Portuguese cuisine is characterized by rich, filling and full-flavored 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 chili 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 flavoring meals. Garlic is widely used, as are herbs such as
coriander and parsley.