The richest sweet making tradition in Portugal lies with catholic convents spread across the country. This is how the story goes… Fifteenth century farmers and peasants had the custom of giving large quantities of eggs to their local covent as a sign of appreciation of its religious work. The egg whites were used for starching the nun’s habits and later for purifying white wine which left a lot of yolks. With the colonisation of the island of Madeira the Portuguese brought sugar to Europe and it is in the Portuguese convents that the magical combination of egg yolks and sugar is born. Often including the other key Portuguese import of the time: cinnamon, this conventual tradition has produced an immense variety of sweet treats, often confined to each region of the country. As well as delighting local communities with their sweets, nun’s found ways of expressing their devotion in the names for their creations: paradise cake (bolo paraíso), celestial feast (manjar celeste), heaven’s bacon (toucinho do céu), cardinal biscuits (biscoitos do cardeal)… Even the famous Pasteis de Nata come from this centenary tradition.