We were beyond surprised to find Portugal Imports, a Portuguese bakery, in Artesia. But we opened our minds and entered the pristine shop to find a cornucopia of freshly baked and imported goods.
Cans of tuna, virgin olive oil, beans and dried fruit from sunny Portugal were just the start of the immersion.
They also carry the famous piri-piri sauce, a spicy mix of African peppers, spices, onion, garlic and lemon, that can now be found all over Portugal. Used as a condiment and marinade for chicken, meat and seafood, it is recommended only to those looking for an incendiary experience.
Portuguese allspice is a compelling blend of herbs and spices that take sweet and savory dishes to new levels of excitement.
After a brief tour of the shop we turned our attention to their seductive baked goods.
A few tables and chairs make grabbing a cup of coffee and some pastries the logical afternoon pick-me-up.
Queijiada de nata is their signature pastry. Bakers fill a puff pastry shell with creme brûlée-like custard. The pride and joy of Portugal, these creamy, sweet, bites melt away in a smooth rush of pleasure.
Pastries at Portugal Imports sell for $1.45 each or $15.00 a dozen and there is an explanation for each written on the wall.
A similarly baked pastry cup called nata de belem, originated in the 1800’s by nuns trying to raise money for their church. These silky creations are spiked with cinnamon and lemon, heavenly indeed.
The amendoa, stuffs pastry shells with chopped almonds in a sugar glaze for one crunchy, almond extravaganza that permeates the entire sweet.
Caramelo are toasted toffee tarts that explode with burnt sugar and a chewy consistency.
Then there are the breads. We highly recommend the corn bread (not sweet like American corn bread) and the sweet bread which is sweet, similar to Kings Hawaiian bread. Don’t miss the crunchy cookie twists which go exceptionally well with a cup of tea.
And finally for more Portuguese traditions, take a gander in the refrigerated case where bacalhau (salted cod), sausage and cheese celebrate the most well known and loved flavors of Portugal.
For hidden Portuguese treats, ingredients and staples, a visit to Portugal Imports provides a journey to the edible heart of the country.
Portugal Imports, 11655 Artesia Boulevard, Artesia, CA 90701
Phone – 562-809-7021 web site – portugalimports.net