I’m an incorrigible sweetaholic.
One I-would-love-to-bathe-in-a-tub-filled-with-chocolate kind of glutton, just to make it clear.
Portugal to me was like Disneyland for a kid, with all those pastries I had never tasted before: with the excuse of writing this post in Lisbon I managed to drag the boyfriend into any bakery I spotted (he’s still blaming me for fattening up, by the way). And even better when Portugal is one of the cheapest destinations in Europe!
Here are the Portuguese pastries i’ve found while exploring Lisbon (and that you should not miss if you have a sweet tooth).
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My first stop was at Pastéis de Belém (Rua de Belém 84-92), well-known for the pastéis de nata (or custard tarts), probably the most famous of portuguese pastries: the bakery produces over 20.000 tarts A DAY! I wanted to see what all the buzz was about: the pastéis (€1.05 each )are served hot , just taken out of the oven. They are crisp outside and incredibly soft in the inside, with the option of dusting cinnamon and/or zucchero a velo on top. They are so mouthwatering that after the first tart i had to have another one, and then one again….goodbye diet.
Expect a long line outside the shop, but believe me on this one, it IS worth it.
The next day I spotted a small place in Chiado, Mantegairia (Rua do Loreto 2) which is half café and half pastéis de nata factory. The custard tarts are made in front of you all day long, and I guarantee yours will be served hot; you can enjoy one at the counter or bring some home, in any case you won’t regret stopping here. Manteigaria is a great alternative to the most famous pasteis in Belém.
Xocoa (Rua do Crucifixo 112) is your go-to shop when one of those chocolate cravings hit in Lisbon. Or just because you’re walking nearby…after all, it’s always a good time for a cup of hot chocolate, a brownie, a cookie, a chocolate muffin…do I have to keep going?
The Pastelaria Restelo (also known as Café do Careca, Rua Duarte Pacheco Pereira 11D) is a less obvious choice for a sweet break in Belém, but your best pick for croissants, dusted with sugar and taken out of the oven all day long. The recipe is, of course, kept secret by the owners; the patisserie is famous for baking the best croissants in all of Lisbon, therefore I just could not miss it.
Ummm…cupcakes in Lisbon? Not exactly a specialty but, sincerely, who cares? Cupcakes are good period! The Tease Bakery in Bairro Alto (Rua do norte 31-33) has some weird opening times, and the first time I went in the morning it was closed (every shop in the Bairro Alto was closed to tell the truth), but after peeking inside I decided to give the café another chance and come back in the afternoon per il te delle 5, and boy, it was a wise decision.
I had a Red Velvet My Hearts cupcake (each €2.40) while sitting on a velvet sofa ( the décor is a mix of bohemian and rock ‘n’ roll) and it was sumptuous! Better than others I tried in famous places in Los Angeles.
If you are wondering where to eat in Portugal, this is certainly a different place.
Found you is an intimate restaurant in Bairro Alto (Travessa dos Inglesinhos 34) , whose specialty is, the name says it, fondue.
Meat fondue, shellfish fondue, cheese fondue…and chocolate fondue!
Decadent, thick, melted chocolate in which to immerge fresh fruit and crackers.
But…there’s a but… after having the mixed meat and prawns fondue, unfortunately I was just too full. I could not take another bite, and so I had to give up .
Definitely on my bucket list for next trip to Lisbon, though.
Sintra is just a short train ride away from Lisbon (take the train from Rossio station, departing every 15 minutes) and an unmissable day trip for its castles…and its pastries, of course.
I tried the Queijadas at Fabrica das Verdadeiras Quijadas da Sapa (Volta do Duche 12, Sintra), an ancient recipe of tiny cakes filled with eggs, fresh cheese, sugar and a LOT of cinnamom. To be honest, I didn’t like them, but i’m not exactly a fan of cinnamon (actually I quite dislike it!), and all other people there seemed to like them so I guess it’s just me!
Next stop: the Casa Piriquita- Antiga Fábrica de Queijadas Lda. at Villa de Sintra (Rua Padarias 1/7), famous for the Travesseiros, fluffy (travesseiros in portuguese means pillows by the way), very sweet pastries filled with a sugar cream. I came here to try these…
…but then I also saw the Pastéis da Cruz Alta, and do you think I was able to resist them?
What a question, OF COURSE NOT. They are a sort of hyper caloric macarons wrapped in paper and filled with a very rich egg yolk and sugar cream…yummi.
At this point I bet you want to know how much weigh I took during this holiday…but no, that’s a secret I’m not going to tell!