Having my Pastéis and eating it in Lisbon – Portugal

November 25, 2009 by  

They’re crisp, creamy, custardy and perfumed with vanilla and cinnamon – the Pastel de Nata are the signature pastry of Lisbon. If you have a sweet tooth, like me you’ll find yourself looking for opportunities to taste them – at your hotel breakfast, with your mid-morning coffee and perhaps a few to take home.

Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal

Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon, Portugal

There are plenty of Pastelarias or cake shops around Lisbon, but there’s one place that’s on every tourist map for tasting these delicious little mouthfuls and that’s the Antiga Confeitaria de Belém where the cakes are simply known as the Pastéis de Belém. In 15 minutes from downtown Lisbon on the no 15 tram you’ll reach the Monastery of Jerónimos, another Lisbon landmark and one tram stop before is the bakery. You’ll know it from the crowds milling around around the doorway, queuing to buy some of the famous Pasteis de Belém.

In the Pasteis de Belem shop in Lisbon

In the Pasteis de Belem shop in Lisbon

If the sun had been shining, I’d have bought my pasteis and eaten them in the nearby park, overlooking the River Tagus, but as it was pouring with rain, we spotted a sign saying that seating was available and decided to venture in. Initially I couldn’t believe that there would be anywhere to sit, but as one room opened into the next we walked on through until we reached a large room where there were some free tables. They do sell snacks and sandwiches here, but I would imagine that barely anyone leaves without having ordered their Pastéis de Belém.

In the Pasteis de Belem coffee shop in Lisbon, Portugal

In the Pasteis de Belem coffee shop in Lisbon, Portugal

So the story goes that in the 18th century the monks of the nearby monastery sold the ancient recipe to the bakery and it remained a secret, only known by 3 of the chefs at the bakery. There’s even a special room where the secret’s kept. It’s a nice story, but if you’d like to give the Pasteis a try, then you I’ve found a recipe on Forks & Jets that you can try out – I’m going to give it a go at Christmas as an alternative to the mince pies.

Portuguese Christmas cakes at Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon

Portuguese Christmas cakes at Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon

All the pasties are made on the premises and each day they turn out anything between 15,000 and 50,000 pastries (yes that’s FIFTY THOUSAND). What a production line! If you’d like to hear the interview where I gleaned this nugget of useful information – listen to the Hostelworld Podcast on Lisbon.

Near our table was a counter showing some of the other biscuits, cakes and preserves made at the bakery and we also bought a ringed cake topped with colourful crystalised fruits as a gift for some local friends we were going to visit. They later told us that it was the traditional Portuguese Christmas cake, which might have a little token buried in it, in the same way that we might put a sixpence in the Christmas pudding for one lucky person to find (hoping they won’t break a tooth on it first)

We enjoyed our coffee and Pastéis, which are said to be the best in Lisbon, although I have to say that the ones we were served in our Hotel Av Liberdade had the marginal edge on the creaminess, crunchiness and general deliciousness scale (must find out where they get them). I’m still dreaming of those little morsels of yumminess – it will be hard to miss them when you’re next in Lisbon.

This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday hosted over at Wanderlust and Lipstick – head over for chocolate and strawberries and other foodie delights

Antiga Confeitaria de Belém
Rua de Belém 84-82, Lisbon

Looking for a hotel in Lisbon? Compare prices and book through Hotels Combined

Lisbon Resources

www.flickr.com

 

heatheronhertravels' Lisbon photoset heatheronhertravels’ Lisbon photoset

Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

Comments

20 Comments on "Having my Pastéis and eating it in Lisbon – Portugal"

  1. Anil on Thu, 26th Nov 2009 6:39 pm 

    They look great but wonder if there’s a cheese version?

  2. Barbara at Hole in the Donut Travels on Sat, 28th Nov 2009 2:31 am 

    I wonder how I missed these when I was in Portugal. I’m usually first in line for the sweets! Maybe this is my excuse for going back…..

  3. Gourmantic on Mon, 30th Nov 2009 7:14 am 

    They look delicious! I haven’t been to Portugal yet and this is giving me reason to put it on the itinerary.

  4. Sherry Ott on Thu, 3rd Dec 2009 4:48 am 

    Thanks for including the recipe – I love baking!

  5. Review of Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide to Lisbon by Dorling Kindersley | Heather on her travels on Mon, 7th Dec 2009 9:53 pm 

    […] sweet peppers at Casa do Alentejo, from the top 10 culinary highlights we tried those delicious Pasteis de Belem custard tarts, we stayed in one of the Top 10 Luxury Hotels at Hotel Heritage Av. Liberdade. We even […]

  6. Sweetarts christmas cakes on Wed, 9th Dec 2009 10:32 am 

    Looks delicious and a very cosy place to finish off all that heavenly culingus.

