Throwing a Nelson Carvalheiro Dinner Party

Portonico - A Portuguese Affair

My quest to become a decent Portuguese chef continues! It’s going to take me a while, but I’ve got just the thing to get me started. It’s my favorite thing for July: Nelson Carvalheiro’s The Portuguese Travel Cookbook. In honor of the recent launch of the English edition of his travel cookbook, of which I got a copy, I decided to host a dinner party. The catch: all the food I served was taken from his recipe book.


Nelson Carvalheiro Portuguese Travel Cookbook

Nelson Carvalheiro’s Portuguese Travel Cookbook, or how I pulled off a delicious dinner with friends

This was a daunting task for me. I had never made any of these dishes before and I was expecting company. Fortunately, I had a trusty husband/sous-chef to help me out so I could throw an authentic “Nelson Carvalheiro dinner party”. Before I get into the delicious details, let me give you a quick background on this book: Nelson travels continental Portugal from top to bottom, learning about and photographing different types of food and styles of cooking. He gives you recipes from each region, so you can sample local specialties from the comfort of your own home. In my next post, I’ll be giving away a signed copy of this book, so stay tuned!


Bread & olives

They say that a Portuguese table always has bread on it. I added olives for extra fun.


Conquilhas Algarvias - Nelson Carvalheiro

Algarve clams from Nelson Carvalheiro’s cookbook

For starters, I made conquilhas Algarvias, Algarve-style clams. They were delicious and my guests couldn’t get enough of them. We even soaked bread in the juice, as we ate. The Portuguese flavors of lemon, cilantro and the sea really came through in this dish. I can’t wait to make this one again because it was so easy to make and such a hit with everyone. It’s a recipe that I plan to make all summer long.


Portonico cocktails

Portonico cocktails – a refreshing and elegant summer cocktail from Porto

To accompany our meal, I took another recipe from Nelson Carvalheiro’s book, for a port wine cocktail. I’m not usually a port drinker, but this was an incredibly refreshing way to drink it. We ate cozido de grão, chickpea stew, for the main. Everyone had second helpings and the chouriço cooked this way was a huge success. I love chick peas and they’re very much a part of traditional Portuguese cooking, so I was excited for the opportunity incorporate them into a meal.


Cozido de grao - meat

The meat part of the chick pea cozido


Cozido de grao - vegetables

The vegetables part of the chick pea cozido from the Alentejo region

And what would a Portuguese meal be without dessert? You may not know this, but some of the best cherries in the world come from Portugal. And although I couldn’t find Portuguese cherries in the US, I did follow the recipe for a Portuguese cherry pie and, miraculously, it turned out wonderfully. Cherry is one of my favorite pie flavors but never had I tasted one this good (if I do say so myself!).  I had some leftover for breakfast this morning… don’t judge me, it has plenty of healthy cherries in it.


Nelson Carvalheiro - Cherry Pie

The piece de resistance: Nelson Carvalheiro’s cherry pie from the Beira Alta region

So there you have it: a dinner party using only recipes from Nelson Carvalheiro’s The Portuguese Travel Cookbook, which is available to purchase on Amazon now. I’m ecstatic that I look the challenge and by how it turned out, and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


Portonico - A Portuguese Affair

Toasting with my portonico cocktail – Thank you, Nelson!

Follow Nelson Carvalheiro’s blog, or his Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts.

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  • Nelson Carvalheiro
    July 4, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    This is fantastic Catarina. A big thank you for all the hard work in cooking the book’s recipes and i wish I could have been there to taste them with you and your friends! Bom Proveito!

    • aportugueseaffair
      July 5, 2016 at 1:42 am

      I wish you could’ve been here too – aside from giving me pointers on how to cook it, it would’ve been great to have an evaluation at the end. Next time you’re close, you have to come over for a home-cooked meal 🙂

  • Giveaway: The Portuguese Travel Cookbook – A Portuguese Affair
    July 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    […] photo above and say which of the four recipes I made at my Nelson Carvalheiro dinner party (on the blog) you would like to make and why. That’s […]

  • Frank Teixeira
    April 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Since you appear to be on a quest to become a Portuguese gastronomic maven, you might want to check out: Teleculinaria and for all recipes Portuguese and beyond.

    • aportugueseaffair
      April 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you! I definitely will!

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