In the heart of Portugal, amidst the cobbled streets and picturesque landscapes, lies a culinary treasure that has captured the hearts and palates of food enthusiasts worldwide: the Portuguese pastel de nata. These delectable egg custard tarts, with their flaky, buttery crusts and creamy, cinnamon-kissed fillings, are more than just a dessert, they are a testament to the country’s rich culinary heritage.
Originally from the Lisbon area, the pastel de nata is so famous and so wildly sold throughout the metropolitan area that a competition is held yearly to crown the crème de la crème of the capital’s custard tarts.
Founded by journalist Vicente Themudo de Castro, the competition for the best pastel de nata in Lisbon has been held annually since 2009. It begins with a registration phase, after which the establishments are selected for the first round of tastings. From there, 12 finalists are chosen, which include the top 3 winners from the previous year’s competition. The final round of the competition determines the final ranking.
Confeitaria da Glória, a new pastry shop located in Amadora, has been crowned as having the best pastel de nata in Lisbon for 2023, after beating 11 other finalists. Confeitaria da Glória’s pastries stood out from the rest, impressing the judges, who evaluate each pastel de nata based on its appearance, pastry texture, flavor, consistency of the dough, filling and, most importantly, the overall delectability of each pastry.
Despite being new to the scene, Confeitaria da Glória has quickly gained a reputation for their delicious pastries, which are made with high-quality ingredients and a lot of care and attention to detail. “This is a new project, opened in June [of 2023] and this is the recognition of the hard work we have been putting into it”, said João Castanheira, owner of the crowned patisserie. “We started with four people, and now we have 120. Making custard tarts is what I love”, he added.
Padaria da Né, in Damaia, claimed the second spot, followed closely by o Pãozinho das Marias, in Eirceira, taking third place. The results were shared on September 25th, at the Cook’s Congress of Oeiras, after a blind test and a fierce competition, with many pastry shops in Lisbon vying for the title of the best pastel de nata. “Today, there was no bad pastel de nata”, said Virgílio Nogueiro Gomes, the culinary expert in charge of awarding the final prize.
The other pastry shops that made it to the final stage are Café Ponte da Várzea, Pastelaria Açúcar Café, Pastelaria Casa do Padeiro, Pastelaria Patyanne, 7 Desires, Atelier de Pastéis de Nata, Aloma, Altis Belém Hotel, and Bread & Friends at Epic Sana Marquês. Each of them offers exceptional pastel de nata, making them worthy stops for any pastry lover visiting Lisbon in the near future.