Early August, Good Morning Britain on ITV sent me on an adventure to some of Portugal's best destinations to film #FoodwithaView. I’ve always been very fond of the country from holidays as a child with my parents to renting a villas on the coast annually with wife and friends. It has everything that appeals to a traveller like myself. It is a short flight, great value, friendly natives, guaranteed sun, amazing beaches and, of course, THE FOOD! With iconic dishes like salt cod, piri piri chicken, garlic and clams and those famous, custard tarts. There’s not much to dislike about Portugal is there.
For my journey, I was sent to five regions around the country shooting recipes and finding out a little more about what it has to offer.
So the first stop, the Algarve...
We all know the Algarve region right? I certainly do, being born in the late 70’s I was part of the original family package holiday boom and can remember holidays in the sun spent around a hotel pool with my brother jumping off inflatable lylos whilst Mum and Dad sipped Mateus rosé (Portugal's finest ;). We very rarely left the hotel complex back then but nowadays, gulp… over 30 years later, the Algarve has so much more to offer.
Over 7 million tourists visit every year, being situated in the south of the country with guaranteed sunshine and over 140 miles of coastline, unspoilt beaches with crystal clear waters and some of Europe's best golf courses you can see why. Also, there're plenty of theme parks to visit making it perfect for a family holiday. I got involved with this (much to the enjoyment of the crew) with one of my finest pieces to camera by going down a water slide with a go-pro (when in Rome…).
But there's a lot more to the Algarve than tourism, the growing of almonds, fantastic oranges and olive groves are equally as important. If you’ve not tried Portuguese olive oil I urge you, it's some of the finest in the world and it's also home to piri piri chili. Known as peri-peri in Africa and most commonly as the bird's eye chilli, Columbus brought this fiery fruit with him to the continent and has been a staple on the Portuguese tables ever since. In fact so much so, they sailed with it on their travels whilst conquering the world. Nowadays it’s found all over Portugal along with coriander mainly due its versatility when used with poultry, pork, seafood and fish. And from the versatility of this pepper came piri piri sauce. Made as a marinade or seasoning, it differs throughout the country with its main ingredients being a combination of chillies, oil, citrus and herbs. It can even be made including alcohol and meat fat.
I’ve been discovering that Portuguese cuisine unlike their neighbours, they love chillis and are never afraid to spice up a dish. It works perfectly in hot climate served with a cold beverage which is why I’ve chosen a quick and simple take on Piri Piri Chicken. Perfect for a BBQ, especially if you’ve not had time to marinade and want more spice than your usual standard BBQ chicken fare.
Behind the scenes: On a tight schedule we arrived at Olhos De Agua and set up our #todaysoffice on the cliffs overlooking the sea. However as you can see by my last picture, we were totally unprepared for the mist that greeted us coming from the sea, making it totally unfilmable (especially if you're filming a piece based on great summer locations). We regrouped, found a nearby hotel and rescheduled to shoot again first thing in the morning just when the sun was rising. During re-shoot, in the early morning sun, again, we were hit by the mist halfway through. But as they say... the show must go on!