Folar de Olhão

Folar de OlhaoFolar is a fancy bread which is traditionally baked at Easter. There are many types – sweet and savoury, but we’ve only tried a few. My favourite to date is the Folar de Olhão with its seven layers of caramelised sugar and cinnamon. More like a cake than a bread it is hard on the outside, with the appearance of a large English pork pie and incredibly gooey inside.

Seven layers of sugar and cinnamon
Folar de Olhão

It is very sweet so almost perfect for your Photo Challenge this week Hugh, I say almost as I’ve probably written too much for a photo challenge!! Lots of words are needed though as so delicious , especially if like us you are sampling the one made by João Mendes & Rita in Olhão. This year they won silver at the national ACIP Folar contest (Associação do Comércio e da Indústria de Panificação, Pastelaria e Similares) for their folar doce; here’s a video of them making folars. They also make a chocolate one, but I only discovered that today writing this so can’t confirm whether or not it tastes as good as I think it might do!

João Mendes e RitaIf you have not yet tried the traditional folar and suffer from the misfortune of not being in the vicinity of Olhão then don’t despair as you could have a go at making your own. The excellent APOS website has lots of recipes unique to Olhão including the local folar and folhados.

I hear you wonder what are folhados? I don’t think they are an Easter tradition although they do seem to be a small type of folar. I’m uncertain as to what the English translation exactly is for them as google translate is hopeless, and the recipes I have come across have translated it as puffs and even lollies.

Folhados de Olhao
Folhados de Olhão

The ones we tried ‘Folhados de Olhão‘ were made by Paulo Ramos dos Santos, also an Olhão baker/confectioner, and they are scrumptious. Instead of layers like a folar each one was a 2inch piece of dough wrapped round in ever decreasing circles. The dough texture reminds me of an English Hot Cross Bun made in the style of a cinnamon roll but with a caramelised bottom similar to what you find on a crème brûlée.

the caramelised bottom
its caramelised bottom

There are also apparently ones called ‘Folhadinho’, more biscuit sized with the roll ending up almost like a pyramid on the bottom. I’ve not yet seen these for sale though, only seen pictures. Having read about them though you can rest assured I’ll now be trying to track them down! Odd really as I don’t usually have a sweet tooth (chocolate doesn’t count!) but there is something about these Folar doce de Páscoa.

Paulo Ramos Dos SantosThe best place to see the extensive range of the many different types of folars, including the ones baked with a whole egg still in its shell, is at the Festival  do Folar which is held in Pechão. Unfortunately though I’ve written this post too late for you to get to it as it was last Sunday! Apologies, but if you pop along to your local mercado today or on Saturday I’m sure you will spy at least two or three folars to buy and sample this Easter.

Olhão Folar e Doce
A new folar and doce display at our favourite delicatessen stall in Olhão’s indoor market

I’m not too late though to tell you about some of the Easter events and traditions here in Olhão. The first event is only in its second year and takes place this coming Friday, it is the II Almoço Solidário de Páscoa Tradicional Olhanense. It is a lunch, and as well as the opportunity to eat some of the traditional sweet dishes you will be able to join in the Olhanense tradition of eating peas at Easter. The next tradition I am not sure happens any more but sounds a perfect way to walk off all that folar.  On the second Monday after Easter, the Olhanense traditionally walked up Cerro de São Miguel, that huge hill you see in the distance above Moncarapacho. We might just try it!

Monte Figo
Cerro de São Miguel, also known as Monte Figo

Author: BeckyB

It had been a good life walking, cooking, photographing, volunteering, blogging, and best of all spending time with MrB, family, & friends. Sadly it no longer is. Suddenly and unexpectedly I have become a widow.

15 thoughts

  1. I’ve been up that hill! (of course 🙂 ) but I’ve never tasted Folar. I’m relying on you to save me some chocolate flavoured for next month’s visit. There’s a challenge! 🙂 🙂 I hadn’t heard of the peas tradition, Becky. Sounds like you’re going to have a great day. Happy Easter to you and Robert!

    1. A very Happy Easter to you too. 😊
      Not yet found the chocolate one but I’ll keep searching, and when I do find it I’ll try not to eat it all!

  2. Oh dear Becky, I loved it, sounds so delicious because I love cinnamon recipes… Is this one that I found on youtube, I really want to try this one. Thank you, Happy Easter, Love, nia

  3. Hello Becky, and thank you for your help with the identification of our cistus flowers. (I feel sure you could be right.) Can I offer some help in return with ‘folhado’? It comes from folha, which relates to English (i.e. Latin) folio, or French feuille (in patisserie terms, think millefeuille), and means leaf or layer. Puff pastry would be a kind of folhado (Google trans not completely wrong in that case). So the Portuguese cake is a thin layer/leaf of pastry/dough folded or rolled up. Folhadinho is the diminutive: a little version. But I cannot work out whether ‘folar’ is related – in that way the Portuguese love to drop a letter or two – or the similarity is pure linguistic coincidence. The word ‘folar’ remains a puzzle to me.

    1. Ahha! Thank you……that’s fascinating. Would never have picked that up. Looking at how they make the folar would make sense if it is related. Perhaps I should contact the makers.

  4. Too many words for a photo challenge? Certainly not Becky.

    This is a very interesting read and I’m delighted you entered it into my photography challenge this week. Thank you so much.

    Best wishes,

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