Padaria do Bairro, Rua da Misericórdia, Lisbon, Portugal
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

I could eat cake for breakfast. But when in Lisbon, I discovered that this eating cake for breakfast could well be epigenetics at play, because in Lisbon, a lot of people eat a lot of cake for breakfast. It felt very much like home when upon entering the morning breakfast spread at the hotel, where I was greeted with what seemed like two-thirds of the total breakfast spread dedicated to various breads, cakes and pastries. Breakfast could take some time in Lisbon, I thought.

The Portuguese do pastries so well that they simply did away with the cumbersome Danish (pastry), and the bread around the Norwegian Skolebrod to produce one of their conconctions of greatest repute, the custard egg tart, pastel de nata or in Lisbon, also known as Pastéis de Belém. There are variations of this around the globe, such as the Cantonese or Hong Kong egg tart, or in Macau, known also as pastel de nata. But pastel de nata is but one sweet temptation. Walk into any bakery or pasteleria in Lisbon, and you’ll find an array of gorgeously prepared pastries that even if you didn’t have a love of sweet bakes, would encourage you to sit and sample. And this, one could do almost anytime of the day, beginning at breakfast.

After a while, you begin to appreciate the ones with a true caramelized burnt top.

This gorgeous looking pudding, a molotof (?) with red berries jam and pastry cream looked like a dream sitting on the counter top at a café at the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

A selection of heaven. Your choice.

Coffee. Everywhere in Lisbon, they had excellent coffee. It didn’t matter how you ordered it. It tasted great!

Slight variations in serving pastel de nata. Here, topped with cinnamon powder.

This video is in Portuguese. But if you’re a visual learner, it brings you through the steps in making a good pastel de nata.