Portuguese cuisine is characterised by rich, filling and full-flavoured dishes and is closely related to Mediterranean cuisine. The influence of Portugal's former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used. These spices include piri piri (small, fiery chilli peppers) and black pepper, as well as cinnamon, vanilla and saffron. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine both for cooking and flavouring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs such as coriander and parsley. Breakfast is traditionally just coffee or milk and a bread roll with butter, jam, cheese or ham. Lunch, often lasting over an hour is served between noon and 2 o'clock or between 1 and 3 o'clock, and dinner is generally served late, around or after 8 o'clock. There are three main courses, lunch and dinner usually include soup. A common soup is caldo verde with potato, shredded kale, and chunks of chourico sausage.
Contributions by The Ogre, Fpenteado, and Pilim.