Everyone at home lucky enough to have tried them knows that Rute’s Portugese Tarts are amazing!
They are known in Portugal as Pastéis de Natas.
Rute and Filipe took us to the most renowned maker of these tarts and apparently the only place able to call them by their alternative name Pastéis de Belém.
The history is that at the beginning of the 19th century in Belém next to the monastery Mosteiro dos Jeronimos there was a sugar cane refinery attached to a small general store. As a result of the 1820 liberal revolution all convents and monasteries in Portugal were shut down and in 1834 the clergy and labourers expelled. In an attempt at survival someone from the monastery offered sweet pastries for sale in the shop, pastries that rapidly became known as Pastéis de Belém. In 1837 the baking of the Pastéis de Belém began in the buildings attached to the refinery following the ancient ‘secret recipe’ from the monastery, passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in the ‘secret room’ and this recipe remains unchanged to the present day.
There was a big queue and a constant flow of customers as testament to the fame and success of this place.
They really were fantastic! But between us, we think Rute’s are a little better 😉