Yes, there is such a thing as food tourism, meaning returning to a place simply for the pleasure of enjoying a particular dish or meal!
That is exactly what I did yesterday myself. I have dreamt about this day for over 13 years since our discovery of this very special of bakeries in the Belém neighborhood of Lisbon. The “world’s best custard tartlets” being crafted here by the millions since 1837, the Pasteis de Belém is simply fantastic.
From its crunchy yet super thin shell to the perfectly balanced custard, this tasty treat is best enjoyed at the bakery when it is still slightly warm to the touch with a sprinkle of cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Yes, take-out is offered but eating them fresh is the unrivaled experience. The challenge with take-out is that once the tartlet cools off, the custard (egg based as it is) sets up and becomes dense. Trust me, the taste changes at that stage – so eat it fresh for maximum enjoyment.
The line outside is for take out clients while over 400 seats in a maze of rooms and chambers takes you into the inner sanctum of the baking area, a sight not to be missed.
Simple yet so well perfected, this treat is worth a trip around the globe to be enjoyed. Will I be back someday? You bet.
The taste, the experience, and the memories made with my tastebuds make this one of my all time favorite food pilgrimages. So much so that the image is worth repeating.