Spices are absolutely important in the Portuguese cooking process. Local dishes besides the freshness of the ingredients have such historical influence from spices. As you probably already read somewhere, the Portuguese had an amazing influence during the Age of Discoveries establishing trade routes between Continents and Countries or regions. Portuguese had global influence Worldwide but also influence the local gastronomy of other countries.
You should choose the best quality spices possible to find and you will find them on food specialized food stores on in any local spice shop. In some countries is possible you might find difficult some of the Portuguese food ingredients.
However, you can always move to other options, since the country has an amazing diversification of dish options.
Today is commonly used in desserts in many cuisines. Originally from Sri Lanka, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, is obtained from the inner part of the bark of its trunk. The funny fact is that the trade was established as 1 kg of Cinnamon has a worth of 10 gr of gold. Nowadays, you will find cinnamon in some local dishes and cakes or sweets, such as the famous Pastéis de Nata.
Every Portuguese dish has a pinch of salt (and it is one of the top 5 Portuguese ingredients while cooking). There is salt production in the country and you will find top quality of sea salt which is slightly different but always give excellent flavor.
Originally from African coasts, the pepper is integrated into Angolan and Mozambican cuisine, which has also an impact on Portuguese cooking. We love to feel spicy food, not in excess, but that flavor that you taste all ingredients and of course the Piri Piri . The most emblematic dish is perhaps Piri Piri Chichen, however it is also used on many other local dishes such as fish stews, meat dishes. There are several recipes of Piri Piri sauce, which is difficult to acquire in North America. You will find perhaps in the major Portuguese communities, such as New Jersey (USA) or Toronto (Canada). Here you will find it in small bottles.
Originally from ex-Portuguese colonies, exploration and training, Paprika is made with dried red peppers. You will find it in all local shops and supermarkets related to food, due to his influence on Portuguese gastronomy. Smoked or sweeter, depending nowadays on their origin, however, will serve most of the Portuguese cooking needs.
It is a must to have on the Portuguese cuisines. Bay Leaves will be present in almost every stew or part of the soups cooking process. You will find them in the countryside. While touring around the country. The leaves are more powerful dried than fresh and usually they are cooked and take out. By default, the leaves are not digestive.
Market Tour in Portugal is a journey to the world of senses, discovering the Portuguese ingredients in the market stalls. You will be able to engage with locals, making questions, and always with a professional chef with you to visit the local market.