Lisbon is famous for its ‘Pasteis de Nata’, or more simply described as a much perfected and sumptuous type of custard tart. An emblematic sweet, these delicious little pastries can be enjoyed on every block and locals stop several times a day to indulge. The hilly cobbled streets work off the calories! The recipe dates back to the 16th Century, when the confections, like many other Portuguese sweets, were made by nuns in convents.
In 1837 Pasteis de Belem began making the original Pastéis de Belém, following an ancient recipe from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. That secret recipe is recreated every day in their bakery, by hand, using only traditional methods. The beautiful district of Belem is home to the grand Jeronimo Monastery, renowned for its immaculate gardens and magnificent views across the Tagus River and the famous Pasteis de Belem patisserie. The “pastel de nata” is Lisbon’s best-known cake, best served hot with powdered cinnamon and, preferably, in pairs.
Paper thin layers of buttery crisp pastry are filled with a rich custard of egg and sugar. The pastry surface blisters in high heat, adding a toasty taste of caramel to the savory sweets.
Best savored at the counter with a shot of espresso. There is a sweet shop or two on every block, Lisbon locals love their savories.