No vacation time? Passport expired? You can still enjoy the flavors of Portugal, right here in New England.
With a long history of emigration to New England, Portugal, The Azores (an autonomous archipelago region of Portugal), and Cape Verde (an African island nation and former colony of Portugal), each has a significant cultural imprint in our region, especially in Southeastern Massachusetts and coastal Rhode Island. In fact, the country’s highest concentration of Portuguese Americans is in those two states, with Connecticut a not-too-distant third.
So, from vibrant festivals, fishing fleet blessings, food fairs, and musical events, there are myriad ways to celebrate the essence and character of Portuguese culture locally.
Restaurants & Bakeries:
Year-round, Portuguese restaurants offer specialties such as seafood stews, dishes made with spicy chouriço and linguiça sausages, salted cod, and caldo verde soup. Amazing aromas of classic Portuguese sweet bread, pastel de nata, and malassadas; a deep-fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, will also draw you into the many Portuguese bakeries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
New Bedford: Antonio’s Restaurant
Provincetown: Provincetown Portuguese Bakery
Pawtucket: Matos Bakery
Bridgeport: O’Manel restaurant
Hartford: O’Camelo restaurant
Dive more fully into the spirit of Portugal by attending one of the area’s lively festivals, which often coincide with Catholic holidays, or center around the historically Portuguese-influenced fishing industry.
The Feast of the Holy Ghost (Fall River, MA)
Festa De Sao Joao (Waterbury, CT)
Music & Culture:
Finally, soak in the aural atmosphere of Fado, a soulful vocal musical genre from Portugal, or the guitar-heavy Morna, Cape Verde’s signature folk music. You can often find live performances of both of these genres at Portuguese and Cape Verdean restaurants as well as at special events at venues like New Bedford’s Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, and the Saab Center for Portuguese Studies at UMASS Lowell, which in addition to events, offers numerous courses in Portuguese language, arts, and culture.