Many may think that “Pastel de Belém” is just a tourist attraction, but it’s not. “Pastel de Belém” is little like “fado” (traditional Portuguese music), in a way it is part of us, of our culture.
I'll give you a small example so that you understand how much the Portuguese like “Pastéis de Belém” - if I ask a friend, who lives in Lisbon, if he wants to go with me for a bike tour to Belém, which is very pleasant, most likely it is I receive a NO; but if I ask - do you want to go to Belém, by bicycle, to eat a “Pastel de Belém”, I am sure that I will receive a YES.
It was many years ago that I ate my first “Pastel de Belém”, the most famous sweet in Portugal. But that doesn't stop me from continuing to do it often. In fact, for me that I’m a greedy person, it’s difficult to resist these little wonders.
Tasting a “Pastel de Belém”, because we are talking about a pastel that is absolutely wonderful, is something that everyone should do once in their lives - they are delicious.
But tasting a “Pastel de Belém” is much more than a gastronomic experience, it’s also it’s also feeling the history. It’s to dive into the history of this store that started making them almost 200 years ago (1837). It’s immersing yourself in an even older gastronomic experience, because before they were sold in this store, the monks had been making and eating them for many years.
On the other hand, to taste a “Pastel de Belém” we are obliged to go to the historic area of Belém, the area from which they left in the SEC. XV the caravels for the discovery of maritime paths for the whole World, Africa, Asia and America and where there are some of the most important Portuguese monuments. The Jerónimos Monastery, where “Pasteis de Belém” began to be made; the “Monumento dos Descobrimentos”, a monument where the most important Portuguese navigators are honored; the Belém Tower, one of the most important symbols of Portugal and of Manueline architecture style, are some of these monuments which contribute to making this area very beautiful.
Tasting these pastels also means visiting and seeing this area, it’s also to feel the Portuguese History, Culture and Traditions. Because I’m greedy and I’m from Lisbon when reading this text you may think I am suspicious, but the truth is that all those who participate in the bicycle tours that pass in Belém love this stop and millions of people come from all over the world to this Lisbon neighborhood to taste this pastry. There are days when this store sells more than 30,000 units.