Last weekend we flew from Brussels to Porto in order to visit Felgueiras, a municipality in Porto district, located 45 minutes ride from the airport. Felgueiras occupies a region that is famous for shoe industry, wines and… Pão de Ló de Margaride!
This was exactly the reason for our visit – we wanted to discover this special type of sweet bread that is traditionally made in Felgueiras since the 18th century. The best way to describe Pão de Ló de Margaride is – a sponge cake of round shape, with a hole in the center. Traditionally, it is separated and eaten by hand, and usually wrapped in the paper in which it was baked.
Felgueiras also hosts its annual festival to celebrate and promote this local tradition. We had a chance to visit the festival and meet five producers that nowadays still keep this tradition alive and well. The five producers were all passionately speaking about their cakes and each of them claimed that their product is probably the best! We tried them all and we agree – they are all the best! 🙂 Margaride’s sponge cake is very light with yellow-gold colour on the side and yellow-toasted on the top. Historically, this cake is tied to the region in a way that some families specialized in its production and passed this knowledge from a generation to generation.
The producers that make typical Sponge Cake of Margaride received many national and international awards and these are the names of the 5 companies which are active in Felgueiras:
Fábrica de Pão de Ló de Margaride
Casa do Pão de Ló Agostinho de Sousa
Pão de Ló de Margaride de António Lopes
Pão de Ló de Margaride Mário Ribeiro (Fernando Jorge Cibrão Ribeiro)
Casa Rosa Sousa, Alojamento e Produtos Regionais
We had a chance to visit the factory of Pão de Ló in Felgueiras and to learn how this sponge cake is made. Even though the basic ingredients include only eggs, sugar, and flour, each producer has its own way of production, including different ratio of ingredients and baking time.
The festival in Felgueiras was a great way to meet the local traditions and this is the first time the festival went international. Apart from local producers, there were guests from other countries that produce the sponge cake or its variations. The goal is to promote the Pão de Ló and Felgueiras as a place that has one of the best sponge cakes – Pão de Ló de Margaride! Connect this with a very amazingly tasty food, lively agricultural industry as well as the wine production (we had a chance to do a wine tasting in the Quinta da Lixa) and you get a very interesting destination, a place that any food & wine lover would like to visit and experience.
If you want to learn more about the Pão de Ló de Margaride and its festival, visit their official website.