As soft eggs (ovos moles) from Aveiro gained worldwide fame, countless houses who devoted themselves to this delicacy have emerged over time. However, it is still relevant to recall and praise the pioneering spirit of those who initially created the reputation of this pastry. A perfect example of this spirit is seen in Pastelaria Santa Joana, located at Rua dos Mercadores 22, which continues to delight Aveiro with its traditional pastry.
The house opened doors in 1975 and has had some different managements. Those who have a lot of white hairs will probably remember the predecessor of the Santa Joana pastry shop, the café História, however, most of the people of Aveiro will remember the management of Dona Rosinda and Inácio who have raised the fame and quality of the house. The establishment was then in the hands of Paula Brito, who had been working there for several years.
Finally, Alejandro Rodrigues and Breyda Rodrigues took to leading the house. They met in Venezuela, and who knows, they might have stayed there, were not Alejandro's parents from Aveiro. The desire to know Portugal spoke louder and the couple came to start a new life in the city of moliceiros. In recognition of their experience and know-how, they offered society to Paula. In spite of these changes, there are constants in this establishment: the sympathy towards each customer who enters the pastry shop, the informal atmosphere and the sweets made in the establishment, respecting the recipes of yesteryear. In fact, it isn’t only the recipes that are the same, but also the hands that prepare them: Rosa Maria and Maria da Conceição, affectionately known by everyone as São, are the miracles behind the flavor, counting among them over 40 years of experience in Santa Joana. Some neighbors still recall the time when São, only 16 years old, carried the trays from the street of the Marnotos, where formerly the production for Santa Joana was made.
The house has not only maintained, the clientele was also expanded. Joining the habitués who always sit at the same table and ask for the favorite cake, are tourists from various nationalities gathered to taste the famous ovos moles. The palmiers also have the reputation of being some of the best in Aveiro. A couple from Lisbon atested to this when they ordered 40 of these pastries and simply retorted, to Paula's amazement: 'your 2 days-old palmiers are better than other fresh ones.' It would also be a great injustice not to mention the excellent broas castelares that are avidly bought, especially at Christmas.
There are no secrets to the proper functioning of the house other than those we have already mentioned, but there is indeed still a mystery to be revealed. You see, among the older customers, there was a group of gentlemen who always sat in the same place, and would occasionally tempt Paula’s curiosity saying that behind the doors where the production of cakes is currently made, ‘a lot of things happened’. A curiosity that perhaps someone who reads this story can reveal.
Recently, the business joined the Suspended Coffee initiative, which leaves something paid for someone to consume later, thus perpetuating the good atmosphere and giving and receiving spirit that so well characterizes the house. We could continue to mention the qualities of this establishment, but we leave this task to Mrs. Virginia Lopes who did not resist during the interview to kindly give her contribution: 'they are very friendly and serve us very well.'