Portuguese cuisine is characterized by rich, filling and full-flavored dishes and is closely related to Mediterranean cuisine. The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used.

These spices include piri piri (small, fiery chili peppers) and black pepper, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine both for cooking and flavoring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs such as coriander and parsley.

Portugal is a seafaring nation with a well-developed fishing industry and this is reflected in the amount of fish and seafood eaten. The country has Europe's highest fish consumption per capita and is among the top four in the world for this indicator. Fish is served grilled, boiled (including poached and simmered), fried or deep-fried, stewed (often in clay pot cooking) or even roasted.

Foremost amongst these is bacalhau (cod), which is the type of fish most consumed in Portugal. It is said that there are more than 365 ways to cook cod, one for every day of the year.

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