In Porto, discussion and obsession over the mighty Francesinha is nothing new. Different families and restaurants have their own recipes dating back to time immemorial, but the basic structure of the sandwich stays the same. Listed as one of the top 10 sandwiches on the planet, cherished as a local tradition and the topic of many an argument concerning which location in Porto serves the best, the Francesinha is certain to hold a place in one’s heart long after they’ve left Porto.
What makes a truly impressive Francesinha? Bread quality is key. The spiciness of the mohlo de francesinha (or Francesinha sauce) is another incredibly important component. The style of cheese utilised (and manner of cooking, either traditional or al horno – from the oven, pictured above) determines whether it adheres to the bread, or rests gently atop it, like a friendly neighbour, helping everything bind together in a harmonious way. And of course, there is the quality and selection of the meats comprising the sandwich. Some restaurants are clearly paying more attention to detail in the construction of their Francesinhas, and both restauranteurs and customers alike are richly rewarded.
Francesinha must be eaten with a side of French fries, topped with egg and served with a frosty pint of draft beer. Anything else is unworthy of the noble Francesinha.
Able to finish your Francesinha in one sitting? Reward yourself with a much-deserved nap. Your stomach will most certainly thank you.