It is nearly impossible to walk down the street in Lisbon without walking past a bakery with pastries. The Portuguese really do have sweet tooth, which is perfect for us and there’s lots of desserts in Portugal that you can’t miss eating. In fact, it has become our undertaking to try all of the different types of Portuguese desserts in order to recommend the best ones to you.
Portuguese Custard Donuts
The Bola de Berlim is a Portuguese pastry with a lot of sugar and egg. It is very similar to the German Berliner. They are a type of custard donut with a lot of crème on the inside and a lot of sugar on the outside. They are pretty much everywhere, from bakeries to markets, so you are bound to have a chance to eat it.
Portuguese Sponge Cake
Also known as Pão de Ló, this sponge cake comes in two main flavors, just egg and chocolate. It is on my list of best desserts to eat in Portugal.
There are two main places to get it and they both seem to be in competition with each other. The first, António Oliveira called his Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. This translated to the “best sponge cake in the universe.” The other place to get it is Carlos Lopes Bras’. Their cake is called the O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo. This translates as the “best chocolate cake in the world”. While we didn’t try António’s cake, if it is like the tender oozing cake that we tried at Mercearia Criativa, it is our winner.
In the US, the cronut has been made famous by Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York city. However, we think that the Portuguese version of these have been around for a long time. While I forgot to ask what they are called in Portuguese, I did eat a lot of them.
Bread For God’s Sake
Also known as Pão de Deus, this is a brioche with sweet coconut on top. On my first trip to Portugal I had this before I left, and brought back some for Aaron. This dessert may be the single reason why we went back to Portugal the following summer.
One of the best things about this dessert is that it can easily be found in the popular chain bakery A Padaria Portuguesa. In Lisbon, they are hard to miss as they have sort of the equivalent to Starbucks in popularity. At this bakery, you can find the best Pão de Deus done the right way.
Red Kidney Bean Cakes
The PASTÉIS DE FEIJÃO may look like they are filled with cream, but are in fact filled with beans instead. They come from the center of Portugal. The first time we had it was when visiting Canas de Senhorim, when visiting a friend of Aaron. The friend said that he like them more than the cream version. When we tried them, we thought they were great! Make sure you try some for yourself to find out.
Portuguese Fried Dough
The Portuguese fried dough is also known as malasada. If you have ever been to Hawaii, you probably have had them at Leonard’s Bakery in Oahu or at the Sugar Beach Bake Shop in Kihei. Before coming to Portugal, we thought that they were the equivalent of donuts. Therefore, we though you could get a whole bunch of them every morning. However, this is only part of the truth. In fact, they actually come from São Miguel, which is an island in the Azores. This is actually around 1,500 kilometers off the coast of Portugal.