APPT Macau: A recipe for success
It's amazing what can be achieved with some full cream milk, whipped cream, castor sugar, egg yolks and some puff pastry. Let me introduce you to one of Macau's hidden treasures - the Portuguese egg tart.
One of the many manifestations of European culture in this former Portuguese colony, these tasty little morsels are readily available throughout the city, and are just one of the reasons that poker players tend to leave Macau with a few extra pounds around the waist.
Macau-style egg tarts were evolved from a traditional Portuguese custard pastry that consists of custard (similar to crème brûlée) that is caramelised in a puff pastry case.
It was created more than 200 years ago in Lisbon and introduced to Macau at Lord Stow's Café in Coloane, owned by a Briton named Andrew Stow. He modified the traditional Portuguese recipe with techniques used in making English custard tarts.
The story goes that when Stow and his wife, Margaret, separated, she opened her own shop in the downtown area on the Macau peninsula. Margaret's Café and Nata is now regarded as the best egg tart bakery in the city. All kinds of dim sum ranging from almond cake, chicken cakes, cashew cookies, sesame crackers, egg and cheese rolls are served in Portuguese cafés around the square.
But it's no secret - we presented ourselves at Margaret's shortly after 8am to be presented with a very long queue. But it wasn't long until we were basking in the morning sun with the morning's first coffee and one of Margaret's glistening egg tarts as the morning traffic shuffled through Largo do Senado.
With a take-away tart six-pack firmly in our possession, it was back into another steamy Macau morning to the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino for day 1C of the HKD $40,000 buy-in PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event.
Watch APPT Macau 09: Day 1C Introduction on PokerStars.tv
Not sure if Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem is a fan of the egg tart (we promise to find out today), but the 2005 WSOP champion is fuelled and fired up to emulate his APPT Macau final table appearance of 2007.
Joining Hachem in today's field is Joe's younger brother Tony, who is still beaming after securing the first PokerStars.net ANZPT Player of the Year title, after cashing in four of the five events in the tour's debut year.
Also in action are Macau Poker Cup overall leader and PokerStars.net Team Asia Pro Celina Lin, her teammate Bryan Huang, Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand ElkY Grospellier, PokerStars Sponsored Players Lee "Final Table" Nelson and Neil Arce, Liv Boeree, David Saab, JJ Liu, Josh jjprodigy Field, Theo Tran, Wooka Kim and Carter Gill.
Cards will be in the air shortly, with players again scheduled for seven one-our levels:
Level 1: 50/100
Level 2: 100/200
Level 3: 100/200 (ante 25)
Level 4: 150/300 (ante 25)
Level 5: 200/400 (ante 50)
Level 6: 300/600 (ante 75)
Level 7: 400/800 (ante 75)
And for anyone who reads this post and happens to pop by the media desk at PokerStars Macau today, the tarts are all gone!