Cookery & Recipes

The most significant finding in relation to Cape Verdean cuisine at the beginning of its history is that for a long time there were two different diet regimes, not so much because of the obvious double origin of the (European / African) population, at the time, very rooted, that the Europeans failed to resist the African diet, as well as the Africans to the Mediterranean.

While Europeans continued to depend on the bread / wine / oil triad, with regular supplies from Portugal and Spain, Africans fed on maize and rice, loaded with slaves, during the monthly supply on the banks of the mainland rivers. Naturally, these diets formed the basis and were complemented with meat (meat and goat), vegetables and fruits, produced in relative abundance in the most fertile areas of Ribeira Grande, as well as dried fruits, cheese and honey, added wheat, wine and oil. Portuguese capital.

Although the food was abundant and varied in the first centuries of the formation of the people of Cape Verde, it was the Negroes who had to adapt more to the changes: not because of lack of food, but because the cultural aspect of their gastronomy was changed. Indeed, in the societies of origin, people in West Africa used to eat frequently (six times a day), and each time in small quantities, and food intake varied according to the circumstances they experienced, family or community events . For the stages of personal life, such as deaths, rebirths, local festivals, entry into puberty or menarche, etc. There was a ritual aspect of eating that was lost or altered by different customs, originating in the Kingdom of Portugal, which quickly changed the food wheel of the entire population of Cape Verde.

For demands on the performance of slave labor, the frequency of meals passed to three or even two per day, without any concern to respect the eating habits of Africans, even in their most strictly ritual aspect, which would have liked to be carried by the rivers of Guinea also a set of condiments that Cape Verde had only available much later, thanks to new agricultural crops. However, it is important to note that despite this important alteration of the rhythm and diet, this seems to have always been abundant during the period of the original rooting of the Cape Verdean people in Ribeira Grande, at which point it seems possible to apply the biblical expression who described Palestine as the “land where milk and honey flow”. It is known that such abundance would not last for centuries, as the population began to spread on the island of Santiago, Fogo and Maio, and the fugitives found themselves in need of assaulting the populations organized in villages or in the same city of Ribeira Grande to survive.

Later, with the attacks of the corsairs to the city, was the own city that underwent an era of hunger, incapable of defending and to the mercy of all the aggressors. The great famines, which for a century or two had wiped out the population, made this initial period of abundance an ever more distant memory until the middle of the twentieth century, when public assistance began to be organized, and from independence to construction of an economic and social organization attentive to the citizens of all the islands.

Over the centuries, Cape Verdean cuisine has been continuously enriched, thanks to the new variations of flavors imported from the East and Brazil (thanks to the many ships that arrived in Ribeira Grande), and progressively, the Cape Verdean diet became more rich and sophisticated, in particular with the inclusion of different spices, the influence of Chinese and Indian cuisine, which brought marinated dishes and various mixtures of herbs with vegetables, meats, crustaceans, fish and other seasonings, at a table that today is rich, instead varied and always tasty, concluded with sweets, fruit, liqueurs and tea or coffee. Numerous dishes, almost always delicious, are the result of the Creole culinary tradition developed more than 500 years ago. Being this presentation of Cape Verdean gastronomy only a brief description of some of its specialties, it is worthwhile that you receive some of the many recipes published on this portal to get a richer idea. This homemade cooking tradition is slowly transposed to catering, especially hotels, as Cape Verde becomes an increasingly visited country by both tourists and people driven by economic interests. Cape Verdeans themselves are also becoming aware of their great cultural value. As you can see, there is also the potential to offer excellent quality dishes and culinary refinement in more and more numerous restaurants.

Cape Verde offers a wide selection of sea food. Cape Verdean cuisine offers several different dishes of seafood, fish and seafood. Lobster, bedbugs, patella, tuna, greenhouse, whale, not to mention the famous Buzio. Fresh tuna cooked in stew, or simple grilled onions are basic ingredients that contribute to making Cape Verde’s cuisine rich in natural dishes. The base of Cape Verdean cuisine is corn, prepared in different ways, usually accompanied by pork, beans, cassava and sweet potatoes. The most famous and appreciated dish is Cachupa, the national dish, emblematic of Cape Verde. Also we do not forget corn starch, couscous and corn cake. Cape Verde also provides home-scented and famous liquor, such as the Pontche and the Grogue. Below you will find recipes belonging to all the islands.