“Oh, the fresh cheese cakes have arrived!”
Exclaims a lady, looking in from outside. She disappears for a minute and then returns with her husband and adolescent son, and a smile that says she knows she’s in for a treat. She knows these little cheese cakes cannot be bought anywhere else. Mr. Tavares serves her attentively and with empathy, the familiarity in their dialogue indicating that she is a regular: “For your boy, some of our gums maybe?”
The mother and father look at each other. It transpires that the “boy” was up to no good this morning. The café then becomes a place of debate on the nature of the transgression, the punishment and rearing children in general. The talk goes on. The boy, eyes on the ground, awaits his sentence. Meanwhile, a dozen kids his age, and fans of sweets, enter the small space, filling it with their boisterousness and excitement. Mr. Tavares is unfazed. He knows them all, and what they like, just as he knows the coffee blends their parents will come in for later. Most of the customers here are regulars who come for the quality of the products and good atmosphere.
This Pearl opened in 1938, the same as the neighbouring Casa Xangai, against the background of an Avenidas Novas district that introduced many new customs to the city, reinventing and expanding it. The founder, Isidoro Teixeira, brought all his experience, and the seal of quality, from the successful Carioca store in Chiado, another point of reference for coffee blends and teas. Today, what makes this shop special, in addition to the teas and coffees, is its assortment of everything needed for making coffee and tea (mocha pots, cafetières, glass balloon coffee makers, tea filters, etc.) and its regional delicacies. Few other shops have such so many marvellous Portuguese specialties in their assortment: biscuits and cakes from Fábrica Paupério, Madeira ponche, ginginha from Marvão, Elvas plums, sweets from Régua, súplica biscuits from Aveiro, crumbly Sintra shortbread, “little fish” biscuits from Azeitão, brandies and liqueurs, jams and preserves, and honey. A veritable culinary Tour of Portugal.
Coffees, teas, infusions; chocolates, biscuits and cakes; gums and sweets; accessories for making and storing coffee and tea; crockery; wines and liqueurs; jams, jellies and marmelades; coffee-making machines and devices