Sometimes people identify a city faster by its gastronomy. A sweet that you ate or a drink that you had while visiting it. Is that so?
Well... the only way to know if this theory is true, is to try it! Prepare yourself because we are going to present you the sweets or drinks that are the symbol of three Portuguese cities. Are you ready?
1 - Óbidos: “Ginjinha de Óbidos” (The Medieval drink)
Óbidos is an adorable medieval village that had a very important rule in the History of Portugal. When visiting this village you certainly notice the remaining walls around it and the imposing castle that take your imagination to fairy tales.
Besides you’re already fascinated by the village, it’s still missing the matter that brought us here: its famous liqueur. Its existence goes back until the convent times, around 17th century, when the monks occupied their leisure time producing liqueurs. Regarding Óbidos, the monks had start producing the liqueur of ginja (a fruit very similar to cherries), because they had this fruit in abundance.
Over time the production techniques have been improved and today you can drink a little glass of ginja liqueur at any bar in Óbidos – moreover, people baptized it as “ginjinha de Óbidos”. You can expect a dark red colour and a strong flavour, with a sorely ginja fragrant. Nowadays, you can choose between two different varieties: the simple liqueur or the liqueur with fruits, sometimes with a little taste of vanilla or cinnamon. However the best way to really know it… is tasting it! Especially if you drink it with a small chocolate glass.
2 - Aveiro: Ovos Moles
Continuing our sweet tour in Portugal, we head to Aveiro where “ovos moles” (soft eggs) are kings. It’s absolutely impossible visiting Aveiro and do not take a boat trip in the colourful “moliceiros” or eat the unique “ovos moles”. Completely unforgivable!
“Ovos Moles” are an ancient sweet, that were made by the local nuns of the several convents in Aveiro, until the 19th century. Thankfully, “ovos moles” crossed several generations and now we can taste them and be passionate by them. Another curiosity that makes this sweet unique, is that it is made in shapes, like little fishes, some kinds of shells, mostly everything that is somehow connected with Aveiro being a coast city, near the sea and because of its famous canals within the city.
The Aveiro “Ovos Moles” are the delight of the most refined and demanding palates. White on the outside and with a golden sweet egg custard on the inside, this sweet melts in your mouth. Do you want to try it? I do! However, once you’re in Aveiro, you can visit the “Oficina do Doce” (Sweet Factory), where the real expertise people can tell you the History of this sweet and singular flavour and teach you how to make the golden sugar and eggs custard with a sacred odor.
3 - Coimbra: Pastéis de Santa Clara (Saint Claire pastries)
In Coimbra, we have to understand the link between students and Saint Claire Pastries. And it’s exactly what we are going to explain…While visiting Coimbra it will be easy to understand the name of its most characteristic sweets. Saint Claire Convent sheltered the nuns that had invented the recipe of this fabulous sweets. On that time, the nuns used the egg white to ironing tissues and so they had the need to elaborate a recipe to use the egg yolk. Et voilá… they created the “Saint Claire pastries”.
Then, these pastries were sold to the students of the University of Coimbra University and, some years later, these sweets became popular in this region.
Are you a little sweeter? Are you tempted to visit these cities and delight yourself with this flavourful Portuguese sweets and “ginjinha”? These three cities are waiting for you as well as its sweets and drink prepared to please you. Come on... you won’t regret it!