Pastel de nata: a Portuguese delicacy


The Pastel de Nata is one of the Portuguese delicacies that people love the most when they visit Portugal, and also a widely known term. In English, the term means “custard pastries”, though you usually won’t find the recipe when you search for the English term. These pastries have a peculiar and interesting history. In an effort to subsist, the monks from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos began to produce and sell them to the public. Soon the pastries would become very famous even among foreign tourists, who loved to visit Lisbon and Belém (at the time two different cities).  


The recipe of these original pastries remains a secret to this day, though any pastry shop in Portugal serves what is known as pastéis de nata using different recipes. It is believed that the most ancient belonged to the Infanta D. Maria, who wanted to bring a bit of her own country with her when she married the Duke of Parma and moved to what is today Emilia-Romagna, a region of Northern Italy. The discovery of her recipe notebook became the very first step towards the production and widespread recognition of these delicacies.

In terms of phonetics, though the term is widely used throughout Europe, the pronunciation often differs a little bit from the actual one:

[pɐʃtɛɫ də natɐʃ]

A symbol of the Portuguese gastronomy and culture, the pastel de nata remains to this day one the most famous traditions of Portugal.


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Written by João Almeida
Terminology Trainee at TermCoord