Everyone knows that one of the most pleasant things in the world is eating. And is there anything better than trying different foods around the world? When we visit a place, especially one we haven’t seen yet, we are tempted to add several restaurants to the itinerary. And nothing more fair, right? I think this is, yes, one of the best ways to know a little more about a region.
That is precisely why I prepared for you a small list of some sweets that cannot be left out of your itinerary in Portugal! Paulo and I are on a scheduled trip to the country and of course I’m already looking forward to eating many traditional sweets there. I also left some tips on places that are worth trying these delights 😉
Pastel de Nata / Belém
Pastel de nata or Belém? In fact, these two “pastries” are not the same! This confusion with the name is due to the famous recipe produced by Pastelaria de Belém, founded in the 1830s, from the original creation of a confectioner at the Jerónimos Monastery. It is only he who bears this name and in other places they are known as pastéis de nata. One of the best places to try the candy is at Fábrica da Nata, which has a store in Lisbon and Porto, or at the Old Confeitaria de Belém, located at Rua Belém 84-92, in Lisbon.
Gila (pumpkin-chila) and lemon are the ingredients that make this sweet stand out from the rest. Another recipe that includes eggs, sugar and almonds. The thin bread originates in the Alentejo and was made inside the convents. A great place to taste the sweet is at Pastelaria Conventual Pão de Rala, in Évora.
Aveiro Soft Eggs
This sweet, traditional from the city of Aveiro, is nothing more than a simple mass composed of egg yolk, sugar and water, surrounded by a film that resembles the wafer. Its format usually follows marine themes, such as animals and shells. A curiosity of this sweet is that they can only be produced there in Aveiro and there is even a specific legislation to maintain the rule. All of this to prevent the original recipe from being lost throughout history.
Place to eat: Confeitaria Peixinho, the oldest house of Eggs Moles in Aveiro – open since 1856.
If your itinerary includes the Setúbal peninsula, be sure to stop by Azeitão and try the pie that bears its name. In fact, the pie is more like a roulade, with cinnamon as a surprise ingredient. I advise you to try this sweet at Pastelaria Regional Cego. The snack bar is in Vila Nogueira De Azeitão, Setúbal.
The name is clear: salami. But this one runs away entirely from the one we are used to. It also runs away from the ingredients used in production. Unlike most Portuguese sweets, this delight has a stark difference: chocolate! The recipe also includes biscuits, butter, sugar and, of course, egg yolks. One restaurant I recommend to try this delight is Floresta das Escadinhas, in Lisbon.
Queijada de Sintra
The Queijadas de Sintra are filled with fresh cheese, sugar, eggs, flour and cinnamon, wrapped in a crunchy pastry. Cinnamon, in fact, is not always added to the recipe – it is an ingredient that was not part of the original recipe, but that has been adhered quite often by Portuguese bakeries. A nice place to eat this queijada is at Piriquita, founded in 1962, in Sintra.
When the subject is sweet, Sintra definitely needs to be part of your itinerary. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its gastronomic wealth, monuments, legends and fantastic landscapes, this “village” has many popular sweets. The queijadinhas may even be unknown by some, but it is impossible to mention the place and not to mention its famous “pillows”!
The filling of egg cream with almonds is a Portuguese classic, but what makes everything more special is the puff pastry covered with plenty of sugar. It makes your mouth water just to see the photo, right?
It is said that this sweet was born in the convents of Alentejo and became a classic there. It is a very creamy and wet cake with a lemon flavor. Obviously, in the recipe we can still find eggs, flour, milk and sugar; sometimes cinnamon is added.
Santa Clara Pastel
Since I opened the list with a classic custard tart, nothing more fair than finishing with another delight loved by us Brazilians! This pastry with an ultra-creamy yolk filling wrapped in a crunchy puff pastry is simply irresistible. The origin of this wonder is in the name of the sweet: the Convent of Santa Clara, in Coimbra.
The relatively cheap candy was (and still is) the biggest hit among students at the oldest University in Portugal!
Phew, these are just a few of the sweets I want to taste on my visit to the country! Do you have more tips on typical Portuguese dishes or desserts? Be sure to comment here, after all, there is nothing better than traveling eating well 😉