The Origin of Pastel de Nata
Like many of the delicious bakery products across Europe, the “Pastel de Nata” also known as “Pasteis de Belem”, is believed to have been developed by Catholic nuns in a monastery called “Mosteiro dos Jeronimos”, which is located right across the road from “Casa Pasteis De Belem”. When the convent was in need of money, nuns baked and sold delicious “Pastel de Nata”. “Casa Pasteis De Belem” was the first bakery that managed to figure out the recipe and thanks to this place the delicious recipe survived to this day.
“Casa Pasteis De Belem” serves “Pasteis de Nata” since 1837. It is traditionally served with cinnamon and powdered sugar and the recipe has not changed since the first day. Today, it is the world’s most reviewed eatery.
Eating at Casa Pasteis De Belem
Every day, it is estimated that 20,000 Belém Pastries are sold on average. This is why, to have a taste of this beautiful tradition, you must be prepared to wait in a long queue. It might be frustrating to wait for long, however, maybe the wait makes it even more delicious! The good news is that these hard-to-get cakes are easily affordable, they cost only €1.10 each. You can take them either as take-away or eat inside the spacious café. The seating area is always busy but when you see its authenticity, you might decide it is worth the chaos. Casa Pasteis De Belem is open every day between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.
The Secret Room of Casa Pasteis De Belem
By now, you must have a sense of the incredibly high demand of “Pasteis de Belem”. The main reason they are so popular is that “Casa Pasteis De Belem” is the only place that has the original recipe ever since the “Mosteiro dos Jeronimos” (the monastery that Catholic nuns made Pasteis de Belem) is closed down after a revolt. To keep this delicious secret, patissiers work in a special “secret room” to prepare the cream and the pastry of the Pastéis. The recipe is patented and the patissiers sign a confidentiality agreement to keep this tradition as a secret.
How to get to Casa Pasteis De Belemo
By bus: You can take the bus that departs from Sul E Sueste station and get off at Mosteiro Jerónimos. Buses depart hourly.
By train: You can take the train arriving at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Trains operate every 15 minutes.