September 17 - the food
On our last night in Portugal, as we cross into Spain tomorrow, I'm dedicating this to the delicious, but maybe not so healthy, food.
This is our favourite, pastel (pronounced poshtel) nata, which translates to cream pastry. It serves as Camino survival food, second brekkie, snack or dessert.
Laden with protein: egg yolks and milk, I can go for hours after eating one. We are lucky to have a Portuguese bakery in Vancouver that does a good job with their pastel nata. I've read the secret is 800 degree ovens.
Many desserts are bright yellow with egg yolks including an angel hair pasta pudding. Think rice pudding, but substituting threads of noodles for the rice. Turns out some of the traditional recipes were developed by the nuns who used egg whites to starch their habits and needed a way to use the yolks.
Meals in Portugal generally come with bread, rice and potatoes. The bread is probably the best I've ever tasted. At many restaurants the table is already set with bread, butter, sardine pate, cheese spread and cod fritters, all irresistible. And all at an up charge.
But wait, the carbs aren't all. Those Heart Smart people with whom C used to work in Community Health Promotion at the Health Department, would keel over at the amount of butter consumed here. Twice we thought we were ordering a healthy meal of grilled fish and veggies, however, they were all swimming in butter. So much for the European Mediterranean diet with all that healthy olive oil.
Don't get me wrong, we are enjoying every morsel, but I'll wait a few weeks before having a post trip cholesterol test. And I'll avoid a scale. Just like last year's Camino when C said he needed the cruise home to lose weight.
On the topic of food, on our way to dinner tonight we experienced a sunset as rich as the Portuguese diet: