Doces Fálicos (Phallic Sweets)

Amarante, Portugal makes for a lovely day trip from Porto. Go for the bridge and the cathedral, stay for the phallus-shaped cakes and cookies.

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Doce fálico
If you’re in the market for a day trip from Porto, about 50 minutes northeast of Porto lies the medieval village of Amarante, nestled in the Tâmega river valley. Before you start wondering about what to see in Amarante, let me sum it up for you: its principal tourist attractions are the São Gonçalo (i.e., St. Gonzalo) bridge and cathedral in the historic city center. Beautiful. Historical.  But I’m not here to talk about any of that.
That’s because I’m here to talk about penises!  Penis cakes, that is.
Walk down the main artery of old town Amarante, 31 de Janeiro street, and in every café along the way, you will find at least one, and often various kinds, of doces fálicos, or phallic sweets. 
cafe in amarante
Size doesn’t matter in downtown Amarante
Have you ever ordered a dessert, whose name you did not know, by using your hands to mimic an erect penis?  Well, I have, and I can tell you that the deadpan response by a server that the dessert in question is called doce fálico, and her accompanying death stare that must mean she has heard this stupid question 16,000 times, takes none of the joy away from eating a penis-shaped cake filled with cream.  Because of course it’s filled with cream.  And not just at the tip, mind you.  That would be tasteless.
doce falico magnets
Doce fálico merch:
doce falico bottle opener
The perfect out-of-context stocking stuffer
There are various origin stories to explain the invention of these desserts: a playful trick by local bakers; an homage to the supposed matchmaking services of São Gonçalo – who was not technically a saint because he was only “beatified” by the Catholic Church, not canonized – which would be a pretty weird side gig for a medieval priest; and, finally, the most likely story, that phallus-shaped baked goods were a holdover from pre-Christian times, possibly Roman, as symbols of fertility that through some process of religious syncretism eventually became associated with São Gonçalo. 
During the Estado Novo dictatorship of António Salazar, doces fálicos were censured and their “massification” only grew after the Estado Novo fell with the Revolução dos Cravos, or Carnation Revolution, in 1974. Today, the sweets make a strong showing across the city during local festivals in early January and later in June, but you can usually find them year-round in the cafés along 31 de Janeiro street in downtown Amarante.  Amarante is located in the mountains, and is therefore quite a bit colder than Porto in winter, so you might want to plan your visit for the warmer months.  Besides, northern Portugal summer is a delight, as I’ve talked about before
Naturally, the main public for colhões de São Gonçalo, or São Gonçalo’s balls, as the desserts are also called, is tourists.  If you look up from your plate, and turn your powdered sugar-dusted face towards the rest of the café, you’ll notice that the actual amarantinos, people from Amarante, are not eating penis cakes.  That’s because they are not seven.
biggest doce falico
Don’t want no short, short doce fálico: in 2011, this 21-meter penis cake was a candidate for the Guiness Book of World Records for longest penis cake. The competition was stiff. Image: Gazeta das Caldas
But you do you: order a sack of doces fálicos to go, hand them to your friend and say, “go eat a bag of d*cks!” It will be the most literal insult you can possibly make.  Also, delicious.     
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