Maria da Ap. da Cruz, Herdeiros
— since 1882 —

A equipa M1882 · AVEIRONOSSO

An ancient history of other time and other people.

We’re in a Ovos Moles’s house, or “fine sweets” as they used to call the delicacy made by the the Convent of Santa Joana’s nuns. We could still feel the echo of all songs and ancient prayers engraved in the walls of these rooms. They still transpire the laughter and camaraderie of this work led exclusively by women. Aveiro’s women, proud and independent!

On the wall of the entrance hall that leads us to the kitchen, milestones of the past remain recorded in shades of gray, portraits spent by the sun and stained by dew. We recognize the gray hair, the shawl over their shoulders and a look gleaming at the horizon. Beside there’s a bookcase with quirky paraphernalia and a chest full of white shells in the form of barrels and other exotic forms inspired by the sea.

This story begins in 1882. A peculiar year that begins and ends on a Sunday. Who ruled was Fontes Pereira de Melo and the Portuguese King was D. Luis. The bankruptcy and English ultimatum were still eight years away. Portugal wanted to be modern, but development was slow to happen.

In Aveiro, in the aftermath of the Great Fire of the Franciscan convent of the Mother of God, was born the “Humanitarian Association of Aveiro Volunteer Firefighters”. In May of that same year, in the first centenary of the Marquis of Pombal’s death, the first monument stone in honor of José Estevão Coelho de Magalhães was placed, a monument we can now see in Praça da República.

Through the streets and alleys of the shoreline neighborhood lived a young Odilia Soares. One day, perhaps by chance or fate, Odilia met an unknown lady, that by having been employed in the now extinct Convent of Jesus was knowledgeable about the formula of making the already famous Ovos Moles. Both became good friends and then the lady passed onto Odilia the secrets of the convent’s “fine sweets”. Odilia was an entrepreneur and created right there a business that would prosper until she was 80 years old, producing Ovos Moles that were then sold at the railway station in the Porto-Lisbon connection or in various other pastry shops of the city.

Years and decades have gone by, a new century came in and a republic was born. The testimony was passed onto the next generation with Maria da Apresentação having succeeded her aunt in the arduous task of keeping an open house, having managed to do it for decades. However, in 1981, she closed the bakery where her precious and authentic Ovos Moles were sold. Dª. Maria da Apresentação then made her daughter-in-law, Dª. Silvina Raimundo da Silva promise that she would continue to produce Ovos Moles, following the original recipe.

She fulfilled the promise. “Maria da Apresentação, Herdeiros” is now one of the most famous and emblematic houses of the Portuguese gastronomic tradition and its value is recognized across borders.