Portugal’s traditional Easter cake.jpg

Portugal’s traditional Easter cake

FOLAR DE Páscoa, or just folar, is a fancy bread eaten during the Easter period in Portugal. The traditional flavourings of aniseed and cinnamon make it a most welcome companion for tea or coffee and, even better, it lasts, remaining excellent to the very end. The folar is often decorated with two or four boiled eggs on top, half buried and secured with two strips of dough, crossing each other.

The folar can also be eaten at other times of the year and recipes vary from region to region, being passed down from generation to generation. In Chaves (north of Porto) for example, savoury folares are very popular and often contain cured meat. Folares also vary in shape and size, some being round, others rectangular like a loaf. In some areas of Portugal, the traditional Folar de Páscoa has been replaced by pão-de-ló, a form of sponge cake.

Whatever its size or recipe, the folar is always present on the table during the Easter festivities and, traditionally, has been part of a gift-giving ritual representing a tribute to life. Tradition says that the folar is a present given by godparents to their godchildren, and by parishioners to their priest, on the occasion of Easter.

Folar events in the Algarve

There are many folar fairs taking place this Easter and, once again in Guia, there will be the cutting of a giant folar (this year it will weight 400kg), slices of which will then be distributed to the general public. The spectacle is due to take place close to the Polidesportivo (sports centre) in Guia, on April 16, from 4pm. Other fairs dedicated to the folar will take place in São Marcos da Serra from April 14 to 16, and in Paderne near the market on April 8 and 9. For further information, see The Resident’s What’s On guide.

If you fancy making a folar yourself this Easter, here is a traditional recipe.

Folar de Páscoa


400g flour

15g fresh yeast

45g caster sugar

90g butter

One large egg

300ml milk

One teaspoon powdered aniseed

One teaspoon cinnamon

Half teaspoon salt

For decoration

Two hard-boiled eggs, still in

their shells

One beaten egg for brushing


In a warm bowl, combine the crumbled yeast with a quarter of the given flour and a third of the milk (which should be warm). Mix in half the sugar. Make a dough with these, then cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about half-an-hour. Meanwhile, beat the egg with the remaining milk and sugar, salt and spices. Add the flour gradually and work the dough for a few minutes. Add the softened butter and work again. Mix the yeast dough and knead really well. When ready, it should not stick to the sides of the bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place, for about three hours, to rise. Then, with floured hands, shape one big or two smaller loaves (round or slightly egg-shaped) and place the boiled eggs on top, half buried and secured with two strips of dough, crossing each other. Brush the folar with beaten egg and bake in a hot oven (210 degrees C/425 degrees F/Gas mark 7) until nicely brown. Serves eight to 10.

(Recipe courtesy of The Taste of Portugal, by Edite Vieira)

• Turn to pages 20 and 21 for ‘Food & Drink’, The Resident’s new column sponsored by WineMine, featuring fantastic recipes made with local produceand all of the latest food news and products.