For those of you who know the Manuel Firmino market well, you will certainly remember the Mostardinha butchery and maybe even the grocery store, which in turn preceded the butchery. Times have changed, the market has undergone a restructuring and the new harmony of space builds an excellent bridge between the trade of yesteryear and the new facets of urban life: a perfect symbiosis.
It is in this fusion of stone and aluminum, in this blend of functionality and decoration that we find Chá e Bolachas, founded on October 14, 2014, a space of light and relaxed personality. Some clients like to their books, as if diluted by the lazy 4 o’clock sun , others exchange amenities and playfulness with the owner, Ester Neves, but all unite in their love of the delicious temptations that fill the counter and storefront of this nice and fragrant establishment.
Ester is an autodidact, claiming the advantages of the present information society, and the know-how of her paternal grandparents who were artisan bakers. We add to this recipe a bit of international influences and the result is really appetizing: cakes, pies, crackers and salads of the most varied flavors and textures.
The name Chá e Bolachas is as carefree as the atmosphere you breathe inside. Esther began by selling home-made biscuits. 'What goes with cookies? Tea!'
What is not carefree, however, is the attention that Ester has with her customers: in addition to not using refined sugars in the confection of their cakes, Ester also offers pastry and salads aware of the health problems that devastate a good part of the population, which translates into egg-free recipes, gluten, lactose or other prohibitive ingredients, and also makes an important distinction between intolerances, allergies and restrictions.
For those who do not like or can not consume sugar at all, our sweet pastry maker also makes cakes with rice jelly and other natural sweeteners.
Last but not least, Ester almost by magic, can ally the sweet to the healthy.
In a pragmatism that appears as a breath of fresh air, in Chá e Bolachas - with all its decoration and aplomb - we do not find decorative cakes, made almost exclusively of massapan or mass of sugar. The toppings are made from various ganaches, for example. After all, 'the cakes are made for eating'.
In the future the menu will be expanded to offer more comprehensive vegan options, starting with some promising toasties!
Tea and Biscuits is virtually a home away from home, but attention, just as brothers fight over their mother's freshly baked cookies, so do patrons demand and fight over Chá e Bolachas’s delicacies. Ester can attest to it when she decided to announce in a sounding voice 'Freshly-baked Scones ready'. 'I only did it once,' she tells us with a smile on her lips.