On Carnival day, in the cold region of Trás-os-Montes, but also on so many other tables where tradition is a must, the dish of the day is “Butelo” with “Cascas “, also known as Cozido Mirandês (stew). Butelo (a pork meat sausage) is the king of the dish, accompanied by “cascas “- also known as “vasas” or “casulas”. These are beans harvested still in the pod when the grain is well-formed but not yet dry. The pod is broken into pieces and dried in the sun for several days. Like so many other typical dishes, it results from scarce resources, which formerly obliged people to make the most of every edible good, like the cascas or the pig’s spine.
Trás-os-Montes is famous for its sausages and smoked meat, and this week‘s product is one of its most dazzling stars.
Butelo de Vinhais (PGI) – also known as Bucho de Vinhais or Chouriço de Ossos de Vinhais – is known for its unique flavour that comes from four fundamental factors: the pigs‘ feed, the production method used, slow smoking that allows for sealing its aromas and the cure in a fresh, dry environment. How is this sausage made? It‘s simple (or not): “bone-in meat and cartilage (from the pig‘s vertebrae and ribs) are cut into small pieces and placed in a container to be seasoned. This mixture – known as “adoba“ – rests for one to three days. After the last adjustments to the seasoning comes the filling, in a large intestine, stomach, or bladder, previously sewn or tied with cotton thread at one end, the other being tied after the “meats“ are well compacted inside. Next comes the smoking over low heat, with oak or chestnut wood, for at least 15 days, followed by a curing period, in a cool place“.
In 200 BC, when it was called Portus Cale, the city that gave Portugal its name became the Portucalense County’s capital; Porto is the country’s second-most populous city. Classified as Cultural Heritage of Humanity, its historical centre offers endless opportunities to taste authentic northern gastronomy – from tripe to world-famous Port wine -, while enjoying a magnificent view of the Douro river.