Truly a country with more flavors than can be incorporated. From hearty stews to seafood, Portugal offers any palate options galore. The hardest choice was selecting the menu, which we did with sides, but decided to cook all three entrees. An added perk was the kids enjoyed everything on the table, with the exception of the spicy shrimp that we did not offer to them for obvious reasons.
The chicken was amazing. Juicy, flavorful, and even better on the following days. We use leftover smoked chicken to make chicken salad for lunch the next day. If you are not going to use it immediately, I recommend freezing it to prevent the smokiness from taking over the flavor. The coconut shrimp was equally amazing. Very light in comparison to fried shrimp, these guys still pack a punch. The spicy shrimp was good as well, but they were more for me and a friend as the rest of the family are not crazy about hot food. However, due to being cooked in the shell, they are not extremely spicy, I would rank them as a mild heat. The oysters, next to eating them raw, are the best I have had. Even the kids tried and liked them. They really soak up the flavors, and with a touch of hot chow chow they definitely landed themselves on future menus.
In regards to many countries we have done, side dishes are often where we struggle with the kids. Portugal does not fall into this category due to their wide variety of foods. The mint rice was a hit, which I worried about, because I left the mint leaves in and we have two kids who are texture picky. The biggest surprise of the whole meal was the sardines, apples, and cheese. The mixture of the three, combined with crackers, hit just right and everyone tried and enjoyed them.
Lastly, for the main course, was the salad. Everything about this salad was amazing. A great blend of sweet and tart. I will add, since it was in March, the Peaches could have been sweeter at the time, so we made this again over the summer. This dish will continue to show up on our table over the years, and I cannot recommend the switch from feta to goat cheese for this salad enough.
For dessert, Serradora, or Sawdust Pudding was a great choice. It takes no time at all to make the dessert, but you do need to chill at least 4 hours. The best part is you can make it into individual servings and let the kids choose their toppings. We offered crushed up cookies, almonds, coconut, and an array of berries.
Overall, showing aspects of the culture was very easy visually, but other aspects can be difficult in NC. For the kids, there were not many options in regards to movies. We settled on Ferdinand the Bull, which is technically Spain, but still regionally relevant. For the adults I was able to find Portuguese Port wine. Prior to dinner, I offered a Coffee Martini, consisting of cold brew, dark aged rum, and tawny port. After dinner we enjoyed port wine with our dessert. While they do have a variety of wine in Portugal, there are geographical challenges in many areas. We do have a wine specialty shop, but special ordering wine can be very costly and time consuming. Finally, Portugal is a country full of phenomenal flavors. It may take a little bit of planning to ensure you have what you need, but it is well worth the time investment involved.