While still in Portugal, I would like to tell you a short story about Piriquita, the century-old and iconic family-run patisserie in the centre of Sintra, Portugal.
This little pastry shop sells around 250 travesseiros a day in the summer. This delish cake is a relatively recent invention, when compared to their queijada, Piriquita’s other iconic sweet, which boasts references dating back to 1227.
All photos taken with iPhone 5
In the 1940s, in one of the family’s book, Constancia Luisa dos Santos, the founder’s granddaughter, found a recipe that allowed her to overcome the shortages caused by World War II with a special twist and local ingredients. More than the puff pastry sprinkled with sugar, the great secret of Piriquita’s travesseiro is its filling, which is still only made by two members of the family. One of them is Leonor Cunha, who still at the age of 82 spends a good few hours of the day supervising production. The matriarch of the family told me she refuses to change the recipe and compromise on quality to make more money.
Piriquita is clearly women’s business. And all about strong personalities! It began with the great great grandmother, Constancia Gomes, who, due to her diminutive stature, King D. Carlos nicknamed “Piriquita”; it passed to the mother, Constancia Luisa, who created the travesseiro and now to the granddaughter Vera, who has introduced new things while maintaining family tradition. Vera Gomes has no doubts about the importance of the female sixth sense in the business; whether its seeing if the filling has the right texture or in the daily management of staff.
Here’s to Girls in food business! :)