Folar 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.
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!
If 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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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!