We can't leave Portugal without a dedicated post and celebration of Pastel de Nata, Portugal's national pastry, which we found in each and every place we went, even the smallest town cafe.
We were spoiled in Sintra, tasting the 'Cup of Kindness' in January at the sweet little cafe Nata Pura, owned by Artur Baptista - the Portuguese Jags - and his daughter serving delicious coffees and their unique Nata creations. Sol was especially thrilled to find Huckleberries in one version. Lief preferred the caramel version and I must say their dark chocolate version is out of this world!
To bite into a well-made and fresh Pastel de Nata is a sensory feast, as the crispy, flaky, buttery pastry on the outside makes way for the creamy, golden rich, sweet custard on the inside. To complete the feast for the tastebuds add a sprinkle of cinnamon! Together with an espresso this is more than a 'Cup of Kindness', I would call it more a merging of 'Divine Cups of Goodness'.
The history of these delicacies goes back to divine devotion indeed, as in the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820 the monks at the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (Hieronymites Monastery) in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belem (Saint Mary of Bethlehem) in Lisbon started creating these pastries as a way to use the many leftover egg yolks and to bring in some revenue. When the monastery closed, they sold the recipe to the sugar refinery, whose owners in 1837 opened the 'Fabrica de Pasteis de Belem'. The descendants own the business to this day and we it was our main destination on our last day of biking through Lisbon, which happened to be 'Portugal Day' (see following blogpost).
We will miss these delicacies when we return home! We may need to attempt to create our own....