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Leitão à Bairrada, a centuries-old tradition in Portugal

Nowadays it is one of the 7 Wonders of Portuguese Gastronomy, but the golden and crispy skin with soft, tender and moist meat underneath has long been a delight for the Portuguese people.

The tradition is so old that it is impossible to know for sure where it began. However, the theory that has gained the most consensus relates this delicious dish to the houses in Bairrada which, with an oven in the kitchen, created several dishes based on it.

Although there is a first recipe very similar to that of Bairrada suckling pig in the “Cadernos de Refeitório, a conventual manuscript”, from 1743, it is known, however, that until 1910 suckling pig was rarely part of most people's diet, being eaten only on really important dates.

Cabidela de Leitão, however, was already highly appreciated in the 19th century. However, its recipe was quite different between the poorer social class, who only ate the sauce and potatoes that were baked in a clay pot, and the nobles, who cooked it with the pig's offal on a tray that they put in the oven. , at the same time as the suckling pig was roasted.

In the 20th century, suckling pig seems to have become fashionable, continuing to be a typical dish for more special festivals, such as Christmas or Easter, but gaining prominence not only on other occasions but also in various regions of the country.

In September 2011 it became one of the 7 Gastronomic Wonders of Portugal and, nowadays, it can be found with the same quality in both Bairrada and Lisbon or the Algarve.

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