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TAP’s New Business Class Menus Showcase Portugal’s Finest Cuisine

This is a flight for foodies

Chef Cláudio Pontes / Photo: Courtesy of TAP Portugal

A partnership with The Art of Tasting Portugal, TAP’s Local Stars Project brings the best Portuguese cuisine to the air with new Business Class menus on long-haul flights departing from Lisbon. Served on porcelain dinnerware by Vista Alegre and accompanied by a selection of exclusively Portuguese wines, the fare has dazzled and educated passengers by giving them the chance to taste ingredients from each region of the country.

Chef Noélia Jerónimo / Photo: Courtesy of TAP Portugal

I recently visited the catering facilities where TAP prepares its meals, an impressive look behind the scenes. After going through the purchasing, preparation, packaging and storing processes, we sat down for a complete lunch, which I was later able to compare to a meal at 38,000 feet. Aboard a brand-new A330-900neo, I enjoyed chef Noélia Jerónimo’s additions to the already pleasant Business Class menu. As a starter, a fish croquette served cold with a curry and mango sauce tasted freshly prepared. Next came a delicious Algarve-style octopus, perfectly braised to juicy tenderness in red wine, garlic, onion and paprika and served with diced sweet potatoes and baby broccoli. I could not believe that it gained flavor after being heated in the galley of the aircraft, tasting better than what I had on land, a dish of restaurant quality. To accompany this lunch, I tasted two whites, the full-body Redondo Reserva from Alentejo and the Portal da Calçada Loureiro & Alvarinho Vinho Verde, and a red, the Periquita Reserva, Península de Setúbal, which also paired well with a dessert of cheese and Algarvian almond mousse.

Micaelense-style veal tenderloin with São Jorge cheese / Photo; Courtesy of Tap Portugal

Born on the island of São Miguel, chef Cláudio Pontes represents the Azores, where the São Jorge cheese, a product dating back many centuries, is one of the most emblematic flavors of this enchanting archipelago. With that in mind, chef Pontes creates an appetizer of slightly seared Azores tuna with arugula and São Jorge cheese, followed by Micaelense-style veal tenderloin, São Jorge cheese and pak choi.

Chef Henrique Sá Pessoa / Photo: Courtesy of TAP Portugal

The wine program supports 24 local Portuguese suppliers, featuring 43 wines from eight regions, providing passengers one of the best wine experiences in the skies. Other participating chefs include Lisbon-born two-Michelin-starred Henrique Sá Pessoa, whose menu features a roasted grouper with shrimp and sweet-potato stew, octopus salad, and a pear, cinnamon and chocolate brownie. From the north of Portugal where chestnuts reign, chef Óscar Geadas pays tribute with a uniquely homey stewed veal with chestnut puree and seasonal mushrooms, in this case the fragrant boletus. The one-Michelin-starred Diogo Rocha from the Viseu region offers a traditional cod with creamed potatoes and spinach and a starter of guinea fowl with roasted seasonal asparagus, while from Madeira, chef Júlio Pereira enhances a veal sirloin with corn and cabbage puree with Madeira sugarcane molasses. Truly, flying in TAP’s Business Class is now a culinary adventure.