One thing I love about eating out in Portugal is the dessert menu, and I always try to leave room at the end of the meal for a little bit of sweetness. I’m not talking about ice creams or the pre-bought-in desserts that a lot of places serve nowadays, but those that are marked on the menu as being ‘caseira’ or homemade.
My personal favourites are egg and orange cake, almond tart, farófias (poached meringues), molotof (another meringue-based pudding) and baba de camelo—but my all-time favourite is the humble chocolate mousse (mousse de chocolate). It can’t be lemon, peach, strawberry or even maracujá (passion fruit)—no, for me it has to be chocolate and homemade!
I like to imagine that the chocolate mousse has been made by an old aunty or grandma from a recipe that has been passed down through the generations – and whether it is light or dark, sticky or fluffy doesn’t matter, just forget the fake cream on top—I just want pure chocolate.
Needless to say I have been to quite a few of the restaurants in Estremoz and sampled quite a few variations of my favourite chocolate fix. Some loaded with sugar, some with extra chocolate, some modern fusion takes on the traditional, some with a touch of alcohol…but which is my favourite?
Just who makes the best chocolate mousse in Estremoz?
Call me a puritan, but my favourite is actually the one served at O Viajante on the main N4 road to Borba. I know it is a low cost roadside hotel with a daily menu of €8.50 for three courses, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to quality. The waiter serves a dollop of the mousse up from a large heaped bowl—it is light, fluffy and has little chocolate chips sprinkled though it. It is that good that every time we find ourselves driving by, I hopefully chirp up: “fancy a coffee?”
This is an on-going investigation by the way so don’t take my word for it—and if anyone knows of a better chocolate mousse in Estremoz, then please let me know…