Easter is a week away and I’m particularly excited about the food! I’ve already started stock-piling amêndoas de Páscoa (Portuguese Easter almonds). It’s common for people to offer each other amêndoas at this time of year, especially for godchildren to gift them to their godparents. But because I have a huge sweet tooth, I seem to amass a respectable collection every year (my Easter stash usually takes about 5-6 weeks to consume). If there’s one thing Portuguese people do well it’s sweets, so there’s a variety of amêndoas out there for everyone! The last variety on the list will surprise you with its impressive detailing but also its very unique filling… But which will be your favorite?
Amêndoa tipo francês: the classic almond coated in sugar (about 33% almond, 67% sugar), known as sugared almonds or Jordan almonds in other countries. This variety is usually white & pink. Just to blow your mind a little bit: you can also get miniature versions of these, containing pine nuts instead of almonds – delicious!
Amêndoas de chocolate (also known as Cláudias): Similar to the above, but the almonds are covered in chocolate. This variety comes in white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate. At one point, some chocolate genius came up with the idea of combining all three varieties into a single box, thereby creating a little box of chocolaty, nutty heaven.
Amêndoas torradas: These traditional almonds have been coated in caramelized sugar. They have that brown, uneven, rustic look to them.
Drageias de chocolate (tipo belga): Technically, these don’t actually contain any almonds but they’re one of the most common varieties around Easter because not everyone likes nuts. These drageias are entirely made of chocolate with a sugar shell, and basically look like a big, almond-shaped M&M. They come in lots of fun pastel colors.
Drageias Bonjour: These tiny little sweets, made by the Arcádia brand, also don’t contain almonds. From the outside, they appear to be slightly large, colorful jelly beans, but they hide a secret: alcohol! That’s right, these adorable beans are a beautiful vessel for liqueur. The liqueur is held inside a hard, sugar coating which is hand-decorated (!) like tiny pieces of art. These “almonds” are often shaped like babies, animals, or vegetables. The entire process of creating these takes approximately two months! Click this video and fast-forward to 2:00 to see all the pretty designs. At 3:00, you will see the drageias being decorated by hand.
So, which type is your favorite?