  7. My travelling year in 2009 | Heather on her travels on Fri, 8th Jan 2010 8:36 am 

    […] many local specialities as we could including the port, salt cod and seafood and the custard tarts Pasteis de Nata that are the sweet symbol of Lisbon. For more Lisbon stories read; An autumn weekend in Lisbon – […]

  8. A shop full of sardines at Conserveira de Lisboa - in Lisbon | Heather on her travels on Fri, 26th Feb 2010 6:13 am 

    […] Having my Pastéis and eating it in Lisbon Seafood and beer at Cervejaria Trinidade in Lisbon An authentic Portuguese meal at Casa do Alentejo in Lisbon […]

  9. Review of Hotel Heritage Av.Liberdade in Lisbon | Heather on her travels on Wed, 7th Apr 2010 10:17 pm 

    […] Discoveries at Belem and I’m sure that we must have tasted at least one of those delicious Pasteis de Nata custard tarts. I’m pleased that my children occasionally get a taste of staying in a nice […]

  10. An autumn weekend in Lisbon - Podcast episode 5 | Heather on her travels on Sun, 16th May 2010 1:37 pm 

    […] delicious custard tarts called Pasteis de Belem that you can buy at the famous cake shop near the […]

  11. Monastery of Jeronimus in Lisbon, Portugal | Heather on her travels on Thu, 8th Jul 2010 8:43 pm 

    […] of those delicious, vanilla and cinnamon custard tarts, known as Pasteis de Nata, but here known as Pasteis de Belem, after the famous bakery here. You’ll spot the place by the dark blue blinds and the crowds of people in the doorway, queuing […]

  12. Edmund on Mon, 12th Jul 2010 7:38 pm 

    I loved those Pasteis de Belem! You really hit the jackpot when you decided to visit this prized bakery in Lisbon. I almost always hate tarts, and I’ve never been a fan of Portuguese desserts (they taste bitter to me), but these just rocked my world. So crispy, so flaky, and so perfectly sweetened, unlike most of the other desserts I tried in Portugal. Thanks for the delicious photos!

    Now, if Portugal could only get some amazing chocolate desserts…
    Edmund´s last blog post ..Cacao Sampaka Raspberry-Flavored Dark Chocolate

  13. Explore the Algarve on Foot - in Portugal | Heather on her travels on Tue, 1st Feb 2011 11:06 am 

    […] and beer at Cervejaria Trinidade in Lisbon Having my Pastéis and eating it in Lisbon – Portugal 05 An autumn weekend in Lisbon – Podcast Episode […]

  14. Chris Stenberg on Wed, 9th Mar 2011 9:39 am 

    I agree I would have rather eaten my Pasteis in the park. I found the actual cafe to be pretty boring inside, but the desserts themselves were delectable! The Belem area is beautiful also and is perfect for a seaside stroll!
    Chris Stenberg´s last blog post ..My Favourite Motivational Quotes

  15. Seafood and beer at Cervejaria Trinidade in Lisbon | Heather on her travels on Wed, 1st Jun 2011 9:36 am 

    […] autumn weekend in Lisbon – Podcast Episode 5 Having my Pasteis and eating it in Lisbon An authentic Portuguese meal at Casa do Alentejo in […]

  16. Top 3 places to visit in Portugal | Heather on her travels on Sun, 26th Aug 2012 10:24 pm 

    […] many cosy restaurants.More things to enjoy in PortugalAn Autumn weekend in Lisbon – Podcast Having my Pasteis and eating it in Lisbon Exploring the Algarve on foot – in PortugalBelem Tower by Alexander Savin, Ponta da Piedade […]

  17. Travel Tuesdays #4 – Belém, Lisboa, Portugal. : Un Pastiche on Sun, 23rd Sep 2012 12:37 pm 

    […] the day. I didn’t get a picture of the inside, but do check out Heather’s blog post here to have a look of the inside – even her pictures don’t show it, but the place is HUGE. […]

  18. consigli dal web » Assaggi dolci a Lisbona, le migliori pasticcerie e sale da thè on Sun, 4th Nov 2012 5:22 pm 

    […] Immagine | Link […]

  19. Review of Eyewitness Top 10 Lisbon Guide from Dorling Kindersley — Cool Travel Gear on Fri, 8th Mar 2013 9:45 am 

    […] sweet peppers at Casa do Alentejo, from the top 10 culinary highlights we tried those delicious Pasteis de Belem custard tarts, we stayed in one of the Top 10 Luxury Hotels at Hotel Heritage Av. Liberdade. We even […]

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





CommentLuv badge