Back from Portugal with a Caffeine and Sugar High

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on January 3, 2010

portugal-lisbon-scenes-&-architecture

I’m back from a wonderful trip to Portugal and still thinking of Portugal’s charming old buildings, orange trees, cobbled streets, port wine, incredible pastries and excellent espresso. I haven’t gotten over the caffeine + sugar high yet! Here are some pictures for you.. 

portugal-pastries

Left to right and top to bottom: Pastel de nata or portuguese custard tart; a pastry shop window in lisbon; Pasties de Belem cafe in Lisbon; a very yummy coconut filled pastry sprinkled with chocolate on top; and a huge palmier.

portuguese-custard-tart-pastel-de-nata-or-pastel-de-belem  Pastel de nata or Pastel de belem or Portuguese custard tartsare an absolute must eat if you are in Portugal. Nuns at the Jeronimos monastery created these amazing, creamy tarts about 200 years ago.

The nuns used a lot of egg whites to starch their clothes and to clarify their wine. So they had a lot of left over egg yolks. What better way to use up egg yolks than add sugar, cream and spices to the egg yolks and bake them in tart shells?!  Thats how these incredible custard tarts were born. 

The cafe pasties de belem, close to the monastery, still serves the original monastery recipe. The cafe sells over 10,000 tarts a day. I can see why. We ate several of these little custard tarts at the cafe and they were the best we had had in Portugal (and trust me, we had plenty!).  You’ll never eat just one!

Portuguese Custard Tart Recipes

this recipe on algarvebuzz also tells you how to make your own shell.

thisrecipe for Portuguese custard tart is from one of my favorite blogs, rasa malaysia.

lisbon brasileira coffee shop chiado

Top to bottom: Cafe a Brasileira in Chiado, Lisbon; coffee with milk; espresso; entrance of Cafe a Brasileira.

Cafe a Brasileira is over 100 years old and is Lisbon’s most famous coffee shop (it was poet Fernando Pessoas favorite haunt). When we went it was standing room only and I suspect thats how it always is. The interior is beautiful and the coffee was very good. A great place to get adequately caffeinated before you go off to sight see the hilly Bairro Alto neighborhood.

I think I’ve had a years worth of sweets and coffee on this trip.

Happy New Year!

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Comments

comments

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Soma January 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Sala your pictures are mind blowing! Thanks for sharing and the virtual tour. Me hungry for some tart now:-D The orange trees look delicious.. seen these kind only in Phoenix. I love skipping on cobblestones.

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2 Manasi January 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Oh Sala, What GORGEOUS pictures!!! The orange tree , laden with fruit.. calling out to be plucked!
The cracked window pane, the street, the espresso… what more can one want?? Oh I forgot the YUMMY desserts !

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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3 sabrina January 4, 2010 at 1:48 am

Sala, what fabulous images! You must share more of your trip with us :]

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4 nandini.p January 4, 2010 at 2:09 am

The first picture is very beautiful… Portugese architecture always interested me!. Never seen an orange tree before!. It is so inviting!!. Expresso, pastries, paved streets, clearsky… god it sure sounds like heaven!.

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5 Somu January 4, 2010 at 3:02 am

Great pics.. some of the buildings could have taken from mexico.. and Tasty, yummy treats.. nice explanation on where all the yoke comes from.. hope to see of those tarts with your twist..

keep rocking..

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6 nags January 4, 2010 at 3:48 am

Very pretty pics Sala, especially the orange tree one! We get similar yolk tarts here, the Chinese version, don’t know how they compare though.

Very sorry for not getting back to you on time with the Lisbon recos from my manager. He fell sick and was out of office for that whole week.

Happy new year :)

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7 Sonia January 4, 2010 at 4:13 am

Happy New Year buddy! Nice to see you back. :)
Pictures are just wonderful. Thanks for sharing to us. :)

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8 Sharmilee January 4, 2010 at 4:14 am

Stunning pics!

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9 shaz January 4, 2010 at 4:21 am

Such vibrant, colourful photos! Itching to make those tarts now :) Oh, and Happy New Year to you.

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10 Rachel Cotterill January 4, 2010 at 6:00 am

I’ve never been to Portugal, but it sounds interesting.

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11 Roses R Red January 4, 2010 at 6:24 am

Beautiful colour photos! The coffee looks amazing.

Rose

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12 Beatrice January 4, 2010 at 9:44 am

That looks like a wonderful trip — especially that pastry shop. Sweets and coffee is a great way to go!

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13 Sadhana January 4, 2010 at 10:11 am

WOW excellent photos, visual treat and a very beautiful virtual tour of Portugal.

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14 lisaiscooking January 4, 2010 at 11:33 am

Looks like you must have had a wonderful time! The custard tart looks incredible too.

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15 vrinda January 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Thanx for visiting my blog..Beautiful pics and yummy treats…

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16 Shankari January 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Happy New Year Sala. Your pictures are truly telling a story :)

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17 Dana January 5, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Such beautiful photos! My husband recently traveled to Portugal for business and I didn’t get to go! I can’t wait to read more about your trip. Happy New Year to you Sala!

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18 Asha January 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Happy new year to you too. Fabulous looking Portugal, how lucky. Visually beautiful post. Great job! :) )

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19 Jagruti January 10, 2010 at 1:42 pm

HI

GREAT PICS….must be you had a great time there…what about vegetarian food there? easily available? Thinking going this summer…

Please visit my site if you can

http://joyofcooking.blogspot.com

Thanks

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20 Malar Gandhi January 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Happy New Year to you:) Pictures are crisp, bright and beautiful:)

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21 Tameka January 11, 2010 at 12:12 am

Looking at these pictures bring back the wonderful memories, smells and taste of working in a Portugese Bakery in my hometown of Roselle, NJ. Pinho’s Bakery; they even have one in Portugal. Thank you for the pictures.

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22 Cynthia January 12, 2010 at 4:52 pm

If you’re ever considering a second career, it should be photography, your “eye” is outstanding!

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23 Olga January 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Those photos are ridiculously fantastic!!! Such vibrant colors: you should make a calendar with those images.

Glad you had a great time.

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24 jugalbandee January 14, 2010 at 12:23 pm

thanks for the wonderful photo tour.

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25 Ganga January 16, 2010 at 4:52 am

What wonderful photos! And those pastries, oh wow!

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26 Alli January 21, 2010 at 3:53 am

I have just discovered you via knifeforkspoon and so pleased I did. You have a lovely blog and fabulous photos. Really enjoyed reading about your trip to Portugal.

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27 Agata January 27, 2010 at 8:22 am

Hi there! I´m Agata and I´m portuguese! I´m very glad you enjoyed your trip to Portugal! It is in fact a gorgeous country! Come more often, you are always welcome! Anyways I noticed you eated a Pastel de Belem…but Pastel de Belem and Pastel de Nata are not the same thing…very similar but not the same! ;) but both very yumiiiiii!!!!

http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Past%C3%A9is_de_nata check out this link …

thank you

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28 meeso January 30, 2010 at 11:43 am

Amazing pictures, thanks for sharing!

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29 Raquel Mendes December 3, 2010 at 6:54 pm

We have amazing pastry indeed! :) And “Pastéis de Belém” and “Brasileira” are such perfect examples… Glad you enjoyed it! ;)

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