Chinese daan tart theories aside, the generally accepted birthplace of the pasteis de nata is the local pastry cafe Antiga Confeitaria de Belem on the seaside outskirts of Lisbon.
Photo courtesy of VirtualTourist.com
[Insert shameless travel-dropping here].
Yes I've had the pleasure of eating the real McCoy at the Belem cafe and yes the experience has so far been unequalled. Still-warm tarts straight out of the oven, pastry so flaky it's almost earthshattering, and shakers of icing sugar for extra sweetness on every table.
So I have a self-confessed weak spot for the humble Portuguese custard tart and was delighted to discover Sweet Belem in Sydney's Little Portugal a year ago.
A large painting of the Torre de Belem dominates and Portuguese-style blue and white tiles adorn the tables and wall.
Sweet Belem offers a number of pastries, slices, tortes and cakes... this one's for pinkcocoa!
But it's the pasteis de nata we're after. If you time your visit well, you should be able to pick up these tarts from Joao de Almeida fresh out of the oven... still warm, yet irresistably flaky. And I would have to say that if you like your pastry extra buttery and so crispy it sounds like you're eating a bag of crisps, then these babies are for you!
At $1.70 each, they're a veritable bargain. Particularly when coffee shops in the City regularly sell soggier versions for at least $3.00.
The pasteis de nata at Sweet Belem do come topped with a genereous sprinkle of cinnamon, adding a pleasant spiciness.
The tarts here are a little more expensive than the ones from Fernando Ramos and Carlos Fernandes at La Patisserie a few doors down, but for this pastry fan, they're worth every penny.
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35B and 35C New Canterbury Rd, Petersham
Tel: +61 (02) 9572 6685
Wednesday to Saturday 8.30am - 5pm
Sunday 9am - 4pm
This has been included as a Rewarding Adventure on Grab Your Fork's Top 10 Sydney Eats for Tourists. Read the entire list here.
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Petersham - Costa Do Sol (Portuguese)
Petersham - Perama (Modern Greek)
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1/28/2005 11:59:00 pm