December 7, 2004
As with almost all Porto coffeehouses or bars, the coffee menu is an exercise in itself, with a choice of perhaps a dozen strengths and combinations (though the syrups and flavourings that seem popular in other European cities are, thankfully, not in evidence here to taint the excellent coffee)- a pingado (double espresso shot with a dash of extra water or milk) will set you back 1€ or get a lager. (Try the very refreshing bottled version that contains essence of lemon-much nicer than it sounds; it’s a cross between light lager, ginger beer, and homemade lemonade.)
The piece de resistance, however, is the pastries, puddings and buns section, which runs along a counter for a good 10 feet - many are Portuguese specialties, featuring egg custards, glace fruits, sponges, the revolting-sounding, but delicious, "chocolate salami" (the reference to salami comes from its appearance - chunks of shortbread embedded in a chocolate, dark or milk, base, which makes it look as though it does indeed belong in a delicatessen!); sweet and more-ish little coconut fancies; and, my personal favourite, macaroons - to die for.
A tip: if you are short of cash or watching costs, takeaway cakes are a fraction of the price of eating in - 1€ per macaroon if you’re eating in as opposed to about 10 for 2€ if bought for takeaway. Be careful, though, as they also have a short shelf life, so don't export too many and expect them to last.
From journal Tawny or ruby? More than just port in Porto