(Dedicated to my mom, Marta, Julita and Paulinha – the Miranda family champions of sweets!)
If I had to choose two words to describe my fellow Portuguese, I would probably pick “gentle” and “sweet.” Could it be that the old saying ‘You are what you eat’ really holds true? Are Portuguese people sweet because they eat so much sugar?
Whatever the case may be, I invite you to take a virtual tour through this remarkable land of delicacies where:
At Cafe Nicola you can sit for hours with your (excellent) coffee and pastry watching life go by…
Or, admire the sumptuous window displays at the Confeitaria Nacional.
In fact, as you can see, afternoon tea at Confeitaria Nacional just happened to be the first stop on our visit!
(Along with our tea, we shared a slice of the heavenly Bolo Rei (King’s Cake) – a seasonal cake that celebrates the feast of the Epiphany.
Bolo Reis were a fixture in many other pastry window displays…
And we noticed that cute “Reizinhos” (little King’s Cakes) – about the size of a large muffin – are now being offered, too!
Later in the week, we needed a hostess gift for dinner with relatives and were drawn to the window display at Pastelaria Alcoa in Chiado, the chic fashion district of Lisbon.
Once inside, the selection looked even more enticing!
(I was tempted to buy one of each cake, but after surveying the entire assortment, we chose this nice selection…)
Fortunately, our social calendar also included dinner with old family friends, so we had the excuse to visit Pastelaria Versailles, and elegant tea- and lunchroom dating back to the early ’20s.
I admit I was a bit shy initially about making my way past the throngs of diners and immaculately dressed waiters…
To elbow my way to a spot among the locals having their morning pick-me-up at the counter.
With this dizzying array of choices, narrowing down a selection was hard…
(But I persevered!)
By this point I can imagine that you’re probably wondering if the Portuguese eat anything besides sweets. Rest assured that the Portuguese diet is well balanced with…
Exceptional cheeses, meats…
And, of course, port wine!