A few eggs aren’t enough. We’ll need four dozen. Yes. Forty-eight eggs. And two pounds of sugar. And a handful of almonds. Oh, that’s right: plus 12 egg yolks. That’s all it takes to prepare an “egg lamprey” (the final form of the sweet is similar to that of the fish), one of the most mythical desserts in central Portugal. Too many eggs? No way!

Welcome to the fabulous and very unique universe of Portuguese sweets. The obsession with eggs is healthily unhealthy (do you notice the paradox?). From north to south, they are the basis of the biggest treats. The story goes back a long way: the earliest recipes come from medieval convents.

Just go through Aveiro, the magnificent seaside city an hour south of Porto: every other door you’ll find a shop selling the “ovos moles” (soft eggs, literally) sweet. They are made only with sugar, and then wrapped in a delicate wafer. They are so popular that they’re sold all over the country. Just like the legendary “pastel de nata”, custard tart, the queen of Lisbon flavors.

So, take a break from your diet and come and discover this incredibly sweet Portugal. It’s about time.