waistline can be a tad difficult in
Portugal if you are living in
here or just visiting on holiday.
In just about every
cafe, bakers and supermarket there are so many tempting, tasty
looking cakes (bolos) on offer it can be difficult to say 'não,
obrigado'. And after all it would be rude not to try out a few
of Portugal's traditional, mouth watering sweet sensations.
And although you
think you can resist temptation, it won't be long before you're
ordering one or five of the cakes of Portugal.
However so you know
what to order we've provided a quick insight into the cakes of
Portugal. Where they originated from and what your taste buds should
expect when you succumb to one or more of these mouth-watering
Many of the
Portugal are egg based recipes and originate from inside the walls
of monasteries, so recipes do vary up and down the country. And
towns are very proud of the confectionary which originated from
Natas (Custard Tarts)
Perhaps the most recognised
of Portuguese cakes, the Pastel de Natas is known
the world over. Duty free shops in all three
international airports in Portugal enable visitors to
stock up on these tasty pastry treats.
The pastel de natas are for
all intents and purposes a custard tart. However they
somehow is more refined in Portugal. The pastry case is
wafer thin and provides just enough support to the rich,
creamy egg custard inside without being soggy.
Although Pastel de
Natas are sold all over Portugal, to truly experience
then you need to travel to the Lisbon suburb of Belem,
where since 1837 years the Pastéis de Belem cafe on Rua
de Belem has been producing these tasty treats.
Today you can enjoy a coffee within the
cafe's historic surroundings, as well as one of the
pastels hot from the ovens in the rear of the premises.
You can also watch as they enter and exit the ovens via
one of the many 'windows' to the small cake factory.
Bolo de Rei
Bolo de Rei (King's Cake) is the traditional
Portuguese Christmas cake, which appears in shops and
bakery's in mid November (depending upon the region).
Bolo de Rei is a fruit
bread essentially which also has pine nuts and is
decorated with large chunks of candied citrus fruits.
Although many families continue to make
their own Bolo Rei, which is shaped like a Rum Baba,
they are in ready
supply in most
supermarkets at least two months ahead of time. Much like a British
Christmas cake the Bolo de Rei is baked with a surprise.
However the traditional 'sixpence' is replaced with a
more edible bean in Portugal. Whoever finds the bean has
the pleasure of making the cake for the family the
Moles (Egg Mussels)
Ovo Moles are a
delicacy in the central Portugal town of Aveiro, from
where they originate and are practically available at
most retail outlets.
These tasty, bite sized treats,
which come in a variety of
sea-food shapes, are also available throughout the
country as well, though normally in the bakery form of a
mussel (see picture left).
Rice pastry is made and moulded into a
variety of shapes before being pressed shut around a
deliciously thick, creamy egg filling.
large, griddle scone like cakes are not perhaps the most
appealing looking of the Portuguese cakes, however they
are a taste sensation waiting to happen.
Originating from the convents of Abrantes
in central Portugal Tigeladas combine eggs, milk and
cinnamon to form a very Moorish 11 o'clock snack, which
can be eaten at just about any time of the day (or
you can purchase Tigeladas from most main-
and from a variety of bakeries up and down Portugal, to
truly experience the mouth watering delights this
egg-based sweet has to offer, call into one of the many
cafes and/or bakeries in Abrantes, as you (and you're
taste buds) won't be disappointed.
Palha (Egg Straw)
egg-based delicacy originating from the promontory town
of Abrantes in central Portugal is palha, which roughly
translated means straw, egg straw.
Palha takes it's name
from the thin wires created when the egg yolks and sugar
are spun creating straw-like threads which are then
popped into paper cases and put out to tempt you to eat
In October 2010, baker
and cake makers extraordinaire, Manuel Correia and
Fernando Correia of the Rossio do Sul pastaleira,
Tagide, attempted to get into the
Guinness World Record
Books for creating the most palha de Abrantes in one go.
Although they managed to whip up 1,770, the record has
not appeared in print, but this has not stopped the duo
producing hundreds of palhas each week for the local