The Algarve is known for its sunny weather, delicious almonds, and – above all – its beaches! But all Portuguese people know that when you go down to the Algarve for your summer vacation, you’re in for a treat… or several! That’s because the Algarve is home to lots of delicious egg- and almond-based sweets that delight seasoned visitors and new ones alike.
Perhaps the most famous of all the Algarve’s sweeties are the doces finos. These are little marzipan treats that come in all sorts of shapes (usually fruits, vegetables or animals). They’re a winning combination: adorable to look at, tasty to eat! You can buy boxes of these colorful, hand-decorated sweets and take them back home with you: little piece of Algarve that you can enjoy after you leave.
Another iconic treat that hails from the Algarve is the Dom Rodrigo. It’s easily recognizable by its fancy aluminum foil wrapper. It hails from the Algarve town of Tavira, where it was originally made at the Convento das Bernardas or Piedade, and named after a local religious man from an affluent family named Rodrigo. Made from fios de ovos (a stringy version of doce de ovos) and cinnamon, this is one very sweet dessert. The good news is one is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, so no need to overindulge.
The morgado/morgadinho looks pretty enough to be a wedding favor… but your time in the Algarve is a different kind of special occasion, so why not celebrate it with this lovely treat? Inside, you’ll find fios de ovos, doce de ovos, and a sort of pumpkin (chila) jam… are you drooling yet? This sweet combination is all covered in a white sugar glaze. Needless to say from the ingredient list that this is another conventual sweet (our nuns sure knew how to eat!).
The torta de amêndoa algarvia is another almond-based treat. You can buy these buy the slice or as a full roll from many bakeries in the Algarve. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your egg fix with this one (as if we needed another delicious way to enjoy these two ingredients together)!
Finally, a treat with a deceptive name: queijo de figo, which literally translates to “fig cheese”. Although fig jam and cheese make a delicious combination, the term cheese here refers to the shape of the cake. It’s a dense combination of figs and (of course) almonds, often decorated with whole, skinned almonds on top.
Now that you’re familiar with some of the most typical regional sweets in the Algarve, all you have to do is book your flights and get over there for a serious sugar fix. Bom apetite, as we say in Portugal!