Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nuts about nata

(Photos by your
humble blogkeeper)
Ever wonder what happened to all those riches explorers brought back from the New World?

Some of it went to build the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, or Hieronymite Monastery, in Lisbon's Belém parish, put up by Manuel I with a kick-start from gold Vasco da Gama brought back from his first voyage. The vast complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a landmark in the Manueline, or Late Gothic Ongapotchket, style.

Belém is also famous for pastéis (singular, pastel) de nata, warm custard tarts sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. If these tarts had been around in Vasco da Gama's time, he might never have left home.
(The most famous ruler
born in Libya before
Moammar Ghadaffi)
The ex-monastery's ex-church is also home to Portugal's National Archaeology Museum, a treasure house of finds from the Paleolithic period right up through the Roman period. Northern Portugal is especially rich in the former (as are Spain and southwestern France.)

Finally, since I can't let a day pass without your daily dose of hand-painted tiles, here's a bit of commuter azuleijo from Lisbon's Rossio metro station.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

Nice! Especially those tarts!

December 01, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm don't have an especially sweet tooth, but those tarts are a treat for the senses,

The revolwers, on the other hand, are a treat for the mind and the eyes, and a welcome one, too.

December 01, 2011  
Anonymous Linkmeister said...

If you see any malasadas eat two or three.

December 02, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

My guidebook did make a point of mentioning that Portugal loves its sweets. I'll look for malasadas, perhaps even for breakfast today. Thanks,

December 02, 2011  
Anonymous May said...


I think those tarts are similar to a Cantonese pastry, dan tat, or egg custard. If you have a Chinatown near you, you can definitely find them in any bakery.

December 12, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks. Philadelphia does have a Chinatown of some size with several bakeries.

The thing about pasteis de nata is that they're sneaky sweet - not at all cloying or overpowering. Does that sound like dan tat?

December 12, 2011  

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