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Portuguese gastronomy is mostly known for its hearty home cooked meals, but a true Portuguese national will never go without a “bica” (an expresso) and a “pastel de nata” to finish their meal completely satisfied. Whether they have a sweet tooth or whether it is just for comfort, Portuguese baking recipes have been passed down many generations, ensuring delicious mouthwatering cakes and sweets. Here are 4 sweets you must try when visiting the Algarve.
The very popular Pastel de Nata or Custard Tarts are thin and crusty pastries with an egg and vanilla filling originally created in Belém, a historical region of Portugal, back in 1837. These delicious tarts can be found in any pastry shop and now are even internationally recognized! However, if you are visiting the Algarve, the best way to eat them is warm, fresh out the oven and dusted with cinnamon on top. Guarantee you’ll want a second one!
The Bola de Berlim or otherwise known as the Beach Doughnuts are part of the Algarve beach regime. Every now and then, while you’re sun lounging at the beautiful Algarvian beaches you’ll hear a bell ring along with someone calling for “Boooooooola de Berliiiiiiim”, the true beach goers will simply recognize by the bell ring. These sugar-coated doughnut balls come in 3 ways; with chocolate filling, with egg cream filling or just simply with no filling. Besides the beach, these are sold in any pastry shop and now many have introduced healthier versions of the typical Bola de Berlim by making the dough out of carob or beetroot.
Pão de Deus or God’s bread, is a brioche bun made out of egg, butter and flour topped with a coconut crust. The Portuguese prefer to eat this for breakfast alongside their morning expresso, some even ask for it sliced with ham and cheese! Traditionally associated with All Saint’s Day, this savoury snack can be found in any Pastry shop in the region.
The name might not be the most appealing (Soft Eggs) but if you like the egg cream filling featured in most of the traditional Portuguese cakes/desserts, you’ll love this one! This delicacy, originally from the Aveiro region of Portugal, is made out of egg yolk and sugar, typically served inside a shell designed rice paper. If you have a chance to visit Aveiro, this would be the recommended place to try them out! Otherwise, any typical Portuguese pastry shop will provide this sweet.
As you can see, a recurring ingredient in this selection of traditional sweets and typical Portuguese desserts is the egg cream and filling – absolutely delicious but we might be biased! If you get a chance to try any of these out we would be delighted to know which once is your favourite! Or perhaps you have other suggestions for tourists visiting the Algarve for the first time? Let us know!