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Worldwide Gastronomy Habits & Trends

Tosta Mista – The Portuguese Grilled Cheese Sandwich

ByFranziska Dietz

Feb 15, 2022

We all probably know the kind of days, when you just really, really need the combination of bread and melted cheese, right? If you are looking for new inspiration in making grilled cheese sandwiches, the Portuguese classic Tosta Mista might be exactly what you are looking for. It complies all features of a classic grilled cheese sandwich but stands out with few, but exquisite ingredients typical of Portugal. If you want to learn more about its ingredients and find out, how to make Portuguese Tosta Mista, read on!

What Is A Tosta Mista?

Tosta Mista can best be described as Portugal’s version of a ham and cheese melt. It is a popular choice for lunch or a breakfast after a night of drinking. Also, if you ever see a Portuguese eat something else than cake for breakfast, it is most likely either Tosta com manteiga – bread with butter – or a Tosta Mista.

And Tosta Mista does not need many fancy ingredients. Actually, you require only three: Bread, ham and cheese. However, to get the best Tosta Mixta experience, it is important to give attention to the quality and origin of the ingredients. The Portuguese cuisine is known for its fresh and unique flavors, as well as the Tosta Mixta. So we really recommend you to carefully select the bread, cheese and ham which you want to use for this Portuguese classic.

So before heading to the recipe, let’s get some information on the ingredients.

Pão Alentejano – The Base of Tosta Mista

Portuguese love bread. In Portugal, it is very common to have bread with some olives and local cheese as a starter and no matter which plate follows, to eat bread along with the main course. Also, the Portuguese bread can not be compared to some slices of classic toast, which is often used to make the American version of grilled cheese sandwich.

Make sure to choose good bread for your Tosta Mista!

The most common bread used for Tosta Mista is Pão Alentejano. It comes from the Alentejo region of Portugal, which is also nicknamed terra do pão, “land of bread”. In this region, people love their bread this much, that there even is a Brotherhood of Bread.

Pão Alentejano is a long-fermented bread made with a natural yeast starter. It has a slightly acidic aftertaste, a compact crumb and a thick rustic crust. The typical taste is owed to the production process of the long fermentation.

But we admit, not living in Portugal, it might be hard to find this typical Portuguese bread. But in bigger cities you will definitely find a Portuguese delicacy shop. And these shops most likely also offer this delicious traditional bread. If you are not successful searching for this kind of bread, don’t fret! You can also use sourdough bread, toast or any kind of white bread.

The Protagonist – Queijo flamengo

Without the cheese, what would a grilled cheese sandwich be? Just an ordinary, boring sandwich. So of course, make sure to get some delicious cheese to put on your Tosta Mista. The Portuguese classic is Queijo flamengo, a young creamy cheese made of pasteurized cow-milk. In Portugal, you will find it sold as red balls. This kind of cheese stands out with its fine and mild taste, and it can be compared to a Dutch Edam.

This type of cheese is excellent for melting and thus, excellent for Tosta Mista. If you are not sure about the measurement we assure you, assembling a Tosta Mista, there cannot be too much cheese. Just make sure, it does not pop out of the bread so that the melted goodness stays inside the sandwich where it is supposed to be.

As already recommended above, also check local Portuguese supermarkets for this kind of cheese. But the cheese is actually not too hard to replace. Possible alternatives are Gouda, butter cheese, Emmental, Gruyère or whichever cheese you like!

The Side-Character – Fiambre Ham

Along with the cheese and bread comes fiambre, a finely cut cooked ham. Make sure to get one of good quality, we recommend Fiambre peru forno lenha, a turkey ham of the wood-fired oven.

Other than the cheese, the ham can and actually should pop out of the sandwich. Like this, it is grilled along with the bread and adds even more taste to the sandwich!

If you cannot find this kind of ham, look for raw ham, Salpicão or Serrano-ham. Also, for the veggie-version, simply leave it out!

Read on to find out how to make this delicious Portuguese grilled cheese sandwich!

How To Make Portuguese Tosta Mista

Having talked so much about the ingredients, let’s get to the exciting part and find out, how to make Tosta Mista.

For one Tosta Mista you need the following ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Pão Alentejano
  • 1 (or more) slice of Queijo flamengo
  • 2 cuts of Fiambre

How to proceed:

Assemble the sandwich as described above. To grill it, either use a contact grill or a pan. Make sure, not to over bake it. It is done when the outside has reached a beautiful golden color!

Are you looking for more Portuguese delicacies? Check out our blog post on pastel de nata!