Éclairs might be synonymous with French patisserie, yet in Porto, they’ve taken on a distinctive local flavour, thanks to the pioneering efforts of Leitaria da Quinta do Paço.
This establishment, rooted in nearly a century of history since its founding in 1920, has redefined the traditional éclair with a uniquely Portuguese twist. Traditionally filled with egg custard, the Porto version stands out for its use of artisanal whipped cream, offering a lighter, fluffier alternative to the classic French filling.
In Porto, some pastelarias also offer éclairs filled with doce de ovos, integrating another traditional Portuguese sweet into the mix. This adaptation further enriches the local éclair scene, providing a delightful variation on the French original.
Originally established as a dairy, Leitaria da Quinta do Paço made a name for itself by producing milk, butter, cheese, and notably, whipped cream, which was uniquely sold in waxed paper bags. This expertise in dairy production led to an innovative culinary venture in 1950 when they began crafting éclairs not with the usual custard but with their signature whipped cream.
Over the years, these whipped cream-filled éclairs captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike, prompting the introduction of a variety of enticing toppings, including dark chocolate, caramel, red berries, and more exotic flavours like passionfruit and lemon curd. This diversification reflects a blend of tradition with contemporary tastes, solidifying the éclair’s status as a beloved treat in Porto.
Leitaria da Quinta do Paço’s success has led to its expansion, spreading the joy of their unique éclairs from Porto to other Portuguese cities such as Braga and Lisbon.
Through Leitaria da Quinta do Paço’s creative approach, the éclair has transcended its French origins to become a cherished part of Porto’s culinary landscape. If you’re visiting Porto (or Lisbon or Braga) be sure to visit Leitaria da Quinta do Paço and try one (or many) of these delicious sweets. They’re just one of many great foods from Porto that you have to try.