Why are valongo bread and biscuits so well known?

2021-05-03
Why are valongo bread and biscuits so well known?

The manufacture of high quality bread and biscuits is a secular activity in Valongo. Making the most of mills, water springs, firewood from the hills and the estrada real [royal road] to the city of Porto, Valongo specialised in the producing and supplying the latter with bread, at least since the seventeenth century, according to records from the time. 
From the 18th century onwards, the number of bakeries in the urban centre multiplied, fruit of the baking sector’s vitality and the generational character of the business. The Valonguese women headed to Porto three times a week to sell sêmeas, moletes e regueifas at bread fairs, but also at the train stations, which was made possible by the completion of the Douro and Minho railway lines in 1875. In time, the milling and baking sector also grew in the city of Porto as the result of industrialization, leading Valonguese bakeries to adapt their production to the new demands of the market. From the end of the 19th century onwards, biscuit makers emerged as an alternative and very successful economic segment, and the 20th century was marked by the regulation of the sector, the mechanization of production, and the opening to new national and international markets.