The Tart Off - Pastel de Nata Challenge

After enjoying my very first pastel de nata (portugese custard tart) last week, I decided to search for the best pastel de nata in Toronto. This all started with Mark's comment on my Golden Wheat Bakery post.

Two places that came up most frequently were Nova Era bakery and Caldense bakery. About half of the people were die hard Nova Era fans, and the other half were Caldense fans. I decided to try them both out for myself, and find out which was better with a tart off!

I went to Dundas Street West, and bought a pastel de nata from each store. CK set up the blind taste test, and I judged the tarts on 3 criteria:

1. Taste of pastry alone
2. Taste of custard alone
3. Taste of pastry and custard together

Here were my results:

As you can see, tart #1 won hands down. And the winner was, drum roll please...

This was a fun little test, and CK and I had a great time doing it! This post is by no means saying that Nova Era bakery is better than Caldense bakery. We had read very good things about both places.

This made me think...there must be a mom-and-pop shop in Little Portugal that can make a mean pastel de nata.

If you know of any places that make them well, not necessarily in Toronto, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks to Mark who made this challenge happen!


Very cool Tart Off, and interesting results! Now of course, you must visit Lisbon and try the *real* ones. ;-)

Incidentally, my (Portuguese) wife tells me the secret of the original Pastéis de Belém is that they make so many that you always get a fresh one. Having a pastel still hot from the oven seems to be the secret of this tarty Nirvana.

Mmm. Portugese tarts. Thanks for the face-off review. I've always wondered... I've tried both but never back to back. Hahaha. I should though. I am SO craving a tart now though I have to say. O_O;;

Hi Mark,
Thanks for the article link. Pastéis de Belém is definitely on my radar now (if I ever get a chance to go).

Hi C,
I'm craving a tart right now too!

Next time you're in Toronto, go to the Churasceria in the St.Lawrence Market - they have the best ones!

Thanks a bunch for the suggestion. I will definitely check it out when I can.

I'm curious how the Golden Wheat nata compared with the Nova Era nata. I've had Nova Era but not GW. Which did you prefer?

S,nova era was the best one out of all the ones I tried.