Flavours of Portugal Olhão

The amazing ‘Bolo-rei gigante de Olhão’

Somewhat surreal but great fun, joyful and delicious!

I think this must be the most surreal event we have yet been to, but it was also incredibly joyful, fun and delicious. There was snow, a reindeer folk band, elves, a bear, a walking Red & White Candy Stripe, Father and Mrs Christmas and lots of people in Santa hats on pushbikes and motorbikes. The highlight of course was the 120metre long ‘Bolo-rei’ created by Pastry Chef Filipe Martins of KubiDoce.

Bolo-rei (Kings Cake) is a traditional Portuguese cake eaten over the Christmas period. The traditional last day for enjoying this cake is Dia de Reis (the Day of Kings or Epiphany). The original recipe is French, and it came to Portugal in the 19th century when the Portuguese monarchy employed a French baker. The cake is made of a soft sweet white dough and is usually round, with a hole in the middle. The traditional additions are raisins, nuts and crystallised fruit but as you can see from the photographs Filipe didn’t just make Bolo-rei.

There were also ones of sweet almond with candied orange and peanut, and lots of carob with orange, raisins and almonds. There were also white chocolate cake with walnuts and orange, and dark chocolate ones with orange, cashew and almond. He’d even created a new one which he called ‘o Bolo-Princesa de Frutos Vermelhos’, Princess Cake of Red Fruits, with goji berries and cranberries. There was a palpable sense of anticipation amongst the crowd as we watched the cakes brought out. And we were not disappointed, not only did the cakes look amazing they were absolutely delicious.Creating the Gigante Bolo de Rei

Filipe Martins created his first gigantic King Cake in 2009, then it was a mere 70 metres long. This year’s 120metres long creation could have easily been 200metres long given the number of sections which went back into his patisserie. The only reason it wasn’t was because of a lack of tables!

Filipe Martins
Filipe Martins

Various reviews share that Filipe estimated he used 160 kilos of flour, 700 eggs, 40 kilos of sugar, 60 kilos of white chocolate, 60 kilos of dark chocolate, and 350 kilos of candied fruits, almonds, nuts, pine nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, cashews, raisins, red fruits, apricots, goji berries, cranberries, carob meal. As well as 15 litres of brandy, 25 litres of olive oil, 25 litres of milk, 15 kilos of yeast and 70 kilos of sweet potatoes.

Now a giant cake is one thing, but what made yesterday’s event surreal was who assisted the staff from KubiDoce in cutting the cake. First Father Christmas arrived with his motorbike entourage, then cyclists whisked past the cake, then the Reindeer Folk Band competed musically with the modern youth group before Father Christmas and the Candy Stripe strolled up and down the lines.

By the way if you have not yet tried a Bolo-rei then don’t bother with the ones sold in the supermarket, pop along to KubiDoce in Olhão. You will find them in Restoration Square opposite the main church. It is unlikely the Reindeer Band will be there when you go so here’s a very short video instead.

26 comments on “The amazing ‘Bolo-rei gigante de Olhão’

  1. Pingback: Epiphany in Olhão; unique and fun | It caught my eye in Portugal

    • oh thank you so much 🙂 feel very honoured.

      I must admit I find it difficult to respond to awards on my Portuguese blog because of the nature of the blog, however your 3rd question has given me an idea having just looked in the fridge! So expect something early in the New Year 😀

      Thanks again, and Feliz Natal!


  2. So beautiful, and seems it was great fun. Thank you dear Becky, loved all photographs. Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cake and a hairy folk band, great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know Kubidoce but it looks worth discovering, Becky. Think that might be a must do. Love the reindeer men 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That looks like a great event 🙂
    I’m definitely going to attempt my own Bolo-rei this week ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh wow….I have a recipe but not sure I trust the oven in our rental apartment! Do send me pics when you have made it, and are you going to include the fava bean?!


  6. Looks great fun and VERY tasty!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ll have a piece of each of them please, they all sound so delicious!!! (And yes Jo, I know you will tell me off for being greedy…. ). And Portuguese bagpipes? Really?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know – totally unexpected. Never come across them before here but MrB informed me when I made the same comment that bagpipes are found everywhere. I’ve since discovered they are called Gaita-de-Foles and are quite common in the north. Another good excuse to head north in the Spring!

      And I thought the same about the cake but after 3 enormous slices I was full! Going back there this week though to buy lots for Christmas 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your middle will regret it, Jude! Why wasn’t I there? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. The video is so short, it’s not even there…


  9. Looks wonderful and so decadent

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s a magnificent cake. Wonderful photos really enjoyed your festive post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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