What to eat in the Azores?
Here's a list of the Azores' food you have to try on your Azores vacations
The Azores Islands are a delight for foodies. The archipelago’s many unique microclimates, abundant water supply and the volcanic nature of the islands make it possible to offer a large variety of delicious dishes. Based on a rich, hearty, peasant-based style of cooking, Azorean cuisine will leave you asking for seconds.
Here are some of the best regional dishes not to be missed on your trip to the Azores:
What to eat in the Azores: STARTERS
Seafood of the Azores, Portugal
Not surprisingly, the Azores islands surrounded by cool Atlantic waters haul in a lot of seafood. Make sure you try the lapas (limpets) that are usually served grilled in a butter, garlic, and spicy red pepper sauce, or just have them raw with some lemon. Also try a type of barnacle known as cracas, which can easily be mistaken for chunks of rocks. These are boiled in seawater and served chilled. A local variety of lobster is the cavaco- very delicate and tender.
Cheese of the Azores, Portugal
Cheesemaking has been an integral Azorean craft since the first Flemish settlers arrived in the islands more than 500 years ago, and upon your arrival, it won’t take long to see signs of the Azores’ dairy predilection everywhere.
The number 1 cheese of the Azores is the famous Queijo de São Jorge. The cheese has been granted with the Protected Designation of Origin status. The queijo is aged for months until it reaches a yellow color and a semi-hard consistency. Have it on its own or try with a local jams and cold meats.
Morcela (blood sausage) of the Azores, Portugal
It may sound strange, but it’s actually very tasty. Try the blood sausage with pineapple and you’re in for a culinary treat.
Bolo Lêvedo of the Azores, Portugal
Versatile, slightly sweet Portuguese style English muffins originally from Furnas – you can have them with jam, cheese, or burgers.
What to eat in the Azores for main course: STARTING WITH SEA FLAVORS
Fresh Fish of the Azores, Portugal
If you love fish, then the Azores is the place for you. With an abundant marine life, you can sample a variety of fresh fish on your visit to the islands. From jack-guelly, grouper, forkbeard to eel, barracuda and tuna, you will surely find your perfect tasty catch of the day. Make sure you try a delicious tuna steak. The tuna from the Azores is so good, it’s shipped to the famous fish-market in Tokyo.
Fish Stew of the Azores, Portugal
Surrounded by water, it is only natural that many Azorean dishes contain fresh, tasty fish. The typical Azorean fish stew contains different types of fish, such as grouper, hake, ray fish, and skate. The fish is cut into small pieces and cooked with white wine, spices, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and onions. It is simply scrumptious!
Chicharros (Fried mackerel) of the Azores, Portugal
The traditional way to cook mackerel is to batter-fry them and the Azorean way to eat them is to eat the whole fish- tail, head, bones and all. Give it a try! The sweet fish are served with a spicy molho de vilão sauce, made from a very typical Azorean condiment called massa de pimento, a spicy, salty, and sweet pepper paste.
Octopus of the Azores, Portugal
Try the roasted octopus coated in red wine and spices. The octopus is tender and the roasted potatoes and wine sauce are simply delightful.
What to eat in the Azores for main course: OPTIONS FOR BEEF LOVERS
Cozido das Furnas of the Azores, Portugal
The most famous dish from São Miguel Island is the beloved Portuguese stew known as cozido, or in this case, cozido das Furnas. The stew, consisting of cuts of pork, beef and chicken, sausages and vegetables, is cooked in holes known as fumaroles that are dug in hot volcanic soil next to the beautiful Furnas Lake. Have it with some Portuguese red wine and enjoy the feast.
Alcatra of the Azores, Portugal
The most famous dish from Terceira Island is Alcatra, a beef rump slow-cooked in a clay pot with red wine, onions, garlic, cloves, and black peppercorns until it’s falling-apart tender. Make sure to have it with massa sovada (traditional Portuguese sweet bread).
Regional Beef Steak of the Azores, Portugal
Like the happy dairy cows you’ll find on all the islands, Azorean cows destined for the plate lead idyllic lives grazing on green grass, which means you can get some delicious grass-fed beef on the islands. Have your steak with roasted garlic gloves, sautéed red peppers and French fries (Bife á Regional) and you will be dying for more.
Alheira of the Azores, Portugal
A typical sausage from the island of Santa Maria made with veal, duck, chicken, quail or rabbit.
What to eat in the Azores: CAN'T SKIP DESSERT IN THE AZORES
Malassadas of the Azores, Portugal
Round balls of dough that are deep-fried and rolled in granulated sugar. They are particularly popular at Carnaval, but you can find them year-round. They are a delicious treat!
Queijadas da Vila of the Azores, Portugal
These delicious round-shaped queijadas will have your tastebuds dancing, and coming back for more and more, so make sure you buy a whole box at least! Originally from Vila Franca do Campo in São Miguel Island you can visit the factory and sit at the local cafe for a sweet taste of São Miguel and the Azores Islands overall.
Queijadas da Dona Amélia of the Azores, Portugal
Originally named “Indianos” or “Bolo das Índias” for the ingredients that originated from the Orient during the spice trades, the cakes were given a royal name change to honor the revered Queen. The dense, mildly soft pastry can be made into a full sized cake or the more commonly sold queijadas, and are made with eggs, honey, cinnamon and corn flour and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Raisins and molasses are typically added for flavor, making the pastry similar to gingerbread.
Queijadas da Graciosa of the Azores, Portugal
Made in the small island of Graciosa, this delicious star-shaped milky sweets are a local favorite.
Pineapple of the Azores, Portugal
Pineapples, bananas, guava, cherimoyas, and passion fruit are just some of the tropical fruits growing in the Azores’ astoundingly fertile microclimates. On São Miguel Island, the largest of the nine, you can visit a pineapple plantation to see the fruits growing in greenhouses.
Passion Fruit of the Azores, Portugal
Amongst the tropical fruits that grow in the Azores Islands there's the exotic passion fruit!
Meloa of the Azores, Portugal
This fruit grows exclusively in the island of Santa Maria since it is hotter and drier. The fruit is sweet, fresh and delicious!
TO DRINK IN THE AZORES
“Chá” (Tea) of the Azores, Portugal
The Azores is home to the only commercial tea plantations in Europe. In Ribeira Grande on São Miguel, you can visit the two old-school producers, Chá Gorreana and Chá Porto Formoso. Tour the factories to see their vintage equipment at work and sample signature orange pekoe and green tea varieties.
Coffee of the Azores, Portugal
São Jorge Island is home to one of the few European microclimates where coffee beans grow well. Fãja dos Vimes is the epicenter of this small production of Arabica beans. If you’re in the area, try some espresso made with local beans and see the plantation behind the Fajã’s only coffee shop.
Liqueurs of the Azores, Portugal
Try delicious and potent liqueurs distilled from lemon, tangerine, blackberries, passion fruit, pineapple, and more. In Ribeira Grande, you can go on a tasting tour of a distillery.
Wine of the Azores, Portugal
The Azores produces some great wines — particularly the whites coming from Pico Island. Pico wines are of high quality and are grown in a very interesting way- in currais (stone- walled vineyards). If you’re in Pico, make sure to visit Criação Velha, learn about the island’s winemaking history and sample a variety of local wines and spirits. Terceira, Graciosa and São Miguel also produces some great wine!
Local Juices of the Azores, Portugal
If you're not a wine lover, no problem at all. Try the locally produced juices - Laranjada made from oranges, and Kima made from the exotic passion-fruit.
Your taste buds will thank you when you come to the Azores!