Torta de Viana

The cake named for a city in Northern Portugal came out of nearby Convent.

Torta de Viana from Pastelaria Dantas (photo: Brent Petersen)

Torta de Viana origin story

Nearly every city and town in Portugal has it’s own unique pastry. In Viana do Castelo, that pastry is the Torta de Viana. The pastry can trace its roots to the Monastery of Vila do Conde, a monastery about 25 miles south of Viana and famous for the nuns who lived there and their skills with sweets. Some nuns came to Viana’s Convent of Santa Ana. The story goes that there, 500 years ago, they created the first Torta de Viana.

Full size Torta de Viana (photo: Brent Petersen)

Where to get a Torta de Viana

The cake is a thin sponge cake slathered with egg custard and rolled up. It is then sliced and served, often with a topping of powdered sugar and/or cinnamon. One delicious variation is to take the slice and dunk it in chocolate. You can get this version at Manuel Natário, one of my favorite old-school bakeries in Viana.

Chocolate covered Torta de Viana from Manuel Natario (photo: Brent Petersen)

There’s also a nice Torta de Viana at Pastelaria Dantas. They even have a mini version. So cute!

If you follow my blog or are familiar with Portuguese sweets, the Torta de Viana may sound familiar in its ingredients and preparation. The delicious Torta de Azeitão from the Setubal region is similar. I’ve written about this yummy cake and did a taste test video, as well.

Torta de Azeitão (photo: Brent Petersen)

If you want to visit the Convent of Santa Ana to pay tribute to the nuns who invented this delicious cake, it now goes by the name Convento da Caridade and functions as a nursing home. However, the church is open.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides in Portugal to Lisbon, PortoSintraÉvoraBraga, Loulé, Almada, Monsaraz, and Batalha. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms.

Author: Brent