Maria’s Cultural Gastronomy

So I’d really like to know where the summer has gone?!? It is all ready almost halfway through August and I’m just trying to catch up from July!

I’m finally getting the chance to sit down and really absorb the experience I had at Maria’s Cultural Gastronomy for her Portuguese dinner event.

Maria Joao Galvao Photo Courtesy of Megan Acuna

Eight of us gathered at Maria’s home, located north of Seattle, Washington, where we learned how to cook and enjoy a traditional Portuguese dinner.

Driving down for the event, I had no idea what the evening would truly entail. I was meeting up with several other area bloggers, several of which I’ve followed, but none of which I’d really spent much time with other than a quick wave of acknowledgement at an event. I arrived and was immediately greeted by Maria and I felt that this was going to be one of those times I would be so glad I said “Yes!” You know those times, right?

Once we all arrived and introduced ourselves, we were shown around Maria’s beautiful home. The night truly began when we entered the kitchen and Maria took us step-by-step through the process of making the main dish, Seafood Cataplana.

A Portuguese cataplana is the name for both the pot and the dish we were going to make. A cataplana is the precursor of the pressure cooker. It has two halves that are connected with hinges on one side and then locks together, creating an airtight pot for cooking.

Maria showed us how to season our fish and then layer the seafood, vegetables, and potatoes. Here’s my favorite part, once she had shown us how to do a layer she handed over the cooking to us and allowed us to finish both the first pot as well as start and finish a second pot. It was so much fun! Much laughter ensued.

When the main dish was set to cook, we learned how to flame grill a Spanish sausage. I don’t know who had more fun, Maria in teaching us or Gavin who was allowed to start the fire! All I know is that it was simply delicious and now I need to find the traditional ceramic dish she used as well as that amazing sausage! It was OMGosh so yummy with a bit of kick!

Trying not to fill our bellies with bread and sausage, we transitioned to the dining room where we learned all about setting a traditional Portuguese table. I loved learning all about another culture, their traditions and Maria was a font of information, sharing it all. We then settled in the dining room and began our next course of the light and refreshing gazpacho. Several toppings were set around the table for us to add a little extra to our gazpacho as we wished. I opted for a spoonful of peppers and some croutons with a splash of hot sauce.

Conversations began between us all and after a while as we learned more about each other and became comfortable, laughter could be heard continuously. A multitude of photographs were taken by us all. What did you expect with a bunch of bloggers?

Finally the seafood cataplana was ready and was served. How to describe it? A light broth, with fresh fish and vegetables. Think a fish stew. As summer was in full swing, this was wonderfully refreshing. I love dishes that fill you up without being heavy. Although I wanted several more helpings, and yes I did have seconds, I wanted to save room for dessert.

Y’all know my favorite part of a meal is the dessert. When we had arrived I had noticed on the side buffet was what I thought might be our dessert. A quick look at the menu as others arrived and I knew. I was so glad I had left room for dessert. Molotof is a light and fluffy egg white pudding drizzled with caramel sauce, need I say more? Along with this wonderful concoction, we were served assorted fresh fruit, glasses of Portuguese port wines and espresso.

During our entire meal we learned so much! Not only about the cooking and the types of foods we were eating, but about the culture and the meanings behind so many things that get lost in the translation of our fast-paced American culture. We took our time enjoying your new-found friends and learning more about Maria and her family and her amazing life.

If you are looking for amazing experience, a team building event or a gathering that you’ll never forget, book an evening at Maria’s Cultural Gastronomy. She has so many options available, you are bound to find one that you’ll love!

  • A Cultural Gastronomy Dinner where you learn the dining culture of a foreign country while enjoying a delicious original meal made served and shared by a native of the featured country.
  • A Cultural Gastronomy Cooking Class where you learn to cook the meal from a foreign country as Maria teaches you to build a cultural dinner.
  • Also available are Mixology classes, Pig Roasts, Children’s Etiquette Classes, Build a Birthday Together, Specialty Dinners, Sunday Brunches and a fun evening called Weird Food for Weird People!
  • Maria is also available to act as a tour director and guide to many different countries.
Marcie, Maria and Me! Photo Courtesy of Megan Acuna

What an amazing woman! It was definitely an evening I won’t forget!!

Learn more about Maria Joao Galvao and scheduling an event with Maria’s Cultural Gastronomy by contacting her at 206-334-4014 or check out:

Special thanks to Megan Acuna @meganacuna & @meganacunadigitialmedia who helped to coordinate this event. If you’d like to follow all of the other wonderful bloggers I met this evening here they are:

And ME! @peppyfitfoodie !

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