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20-03-2018

Portugal is a small country when it comes to geography, but incredibly diverse in terms of cuisine.

As least this is the feeling we get as we flip through the pages of “Portuguese Confectionery”, by Cristina Castro. This book doesn’t include recipes and can be thought of more as an inventory of all Portuguese confectionery, telling the stories of each item and describing the people who produce them.

Every piece of confectionery has a story, a creator, a district and a local tradition. In order for it to be included in the book, the piece of confectionery must be a geographical speciality. The delicacy must be the speciality of a certain area and must be something that anybody can try when they visit.

Cristina Castro is the author who holds the reins of this project (No Ponto) travelling to far-flung regions on the map of Portugal that hangs on one of her living room walls, marking each sweet treat and every journey with drawing pins.

“Everywhere you go in Portugal there is at least one sweet. And it's this that Cristina doesn’t want to miss. Two of the four volumes that she is writing take pride of place on the bookshelf, and on her laptop is the website noponto.pt to which she contributes regularly to publicise the other side of her work.

She searches for sweets by sending queries to the 308 municipal governments in the country.

She always uses the same ritual to collect the stories of the confectioners: turn on the camera, start filming and let the people talk. Many hours are spend at the computer to write down what she sees and feels.

Many more are spent at the library to cross-check and confirm information that she collects every day. This is work done little by little and that takes time, like a loaf that takes time to rise.

We can’t turn up the temperature to speed up the baking process, as we would just get burned”. But every time, during each journey and conversation, she adds a few more drawing pins to the map and comes back enriched after sharing another few sweets.

The new volumes are being prepared and promise many more sweet stories, such as those that can be found on the pages of the North and South editions of “Portuguese Confectionery”. A project supported by Ferneto that deserves to be appreciated by everybody.



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