Perfect Pastry at Pastéis de Belém
If you're visiting Lisbon, chances are you'll make your way to nearby Belem to see some age of Discoveries sites like the Tower of Belem or Monastery of Jerónimos. But here's something you must do while you're in the district. Eat pastry. This is a truth of Lisbon in general, but it could not be more crucial than when you come upon the blue and white banner of Pastéis de Belém.
The namesake pastries (called Pastéis de Nata throughout the region) are the original and still gold standard in Portugeuse egg tart pastry. Paper thin layers of buttery crisp pastry are filled with a rich, yet balanced, custard of sugar and egg. The pastry tops blister in high heat adding a toasty hint of caramel to the flavor profile.
Best to eat your tarts at the counter with a shot of espresso. The kitchen sends out wave after wave of pastry to fill demand, guaranteeing your order will be fresh and warm. Shakers of cinnamon and powdered sugar are offered at the bar and I like a light shake of cinnamon best. When the heat of the tart warms the cinnamon, the most irresistible fragrance of sugar and spice is released. You can find delicious pastéis de nata all over Lisbon, but I promise you'll compare every one to the perfection of Pastéis de Belém.