A Taste of Portugal–my New Spice Blend

A Taste of Portugal, my first spice blend, is bursting with the flavors I grew up with: smoked paprika, garlic, citrus, bay leaf, piri piri chiles, coriander, red wine, and more. It’ll amp-up any of your dishes with just a spoonful or two.

Three bottles A Taste of Portugal spice blend on a terracotta surface
: David Leite

I’ve been sitting on this for almost a year and was THIS CLOSE to becoming apoplectic from holding it in. But I can finally share the great news with all of you. Leite’s Culinaria has put out our first spice blend. It’s called A Taste of Portugal. We partnered with the wonderful spice company World Spice Merchants, which handcrafted the blend from my recipe.

Why did you create A Taste of Portugal?

As a kid, I loved watching the women in my family cook. And for so many dishes, they used the same ingredients that created the incomparable, ubiquitous flavors of my childhood. When I wrote my cookbook, The New Portuguese Table, it seemed to me there had to be an easier way to get the same flavors without having to start from scratch every time. That’s when I created a spice paste that evolved into this spice blend. It has all the familiar, comforting flavors of Portugal in one jar. The mix is an homage to my family’s wonderful cooks and their dishes.

Click to buy A Taste of Portugal

Visit World Spice Merchants (and only World Spice Merchants) to get your share of this Portuguese flavor bomb. And if this is your first time buying from them, you’ll get 10% off your entire order. A perfect time to stock up on all your favorite kitchen staples.

What’s in A Taste of Portugal spice blend?

a bowl of A Taste of Portugal spice blend on a slate surface
: World Spice Merchants

The ingredient list reads like one of Mama Leite’s shopping lists: tomato powder, sea salt, paprika, parsley, smoked paprika, coriander, garlic, bay leaf, red-wine vinegar powder, lemon, white pepper, and dried piri piri peppers. You’ll notice there are no weird or hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Everything in the jar is all-natural and pure.

Not only that, but all the ingredients are directly sourced by Amanda Bevill, the owner of the company. The blend is artisanally made, which means is ground, blended, and bottled by hand. And unlike other spice blends manufactured by big companies, which–by law–can sit on warehouse shelves for three years, my blend is made in very small batches so it couldn’t be fresher if you made it yourself.

How do I use the spice blend?

A bowl of shrimp cooked with a Taste of Portugal spice blend.
: exclusive design

It’s easier to ask how not to use it! Each 4-ounce jar packs about 1 1/2 cups (or 24 tablespoons) into it. One of my all-time favorite uses (above) is to saute large shrimp in olive oil and butter. Just when they’re done, add a few more tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of ATOP. Swirl the skillet and it’s dinner time. Make sure to have plenty of crusty bread on hand for dipping!

I’ve also used the spice blend in marinades for Portuguese pork and clams or my mom’s carne assada, swirled it into olive oil for a dipping sauce, and rubbed it on meats that I smoked or grilled. You can spoon some into broths, such as my clams and sausage in a cataplana, and brines for extra flavor.

Portuguese Vinho Verde Mussels
Crisp and fresh Vinho Verde is a classic Portuguese wine, an ideal choice to pair with A Taste of Portugal.
: World Spice Merchants

Jamie Aragonez, the chef at World Spice Merchants, came up with the amazing vinho verde mussels above.

As she writes, “This bowl is full of fresh summer ingredients and the robust flavor from A Taste of Portugal brings it all together. Tomato and smoky paprika combine with parsley and bay leaf to make a base accented with citrus and a kiss of heat from Portuguese piri piri chiles.

“The flavors infuse the sauce, so don’t skimp on the crusty bread! This easy recipe is great for a quick weeknight meal for two people, or it can be batched for a crowd.

The sauce, with its smokiness and mild heat, brings everything together. In the unlikely event that you have leftover mussels, shell them and use the sauce on pasta or rice.”

What dishes have you made with the spice blend?

Three bottles A Taste of Portugal spice blend on a terracotta surface

Have you bought your bottle of A Taste of Portugal? If you have, thank you! Now, tell me what you’ve made with it? Send your inspiration, photos, and recipes. I want to see them all!

David Signature



  1. Ok… so I just couldn’t resist sharing one more creation using “A Taste of Portugal” spice blend…this is my rendition of Portuguese Pork and clams. In this case, I used the spice blend in the cubed pork tenderloin marinade and then in the pork and clam sauce. Mwah!

  2. Congratulations, David!

    Let me start by sharing that my first jar is almost empty. I also smugly confess that even though I’m pretty good at recreating traditional Portuguese flavours, I’m enjoying the mischievous feeling of cheating a little…but, hey, when it’s great quality, a spice blend is not really cheating. 😉

    This dish was incredibly gratifying to make and devour. For this roasted chicken and potatoes, I made a paste using ATOP and adding some of the same ingredients in the fresh form including a bit of red wine. I find that by blooming spice mixes, the flavours are enhanced and this one did not disappoint. The paste creation also enabled “slathering” satisfaction. The aromas in my kitchen certainly stirred childhood memories of our family Sunday dinners. As for the flavours, these were truly a “Taste of Portugal”!

    Thank you!

    P.S. By the way, I also used ATOP for a Portuguese version of eggplant involtini, roasted pepper squash, and I made a fabulous Portuguese pork and clams dish but I can only upload one photo so here’s my Portuguese roasted chicken and potatoes.

    1. Ilda, Ilda Ilda! I am blown away! That chicken looks gorgeous! And coming from you, a Portuguese cook, I’m flattered and humbled by your comments. Muito obrigado!

  3. Love it! Mixed 2 tablespoons with 1/2 cup softened butter. Spread it liberally under the skin of a yard bird (chicken) and all over the skin. Smoked with cherry wood, it was very yummilicious! Congratulations on the wonderful blend!

  4. Question to the general floor, but definitely aimed primarily at Mr Leite – have you heard of someone on YouTube named Beryl Sheresewsky? If not, she is absolutely worth looking up – not just a good content creator, but an all-round lovely young lady. She used to be part of Great Big Story before it folded, and afterwards she began running her own YouTube channel.

    Her general gist is going around the world in her kitchen as an average Jo, and someone interested in the stories behind the food. An episode would take either an ingredient or a general meal concept (so think potatoes, bread, bananas, coffee, corned beef etc.) and test out about five different takes from around the world (one episode she tackled the MidWest since she reckoned she misunderstood the eating there – lovely, humble lady; it encouraged me to make a couple of MidWestern casseroles myself).

    Through each segment, it is a random person from elsewhere in the world (i.e. either living in their country, or residing as a resident elsewhere but acknowledging their heritage – for example, I would do English or Irish in that instance). A brief story is given every time, and Beryl tries it out for herself. While food is ultimately food, and no-one is a gatekeeper, it is still fascinating to hear how it came about. Fire Engine (yes, that is what it is called) from Bahamas is one such example, a situation I could never imagine myself in.

    She has done a few examples from Portgual (coffee, New Year’s Eve, drunk, oranges in case interested), and there is no reason more can come from there. Or even if she plans eating a whole day Portuguese, that could be a good collaboration. I’m not sure where you can look up what episode she is doing next, but it would make for some good exposure for this website. Plus, your story could make for something interesting.

    Just thought I shoot that thought out there.

  5. Any plans for marketing through a Canadian spice purveyor? It would be nice to see it easily available in Canada as well.

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