Sunday, May 22, 2011

"I'm gonna' have a baby!"

I exclaimed as I reached for an adorable bundle of joy from the candy dish.  I'm sure Eric's heart skipped a beat. 

It's a boy!!

Despite the sugar shortage that threatened to shut down Portugal a few months ago, there is no shortage of sweet treats here now!  At Easter, new and exciting candies popped up in the shop windows. 

My eyes bulged at the sight of the enormous selection of sugary almonds on display.  They were covered with chocolate or cinnamon (or both) or toffee or colorful coatings or ...  My favorites are the crunchy, buttery toffee almonds, and something called Almond Olives.  These are little orbs of almond brittle (kind of like the center of a Butterfinger, but made with almonds instead of peanuts) covered in chocolate and made to look exactly like green and black olives!

Although chocolate is not wildly popular here, Arcadia, a confectioner in Porto, makes delicious chocolate cat tongues, port wine chocolates and the wacky and delightful Liquor Almonds.  These aren't actually almonds at all, rather they're like VERY sweet, crunchy jelly beans filled with different flavors of liqueur such as mint and nondescript fruity schnapps.  These also made their debut at Easter and I was instantly attracted to their strange shapes and beautiful hand-decorated coatings.  In addition to the babies, we also saw ducks, carrots, acorns, giant lima beans, kidney beans and delicately painted floral candies.

Another fun treat we've discovered here is Chocolate Salami.  Unlike some of the Portuguese desserts that actually DO contain pork fat or bacon, this quirky confection does not. It is pretty much like fudge mixed with crushed up cookies, rolled into a log shape and sliced.  I've made it a few times and it actually does look a lot like salami!  To make your own meatless salami, click HERE!

So, no chocolate Easter bunnies or packages of dayglo Peeps for us.  Instead, we feasted on olives, babies, carrots and chocolate salami.  

~ Peggy

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