The sweet family Nata
THE DELICIOUS TRADITION OF PORTUGUESE CONVENTUAL CONFECTIONERY
One of the best known traditions in Portugal is that of conventual confectionery, a term used to identify the sweets created by the nuns who lived in convents.
It was from the 15th century, when sugar cane began to be produced on the Island of Madeira, that sugar entered the convents' gastronomy and gained notoriety. Besides, Portugal was one of the biggest egg producers in Europe. The whites were used as a purifying element in the production of white wine, and served to iron the elegant suits of the wealthiest men. With an exorbitant amount of egg whites being used for various purposes, there was a large surplus of egg yolks. This surplus quantity began to be used in the sweets created by the nuns.
At that time, most nuns were in convents not by choice or faith, but by social imposition. It is said that many of them dedicated themselves to the confection of sweets to entertain themselves during their life in the cloisters, creating or improving countless recipes.
With the extinction of the Religious Orders in Portugal in the 19th century, the making of convent sweets became the nuns' livelihood. The recipes were then passed on to their hosts, then passed from generation to generation, until they reached the present day.
PASTEL DE NATA AND PRESENT-DAY TRADITION
Some say that the Pastel de Nata is also a conventual sweet. At the beginning of the 19th century, in Belém, next to the Jerónimos Monastery, a sugar cane refinery operated in a shop selling various products. With the extinction of the Religious Orders, all convents and monasteries in Portugal were closed in 1834.
To earn some money for their subsistence, someone from the Monastery put on sale in that shop some very sweet pastries, which quickly earned the name "Pastéis de Belém".
In 1837, the production of these already famous pastries began, following the old "secret recipe" of the Monastery, which is only transmitted from master confectioner to master confectioner, remaining unchanged and secret until today.
Of uncertain origin, we do know that the Pastel de Nata soon conquered the mouths of the Portuguese and the rest of the world. Nowadays, this sweet pastry is a Portuguese symbol known all over the globe. We can even say that it is the international recognition of a long culinary tradition.
The Nata Benamôr family is therefore a tribute to Portuguese pastries and to this sweet which is recognised across borders.
NATA, THE "CRÈME DE LA CRÈME"
Benamôr was inspired by the tradition of Portuguese pastry making to create its Nata family, enriched with egg extract, one of the main ingredients in our country's confectionery. But this was not the only reason for choosing the name "Nata", as we could have opted for other names.
Cream is the richest and fattiest part of milk, which forms a layer on the surface. It is therefore the source of a high concentration of nutrients. This family of ours is, in fact, packed with benefits for the skin. Egg extract, the main ingredient in this range, is a powerful emollient with antioxidant properties, which nourishes and comforts the skin. Just like a Pastel de Nata, these products are comforting, not only for the results they have on the skin, but also for their sweet smell, impossible to resist.
Furthermore, when we talk about cream in a figurative sense, we can also associate this word with another concept, which is somehow linked to Benamôr products and to this family in particular. Cream means "that which is the best within a group of people or things". The French use an expression with the word cream, which in French is crème, when they want to say that something is the best of the best - it's the "crème de la crème". Benamôr prides itself on using the finest ingredients in its recipes, always trying to present "the cream" of skin care products.
Try the Nata family recipes: deliciously sweet and... non-fattening!