Pastel de Belem, a special brand of pastel de nata

How could my Personal A to Z of Portugal not include the nation’s most famous cake, pastel de nata?  With this Portuguese sweet treat, a light, slightly flaky, crispy pastry cup holds a sweet, smooth creamy custard filling which is browned off in the oven, giving them a home-made, slightlyRead More →

Bench, Manuel Braga park, Coimbra

A friend recently visited me here in Portugal and when I asked her what she liked about the country, I wasn’t surprised when she said, “I feel safe here.” I do too. When you consider that Portugal currently ranks as the 6th safest country in the Global Peace Index, perhapsRead More →

Iberian Mask Festival Lisbon

The last thing I expected to see in the grid of shopping streets in Lisbon’s Baixa district was a couple of men in hessian suits wearing blood red devil masks. They weren’t alone, either. A very odd couple with distorted, bubble gum pink faces danced past me and the otherRead More →

cocktails made with licor beirão

Being a dedicated fan of this sweet, herby Portuguese liqueur, I couldn’t possibly pass up the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the Licor Beirão factory. The event was organised for expats living in central Portugal by Dot Bekker of Portugal Friends. After lunch at a restaurant overlooking Lousã weRead More →

kitchen renovation

One of the things I find most frustrating about living in Portugal is how difficult it is to get quotes for work that needs doing. To my way of thinking, it’s in a company’s interests to provide potential clients with the information that they need promptly and with a smileRead More →

The ancient bridge, Santa Comba Dão

The rejuvenating properties of white cement are noticeable in the lakeside town of Santa Comba Dão (aka the ‘Princess of the Dão) in central Portugal. Like botox for buildings, the cement has been used extensively to smooth out the deep gaps that had formed between the granite blocks of traditional buildings. The roughRead More →

Embroidered handkerchief of friendship

Valentine’s Day seems the perfect time to mention the wonderful embroidered handkerchiefs of love from Northern Portugal. You can find these delightful pieces, or products inspired by them, in most souvenir shops in Portugal but they used to serve a practical purpose in the romantic lives of people from the MinhoRead More →