Here we have a look at some of the Easter favourites you will find on the tables of Portugese families at this time of the year.

Arroz Doce (Sweet Rice)

The recipe came from the Asian continent, where rice is more abundant than in other continents. It was the first recipe to be claimed as Portuguese in recipe books around the world, including Spain, during the 17th century. The preparation of the dessert may vary according to the region where it is cooked. In general, the rice is cooked in milk with sugar, and seasoned with cinnamon sticks and lemon zest. When the rice is cooked, egg yolks are added, and during the process, the cook must be careful as the rice may turn out either too dry or too creamy. When done, the rice is served and may be decorated with cinnamon powder.

Folar da Páscoa

The origin of the recipe is unknown, and Portuguese people may tell the legend of Mariana, who prayed for Santa Catarina to get married as soon as possible. Santa Catarina heard her prayers and sent her two men who ended up physically fighting for her. Mariana decided to marry Amaro, leaving the other man single. The other man was very rich and got angry because he was replaced by Amaro, a poor farmer, and wanted to kill him during the marriage. Suddenly, the three involved received a cake with eggs inside of it. Now, the Folar is made in Portuguese cuisine to represent friendship and reconciliation.

There are a variety of recipes, once again, concerning the geographical area. The Folar de Olhão, made in the Algarve, must be highlighted for its difference. This version is sweeter and less dry when compared to the ones that are sold at supermarkets. Folar de Olhão is cooked and built in layers covered in sugar and cinnamon, in a recipe that may be very complicated, as there are a lot of steps to take to create the perfect result.

Bolo Podre (Rotten Cake)

Like many Portuguese desserts, the origin of the cake is a bit uncertain. Some people believe that the recipe was created by nuns in Alentejo. The origin of the name is also unknown, but some people think that it originated due to the long durability of the cake, which may be stored and eaten for several days without spoiling. Like most monastery desserts, this one also uses only egg yolks, as the egg whites were used by nuns to give a fancy touch to their habits. For the cake, olive oil, sugar, lemon, and even aguardante are some of the ingredients used to make a cake that will never spoil.

Pão de Ló de Ovar

The recipe originated in Ovar, located in the Aveiro district, and was usually given to prayers and people seen as sacred who would visit the town to pray for those who live there. The recipe was kept secret for a long time, and people would give the ingredients to certain families to make Pão de Ló de Ovar to eat during the festivities or other times of the year.

When mixers did not exist, bakers would mix the dough with big wooden spoons for two hours, but nowadays the process may be simplified by using an electric mixer, spending at least half an hour mixing the ingredients that will create the delicious dessert. Eggs, sugar, and flour are all people need to make Pão de Ló de Ovar, which should not be completely cooked.

Offering Sweets During Easter

Not so Portuguese, but very common in the country, Easter almonds or chocolate eggs are commonly given. It is also common for to godparents spend this time with their godchildren, giving them a Folar, that normally is just a good amount of money, for children to make everything they want.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos