When it comes to pastries, the Algarve and Portuguese cakes have nothing to worry about.
Even if they might not look as beautiful or colourful as French bakeries, Algarvian cakes taste much better than they look.
Many of the recipes for the nation’s favourite sweet treats originated in Portugal’s convents and monasteries. Eggs, especially the yolks, feature heavily. The egg whites were used to starch clothes and preserve wine so the yolks ended up in cakes and puddings. Along with plenty of sugar. Here in the Algarve, almonds, figs and carrobs are the most popular ingredients.
Here they are, our favorite five “pastelarias” in Algarve:
1) Quinta dos Avos, Algoz
Cozy, familiar, traditional. The quintessence of a family run Algarvian pastelaria, with its old and authentic furniture, serving delicious carrobs and orange cakes among many other sweets. Home-made jams are produced and sold on site together with a handcrafted beer. Perfect for an afternoon tea in the countryside.
Be careful at the opening times. It closes on Monday and Tuesday and the rest of the week it opens only in the afternoon from 14:30. Directions here
2) Pastelaria Arade, Portimão
Here, they serve the best “Folhado de ovos” in south of Portugal. Located behind the seafront promenade in Portimão “Marinha”, it is always attended by well-dressed old ladies from Portimão. Appreciated for its own production of delicious eggs filled pastries and for its friendly owners and staff. Closes on Monday. Opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:00. to 22:00. Directions here
3) A casa da Isabel, Portimão
Opened in 1998, offers a wide variety of cakes, biscuits and queijadas to die for. A small hall inside and a cozy terrace outside to enjoy your cake in the lively center of Portimão.
Very known for the high quality of ingredients, committment to traditions and passion of the owner Isabel and her team. Opens every day, Directions here
4) Agua Mel, Alte
Excellent production of home-made cakes and sweets, since more then three generations. The view from the terrace is spectacular, as it is the small sleepy village of Alte, in the rural Algarve. The perfect spot to enjoy the real Algarvian confectionery after a thrilling walk along the Via Algarviana. Directions here
5) Tesouros da Serra, São Brás de Alportel
Surrounded by carrobs and cork trees in the wonderful Serra do Caldeirão, this cake shop deserves a visit from any foodie who loves dry fruits. The skilful hands of Fatima Galego create incredibly tasteful sweets especially from carrobs, almonds and figs. Better in the afteroon to reward a hike in the hills of São Brás de Alportel.