Francesinha: Our First Taste of Portugal’s Iconic Sandwich

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A closer look at a Francesinha

Whilst at the St Albans Christmas Market, Jade and I were surprised to be offered a portion of something neither of us had ever heard of. What we initially thought was a slice of lasagne turned out to be a portion of Francesinha, a traditional Portuguese sandwich originating from the city of Porto.

Taste the Height
Taste the Height

For Hugo, the gentlemen who kindly offered us the sample, his stall ‘Little Frenchie’ is currently a weekend hobby that he hopes can grow into a business. He told us, “the name of the dish translates to ‘Little French girl’, so I thought I’d call my business, ‘Little Frenchie’.”

In the chilly air, the dish was a welcome injection of warmth and comfort. Between two slices of cheese-topped bread were layers of ham, pastrami, chorizo and sausage. Then, ladled over the top of everything was a delicious beer-based tomato gravy, the recipe of which Hugo wouldn’t reveal as it was top secret.

A tasty slice of Francesinha
A tasty slice of Francesinha

It tasted as good as it looks & sounds! Despite the sandwich swimming in sauce, the bread wasn’t soggy and kept its integrity. Jade and I scoffed the lot and appreciated it as a perfect pick-me-up, especially in the cold, wintry air.

The UK isn’t short of places to grab a sandwich. Heck, we invented them! But Hugo is offering a variation that he quite rightly says isn’t very common and, luckily, is also really tasty.

Hopefully we’ll soon be seeing ‘Little Frenchie’ stands all over the country in no time.

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