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Pastel de Belém is the real thing in pastry - natas?

Pastel de Belém H-000233 by Turismo de Lisboa

Walk into any Portuguese café, in any city in the world, and you have a 90 percent chance of seeing the ubiquitous Pastel de Nata, or simply "the Nata" on the menu. But don’t be fooled! This small cream tart with a slightly burned top is actually a knock off of the more coveted "Pastel de Belém." At the Pastelaria Pastéis de Belém near Jeronimos Monastery in the neighborhood of Belém, you can sample the real deal--a warm tart with a creamy, slightly smoky flavor, and hints of cinnamon. If by any change you decide to ask for their recipe, note that  it is one of the best kept secrets in the Portuguese gastronomy, since nobody knows just what it is, except those actually working in the kitchen. The original Pastel de Belém was an 18th century Asian-inspired concoction of the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos). Visitors now grab the pastries warm out of the oven from Pastelaria Pastéis de Belém, sprinkled with the cinnamon and powdered sugar. That is Portuguese!


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