/
So far, this is the best online store you can find if your looking for traditional Portuguese goods, handcraft, wine, ceramic and many design pieces mainly made in cork.
Bought some Claus Porto Soaps there for my wife ;)
Yes I'm a romantic ;p
Claire Dixon from Billingham, Cleveland. UK on April 29, 2013:
It's a long time since I've been to Portugal ; well the Algarve, but your hub reminded me of the incredible almond tart we used to eat regularly - it was fabulous! Thank you for jogging my memory.
Paulo (potuguese guy...) on April 03, 2013:
Have you tried the original "Pastéis de Nata"?
This is a very tiny sample of what Portugal has to offer! :-)
Ken Kline from Chicago, Illinois on March 22, 2013:
Buying local is important the world wide. I commend you for celebrating local produc? I hope more people take note. Buy local is critical. Voted up. Outstanding.
Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on March 21, 2013:
Very interesting products. Claus Porto Soaps wrapping is quite different and the products described are really worth trying. Wines and ceramic tiles also seem to be unique. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.
Best from Of Angola on March 13, 2013:
I love portuguese food...
Grinning Gremlin from Ontario, Canada on February 07, 2013:
Great hub, and great suggestions! Some of this takes me back to a childhood full of delicious (though maybe not always nutritious) Portuguese foods.
Mike Robbers from London on February 07, 2013:
Great hub! Food products made in Portugal are so tasty! And the Port wine is exceptional! Voted up & awesome!
C from Denmark on February 05, 2013:
Portuguese egg tarts are so so perfect, best portuguese things ever!
Thanks for a great hub. I love Portugal, and thought I knew enough about the products of Portugal. But this gave me new ideas. Thanks again!
FullOfLoveSites from United States on January 02, 2013:
The Porto soaps' packages are very artful and colorful! And the variety of Portuguese sweets too, they're very interesting. :D
Marty Boo on December 30, 2012:
How very interesting. I have been to Portugal and loved it. The seafood was exceptional!!!
Vitor Costa on November 18, 2012:
You can find some of this products at www.vcwebgourmet.com ... I hope you enjoy :-)
eatforcheaper from London on June 23, 2012:
Voted up!! I love Portugal. The Presunto is amazing and so is the cheese, chourico and wine! I just got back from Portugal and I also wrote an article about my adventures there!
cardelean from Michigan on May 12, 2012:
You've given me yet another reason to visit Portugal! I started out reading this hub thinking about soaking in the tub with that great soap while sipping a glass of wine and then the products just continued to get better! My inlaws make cherry liqueur and it is some fabulous stuff! Thanks for sharing these great products.
Anna (author) from New York, NY on May 09, 2012:
ComfortB, Rajan, Teresa, Algarveview, and Kalmiya - thanks so much for stopping by and I'm very glad that you all enjoyed the traditional Portuguese products I mention in the hub. I'm happy to share things that I love about my adopted country :)
Kalmiya from North America on May 08, 2012:
Great hub about Portuguese products Global Chica. I love their wine and now will have to try to find their cherry liquor in N. America. You're so lucky to be there!
Joana e Bruno from Algarve, Portugal on May 08, 2012:
Hi, Global-Chica, great hub about our products... and great publicity... Really enjoyed this! Voted up, useful, interesting and, of course, sharing! Have a wonderful day!
Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on May 08, 2012:
this one I especially like.. Portugal has so much to offer! Thanks for sharing your experience and favorite things with us. Voted up.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 08, 2012:
Global chica, this is a very informational hub considering my knowledge about Portugal being akin to a buffalo's knowledge about the English alphabet. I must thank you for providing some beautiful insights into the rich Portugal culture. Loved all the info especially about the chocolate shot glass, the Portuguese tiles, cork accessories and the sausages.
Thanks for this informative share.
Voted up all across and shared.
Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on May 07, 2012:
Wow! Very interesting read on products from Portugal. The soap and cured ham are definitely worth trying!
Thanks for sharing. Voted Up and Interesting!