As one would
expect when traveling in an island country where wine is a significant
product for export, both seafood and wine play a part in the dishes
which are uniquely Azorean. The Portuguese influence is strong,
as well, with the spices and textures familiar to those who have
lived or traveled along the Mediterranean.
While you are trying
the various dining options in the Azores, be sure to start with
the local varieties of seafood. These tend to be fresh caught and
fresh cooked in simple presentations. Each of the islands has its
own unique way of preparing even the traditional dishes. Try the
cavaco, a delicately flavored and tender lobster species. The craca
barnacle is another favorite local delicacy. Fresh fish can be
prepared from the grill and fresh, or they are often prepared as
a base in soups and stews.
prepared in the uniquely Azorean method is the beef tenderloin grown
on Terceira, and the traditional Azorean meat dish known as Cozido
das Furnas. The cooking utensils are iron pots; the heat source
is the underground volcanic heat vents around the mineral springs
on the island of São Miguel. Another favorite traditional Azorean
dish is yams and sausage. You’ll find slightly different treatment
of this dish depending upon which island you visit.
Divine Holy Spirit
Soup is a special dish usually associated with one of the main island
religious festivals, but is also presented at some of the local
restaurants as well.
Along with your meal, why not
try one of the local wines? Verdelho is the best known, but the
whites and reds of Terceira, Santa Maria, Graciosa and Pico all
deserve recognition as well.
Portugal mainland diners appreciate
the taste and texture of the island cheese known as queijo da ilha.
São Jorge produces this favorite, but there are other local cheeses
worthy of note. Try the local cheeses when dining at one of the
restaurants on any of the islands. You won’t be disappointed.
in Azorean restaurants can be as simple as a slice of fresh pineapple
grown locally. There is also a beaten pastry popular with locals
and visitors alike known as massa sovada. The cooks on the island
of Graciosa produce a flaky textured specialty known as queijada.
Canto da Doca restaurant found on the island of Faial has a unique
way to cook your meal. Each guest receives a large flat rock heated
to 400 degrees which is sprinkled with rock salt (what else?) and
used to grill the fish or meat dishes which you order.
in Terceira rate special mention. The Beira Mar de São Mateus found
in Terceira has many seafood specialty items.
The menu at the Casa
da Galinha Parmagiana also in Terceira includes such items as blood
sausage, Holy Spirit Soup, Rabbit cooked in Wine Sauce and Goulash
in Red Wine.
No matter which restaurants
or dining establishments you choose, it seems like the owners and
staff go out of their way to make your meal a memorable experience.
The friendliness and courtesy exhibited by the people are remarkable.
Specialties across the range of island restaurants have one thing
in common—fresh and delicious ingredients imaginatively prepared.