At the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, in Belém, next to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos there was a sugar cane refinery attached to a small general store.
As a result of the 1820 liberal revolution, all convents and monasteries in Portugal were shut down in 1834, the clergy and laborers expelled.
In an attempt to survive, someone from the monastery offered sweet pastries for sale in the shop. Those pastries rapidly became known as ‘Pastéis de Belém’.
In 1837, the baking of the “Pastéis de Belém”began in the buildings attached to the refinery, following the ancient ‘secret recipe` from the monastery.
Passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in a secret room, this recipe remained unchanged to the present day. In fact, the only true ‘Pasteis de Belém’ contrive, by means of a scrupulous selection of ingredients, to offer even today the flavour of the time-honored Portuguese sweet making.
Whenever it is necessary to pass the secret, some requirements have to be fulfilled :
it was imperative for the person to be tall
not to drink alcohol nor smoke
Remember that “The secret can only be memorized, it can’t be written down”
We could count on the fingers of one hand the people who at present know the secret. And to guarantee its security you cannot be too careful.
The holders of the secret can never:
never eat the same food in the same restaurant
never ride in the same car
We love to honor Lisbon's sweet traditions and that's why we never miss our weekly visit to the delicious Pasteis de Belem.