Tarts of Belém

Passing through Belém?... For your own sake, try one, or two, or three, or four... sorry, I always get carried away when it comes to eating one of these tarts... Anyway, as I was saying, make sure you try at least one of the famous Belém custard tarts from the original factory, located in the beautiful area of Belém.

Every morning, the 'tarts master' works in the kitchen using a recipe unique throughout the whole world. Apart from putting together the right portions of the right ingredients, the art of producing these Portuguese tarts lives on in making them in the old fashioned way - no machines are involved here, just careful and talented hands!

As many of the sweets belonging to the Portuguese gastronomy, the tarts have their origin in conventional roots. According to the story, there was a confectioner, the owner of a sugar refinery - Domingos Rafael Alves - who became the friend of a pastryman that worked in the Jerónimos Monastery. With the revolution of 1820 many religious orders were discontinued, leaving monks and nuns homeless and workers unemployed.

That was when the confectioner hired the pastryman - holder of the secret recipe of the tarts, the man that started the confectioners shop and the one and only Belém custard tarts factory!

Meanwhile, behind the facades of the refinery, the pastryman worked until dawn and later the owner registered the patent of the recipe, keeping it secret until today. Nowadays, the factory produces around 14 thousand tarts a day and you must be wondering if they can sell them all? If you still have doubts the best way is to try one... if only one will satisfy your curiosity...

As the factory produced more tarts, the need for more workers became a serious concern. The possibility of having the secret recipe leak out was something that couldn't happen, so the new pastrymen could only be chosen from inside the company - in this case they must have been working for the factory for at least 25 years, someone who the company could trust. Even then, they had to make a oath and sign an agreement where it said they couldn't reveal the secret of the tarts. If they broke this contract their properties would be expropriated and they could even go to jail. Fortunately, no one ever broke it and the secret still remains inside the factory walls today.

You can eat custard tarts in many cafes, but none would taste like the original tarts, specially when they are still hot and you sprinkle them with cinnamon and powder sugar. But, even if they're cold, they are still quite delicious

Just make sure you take some more with you. They are very well packed in special boxes with the little packets of sugar and cinnamon and before you leave the factory, take a look around - you'll be amazed at the tiled panels in some of the five rooms opened to public.

autos en

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