Fish and seafood are abundant and tasty in all the nine islands of Azores, obtaining therefore a spotlight position in the archipelago’s gastronomy. Either grilled, used in stews or in soups – the fishes present themselves in a large variety of ways. The azorean Tuna Fish is one of the region’s symbols. Very healthy, this reddish coloured fish keeps its characteriscts unaltered when eaten fresh although it is very popular in its canned form. Tuna fish Steaks à Moda dos Açores is one of the recipes that benefit from the use of fresh tuna. Equally famous is also the octopous which is the star ingredient of Stewed Octopus à Moda dos Açores, one of the region’s traditional dishes.
In the meat department, we can point out the Alcatra (rump) of the Terceira Island, a great quality bovine meat with a splendid taste. Each parish in the Terceira Island has its recipe for alcatra but they are not much different from each other.
The greeting card of S. Miguel’s island is Cozido das Furnas – it is a variation from Cozido à Portuguesa which is prepared in the volcanic boilers. The baking of the several kinds of meat, vegetables and sausages is distinctive by being slow and not using liquids – its taste is granted only by the juice of all the ingredients used. In this natural cuisine, we can cook several other products, namely cod.
We can find numerous excellence cheeses in all the Azorean islands, the most famous being the São Jorge Island Cheese, also known as «island cheese». The São Jorge Island Cheese (DOP) is internationally enjoyed due to its strong aroma and its slightly peppery taste, achieved as time goes by. These chesse is used not just as an apettizer, it has also its role in culinary either in simple recipes (in sandwiches ou salads for example) or in the more exquisite ones, being sometimes used as a substitute for parmesan.
The Queijadas de Vila Franca do Campo (Vila Franca do Campo Custards) are all old monaterial sweet whose recipe was created by the nuns in Santo André’s Convent. They are a highly enjoyed dessert by the people in Açores – and by those who visit – and its main ingredients are milk, eggs, sugar, butter and wheat flour.
Trying an Azores/São Miguel pinnaple (DOP) brought from Brazil by Portuguese sailors is another way to end a meal in a heavenly fashion. With a rather sweet and sour flavor, the pinnaple is eaten ao naturel (fresh), as an ingredient of the traditional sweet making or turned into Pinnaple Liqour.
The Azores/São Miguel passionfruit is another Protected Designation of Origin fruit, with an intense and distinctive perfume. Its pulp is very juice, slightly acid and has little black seeds. Its introduction in Azores is unknown but the fruit is nowadays a very recurrent plant in the region, being used mostly after the meals, either fresh or in the form of pudding, mousse and ice-creams. The passionfruit can also be used as ornament.
In Azores, in São Miguel Island more exactly, we also have the tea. This region is, in fact, Europe’s single tea producer being therefore very important to the island’s economy. This culture appeared at about 1820 and had big scale productions in the early XIXth century. This dried through vaporization tea gets its delightful taste and perfume from a combination of two factors – the climate and the argillaceous soil. The Green Tea of Azores is the most popular one although the Black Tea is also produced in a wide range of varieties.
The link between the pot roast and the Terceira Island is due to the island’s own population. The first inhabitants of Terceira Island were from the portuguese Beiras region, where they eat Chanfana – an old goat meat dish very similar to rump.