Only a Few Days Left for Central Market’s Celebration of Portugal

Central Market in Houston

If you’ve not been to Central Market lately, you might not know that H-E-B’s store geared for gourmands is in the midst of celebrating the ingredients and dishes of Portugal. The Houston location at 3815 Westheimer is packed with enough Portuguese ingredients, foods and wines to warm any foodie’s heart — but there are only a few days left to enjoy it. The event is in its final days and ends on Tuesday, September 26. 

The focus on Portugal marks the return of Central Market’s Passport Events after a five-year hiatus. Previous countries showcased include Greece, Italy, France and Brazil, just to name a few. Featured Portuguese ingredients are in practically every area of the store, and include imported wine, spices, coffee, cheeses, pasta, fresh meats and seafood.

A sample basket included some items that we wouldn’t first think of Portugal for, including a spice blend for meats, strawberry jam, potato sticks (used in a famous Portuguese dish with dried, salted cod called bacalhau à brás) and mineral water. We are, of course, likely to think of Portugal first when it comes to its famous imported Vinho Verde wine, olive oil and tinned fish

Portuguese foods from Central Market
A selection of Portuguese foods currently featured at Central Market, including imported Vinho Verde wine, spice blend for meats, tinned fish, strawberry jam, olive oil, potato sticks (used in a famous Portuguese dish with dried, salted cod called bacalhau à brás) and mineral water. In the back is the cookbook “The New Portuguese Table” by David Leite. Photo by Cuc Lam.

Through the event (especially this weekend), customers will get to sample items throughout the store. The cooking school is hosting some fun and off-the-beaten-path events, too. On Saturday, September 23, it pays homage to Lisbon nightclubs with a free silent disco. Dancers aged 21 and up will be able to refuel their energy with a selection of Portuguese appetizers and wines

On Sunday, September 24, it’s the kids’ turn, as the cooking school hosts Parent & Child: A Portuguese Meal. Kids must be aged 7 to 17 to participate. The parent-child teams will practice the basics of cooking as they learn to make pao estendido (baked Portuguese flatbread), arroz com frango (Portuguese chicken and rice), cenoura com limao (lemon carrots), esparregado (sautéed greens) and Jesuitas (almond cream triangles). Class starts promptly at 3 p.m. and lasts until 5:30 p.m. The cost is $70 plus a $4.53 online ticket fee for a parent with up to two kids. As of press time, only 10 tickets remained. 

The final hands-on class of the Passport Portugal event teaches adults 18 and up how to create a vegetarian meal. It’s called Meatless Meals: The Flavors of Portugal, and students will learn how to make sopa de tomate (tomato soup with onions and mint), salada de feijao frande com maca (black-eyed pea, red pepper and apple salad), arroz de grelos (garlic and turnip green rice with piri piri oil) and ananas caramelizado (caramelized pineapple slices). Participants 21 and up will also get to enjoy a glass of wine with the meal. Tickets cost $75.00+$4.68 Fee. As of publication time, 11 tickets were left. 

Central Market in Houston is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Curbside pickup and delivery are available until 8 p.m., and for a quick bite or sip before shopping, the café opens an hour earlier at 7 a.m. 

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