Gastronomy UCCN cities

Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and Macau (China)

The preparation, citizens’ engagement and design of the application of Santa Maria da Feira to UCCN application 2021 favoured the contact with UNESCO Gastronomic Cities of Belo Horizonte (Brazil) and Macau (China).

The contact was made by informative webinars on 23 November 2020 with Belo Horizonte and Macau. The exchange of information about gastronomic heritage and the sharing of ideas and procedures with these two cities - which are already at UCCN - was decisive in motivating and boosting our gastronomic sector that was either affected by covid 19 crisis, and also very open to new ideas and adaptations.

Belo Horizonte


Fogaceiras Festival and Portuguese cuisine in the World

Fogaceiras Festival is a symbol of union for Feirense citizens’ based on the vow to St. Sebastian since 1500 and the sweet bread Fogaça, who’s first known references appear in the inquiries of D. Afonso III, in the 13th century (1254/1284) and which was used as payment for fees. Fogaça shape stylizes the castle's keep with its four spires.

As in the past, today the people of the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira – and the Feirenses worldwide migrants - have the opportunity to express the cult to St. Sebastian in a festival that is, above all, a symbol of union and collective identity.

The tradition dictates that on the Fogaceiras Festival people offer Fogaças to family and friends who are far away.


Casa da Vila da Feira e Terras de Santa Maria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Since 1953, Casa da Vila da Feira, an entity founded by Portuguese migrants, organizes the Fogaceiras Festival promoting the history, traditions, and emotional attachment to Santa Maria da Feira.

A silver replica of the castle, which inside contains some earth from its Praça de Armas, is transported annually by a little girl, on the Sunday closest to 20 of January. Other girls follow her, also dressed in white, with the Fogaça on their heads.

For the residents of Rio de Janeiro, this moment is lived with great intensity. The program of the Fogaceiras Festival, which aims to recreate this festival as faithfully as possible, includes a religious ceremony, which takes place at the Igreja dos Capuchinhos, and the traditional procession, from the Church to Casa Vila da Feira and Terras de Santa Maria, responsible for organization of the Festival. Portuguese cuisine is served at lunchtime and in the afternoon the migrants and Brazilians enjoy the Portuguese folklore and samba.


Associação da Comunidade Portuguesa de Pretória, África do Sul

Since 1986, Portuguese immigrants and residents from the city of Pretoria, South Africa, celebrate the Fogaceiras Festival. Every year, on the Sunday following January 20, thirty-one children, dressed in white and with a banner identifying each parish of the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira, carry the Fogaça on their heads, parading in procession inside the Association of the Portuguese Community of Pretoria (ACCP). The Festival has exclusively civic characteristics and starts with a Portuguese traditional lunch, followed by folklore. The Fogaças carried before by children are auctioned in favour of the ACCP cultural activities.


Associação Civil Amigos de Terras de Santa Maria, Caracas, Venezuela

The initiative came from a group of Portuguese migrants who decided to celebrate the secular feast of the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira in the city of Caracas. To this end, they created the Civil association Amigos de Terras de Santa Maria da Feira and, in 2000, they recreated locally, for the first time, the Fogaceiras Festival on the Sunday after the 20th January. The celebration includes a religious ceremony in the chapel of the Portuguese Centre of Caracas, followed by a procession in honour of the martyr St. Sebastian, in which girls dressed in white carry the Fogaças on their heads. Portuguese cuisine is served at lunchtime and in the afternoon citizens enjoy the Portuguese and Venezuelan folklore.

The World cuisine in Santa Maria da Feira

The Municipality of Santa Maria da Feira has 139 312 inhabitants and the immigrant community is less than 1%. The major communities are Brazilian, Venezuelan and Ukrainian. Every family in the municipality has some family relative that lived or is living in this countries as well as in the Portuguese speaking countries or regions in Africa or Asia.

Brazilian community

In general, Brazilians choose Portugal to live because the communication is easy as the language is the same, others came to find out their family origins. The Brazilian community is the biggest in Santa Maria da Feira, and they came to study, to live or to find job opportunities available in the city, not forgetting the quality of life and safety for children and families.

In this regard, Brazilian cuisine ingredients are seen in supermarkets and the specific gastronomy is served in several Brazilian restaurants in the city. Popular Brazilian delicacies are feijoada à brasileira, tapiocas, açaí, picanha, tropical fruits and the beverage caipirinha.


Venezuelan Community

The Centro Social Luso Venezolano was born in 1984 by a group of friends (newly arrived from Venezuela) who wanted to make a dream come true for all of those who fight and work across borders to honour the Portuguese name. The centre is a space dedicated to everyone who wants to live and get to know the true essence of associativism and good friendship. The Centre is open to everyone who wants to taste Venezuelan delicacies, do parties like weddings, exhibitions, conferences or do physical exercise.

After 2015, there has been a growing number Venezuelan Portuguese migrants who returned to Portugal and Santa Maria da Feira, looking for a better quality of life - for themselves, their children and grandchildren – searching for a peaceful and security environment.

In terms of gastronomy, there are more and more restaurants, cafes, bars or catering services specialized in Venezuelan menus that spread throughout the territory, offering delicacies such as: tequeños de queijo e de cachapa, arepas queso, hallacas, jamon, perico, atun, pollo, peluda, catira, empanadas carne mechada.


Ukranian Community

In the 90’s of the 20th Century, the majority of the Ukrainian community came to Portugal and to Santa Maria da Feira mainly for economic and political reasons or family regrouping. The vast majority of Ukrainian workers are in high demand in the Portuguese labour market, given their high educational level and diligent profile. Ukrainian most famous dish is Borscht, a traditional sweet and sour soup made with beets, cabbage, garlic and dill, and served with a dollop of sour cream and rye bread.


Asian and African Gastronomy

Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea, Mozambique, S. Tomé and Príncipe, Goa, Damão and Diu are part of the Portuguese itinerant territories of the gastronomic “takes and brings”. The exchange of different ingredients and food preparation techniques enriched the African and Asian cuisine, which in return - with the end of colonialism - made possible the emergence of exotic flavours that are highly appreciated in Portugal, brought by those who returned or by those who arrived in Portugal. Delicacies that started to be shared within the family, gave rise to restaurant businesses, mainly in urban areas. African and Asian cuisine is associated to muamba, cachupa, moqueca, chicken curry, shrimp curry, fish and dried meat, samosas, etc.