5 Portuguese pastries that will rock your world
The Portuguese are downright crazy about pastries, with a pastry shop found on just about every corner of this colourful country. We caught up with fun-loving Contiki Trip Manager Marco, who hails from sunny Porto and has been with Contiki for 3 years, to get the lowdown on the Portuguese pastries you simply cannot leave Portugal without trying…
Translated as soft eggs, this sweet treat was created in the Monastery of Jesus in Aveiro. The nuns here mixed surplus egg yolks with sugar, putting them inside a super thin dough in the shape of shells, and then inside a wooden boat (Moliceiro). Pretty random, but the trend soon took.
Despite being eaten throughout the country, by law ovos moles must be created in Aveiro. It’s taken so seriously that there’s even a brotherhood to protect them (Confraria de Ovos Moles). Before becoming a member you have to say “I swear to take the ovos moles of Aveiro. That is if I don’t eat them first!” I’m sure we can all relate to that…
Pastel de Nata
Created by the monks of the monastery of Jeronimos in Lisbon, Pastel de Nata is the nation’s Portugal’s most famous sweet treat. Since the opening of the pastry shop “Pasteis de Belem” in 1837 in Lisbon, the cakes are still sold to the masses. This shop is the holder of the original secret recipe. So secret,in fact, that getting a job there means signing a confidentiality agreement to ensure the recipe is never revealed. To date, there are only 6 people who know the recipe. Yep, it’s pretty serious business…
Bola de Berlim
If you’ve been to Berlin, you’ve probably tried a Berliner. The Portuguese one is quite similar, but it’s got one big difference: instead of a jam cream it has, of course, yolk creme. This delicious pastry was brought to Portugal by German refugees, and you can usually find them on a Portuguese beach. You’ll never be too far from someone walking through the sand yelling “Bola de Berlim, com creme ou sem creme!” Life hack: go for the one with cream!
Pastel de Feijão
Portuguese sweet treats aren’t only about yolks, this dessert is made of white beans, almonds and sugar. It was created at the end of the 19th century in the town of Torres Vedas by Joaquina Rodrigues, who used to cook it for her family and friends. It became so popular that today it’s one of the nation’s most popular pastries, enjoyed just about everywhere.
Toucinho do Ceu
“The bacon from the heaven” is a quite deceiving name. This dessert is actually sweet, and once again we have the nuns to thank for it. Sugar and grounded almonds were mixed with egg yolks and squashed. The name ‘toucinho’ comes from the fact that bacon fat was used to prepare it (don’t worry, it’s now vegetarian-friendly.) The story goes that the nuns who created it loved it so much that they spent more time in the kitchen making them than worshiping God. The bishop of the area then demanded that all the production of cakes should be approved by him. To go around the new rule, they added bacon fat and changed the name of it. Good play, nuns…
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