The European Commission has recognized the Pastéis de Chaves aka Chaves pastry (with which we start all of our Downtown Food tours) as a product from protected geographical location. This means that no one else apart from the producers in Chaves can claim to have “Pastéis de Chaves”.
How do the ones on our tour fare in with this change? I’m glad you asked! Knowing that this would happen the owners of the Pastéis de Chaves shop (who are from Chaves) moved their production from the shop to a location in Chaves where they can make bigger quantities as well as apply the same quality control throughout. As soon as the pastry batch is produced, it is driven down to the shop in Porto and finalized here.
The story of the pastry goes back to 1862 when a saleswoman walked the city of Chaves with a basket that had some weirdly shaped pastries but so good that they were not enough to sate the “flavienses” (people from Chaves). The product was so loved and yet so scarce for the regional gluttony that the founder of Casa do Antigo Pasteleiro offered 1 pound for the recipe and started producing it. The rest, as they say, is history, with this pastry growing in acceptance in Portugal and outside to the point of becoming protected.
Haven’t you come to one of our tours yet? Well, then I must explain what a pastry from Chaves is. This pastry is a traditional specialty composed of a very fine filo dough in the shape of a half-moon filled with minced lamb meat. It’s usually between 12 and 14 cm and weighs 60 to 90 grams.
Are you more of a visual person? Here you go: