I don’t remember much about Spain by way of pastries. Okay there were the empanadas and the piononos but… like I said, I don’t remember much.
Portugal, on the other hand, could have rivalled France for the sheer number of pastry shops and cafés which dotted the streets like a raisin-studded hot cross bun. The Portuguese sure know how to take it easy with a coffee in hand and a pastry in the other.
But whereas French patisserie is all about delicate tarts and multi-layered concoctions of cream, the Portuguese go for a much eggier, spongy sweet treat. As we headed towards Faro, I was really only thinking about one thing – the famed Portuguese egg tart.
To look at the photo you would never imagine how flaky and crisp the outer pastry was. How it gave way to the sweet, soft, custardy interior.
Take another good look. Salivating yet?
You see, the truth is, I’m not a big fan of crispy pastry. I don’t know why Paul Hollywood has such a vendetta against soggy bottoms because that’s exactly how I like it. But in this case… the crisp pastry just works. It’s a beautiful balance of textures and flavours. A veritable 8th minor wonder of the world.
Now a little bit about the town itself: it was small, peaceful and very quiet. Nothing much of note and a very disappointing choice of ice cream parlours.
This beach on the other hand, was so, so very lovely.
Faro has three islands in its nearby proximity, easily and cheaply accessible by ferry. We spent half a day on Farol and paid 5 euros for the return trip. If I had known how lovely the beach would be, I would have elected to spend the whole day there. But I shall be content with one lazy afternoon.
I bought this Pata de Veado on a whim when we left Faro. Three months on and I’m still mildly amazed at how soft and tasty it was. Sometimes the best meals are the ones you stumble upon by chance. Who would have thought that an inconspicuous little bus station café in the middle of nowhere could be hiding such a wonder? Serendipity indeed.