Azores Food and Drinks
Updated: Dec 27, 2022
TOP 10 Food and Drink Essentials when visiting the Azores
Just like in Portugal, the Azores offer fresh, tasty food. With a strong accent on FRESH.
With its very pure, soft and moist micro-climate it is possible to produce ingredients that most or all the rest of Europe can't. The green unspoiled vast meadows is a great place for grazing cattle and sheeps. The Azores milk and diary products are one of the best in the world.
Now, have a look at our TOP-10
1. Cheese Most cheese is produced on the Island of San Jorge. The Azores cheeses are tangy, semi-hard, and made of raw cow's milk. It has a distinct flavor and aroma, with a slightly spicy taste that is not found in other cheeses. If you are in Ponta Delgada, you must visit the local shop "King of Cheese" in the city center. More info on their website https://www.oreidosqueijos.pt/ You can taste many cheeses from light to extreme tasty. When we sail, we always have a selection of those cheeses on board. I can tell you: they are delicious
Surrounded by cold and clean ocean water, the Azores haul a lot of seafood. They catch the biggest tuna's and so much seafood you have never seen or eaten. If you go to a restaurant, the best way is to ask for the Catch of the Day. You will never be dissapointed.
You should also try the Azores "lapas" or limpets as a starter. They are served cooked with garlic or raw with some lemon juice.
3. Tropical fruit: Passion Fruit, Pineapples, Bananas Original the Azores had large crops of Oranges but a blight thar arrived mid 1800, destroyed the crops. So the locals switched to other crops. Pineapples grow in green houses (on San Miguel, you can visit the Arruda pinapple plantation where they make also pineapple liqueur) The Azores Pineapples are much smaller compared to the pinappels we all know but their taste can not be compared with the pineapples we buy in the supermarkets.
Be prepared to pay more than the double compared with a normal pineapple, but you will never forget their taste.
You will find several banana plantations, producing the extremely tasty small bananas. Not to miss the Passion Fruit and the passion fruit Liqueur.
2. Wine Already in the 17 th century, the Azores have been exporting wine throughout the world. Out of the 9 Islands only Graciosa, Pico and Terceita produce wine on their vulcanic soil.
A total of 33 grape varieties are currently authorised on the Azores: 15 for red wine and 18 for white wines. Mostly white wines are produced and they are excellent.
Because each vinyard is quite small compared to the large wine producing countries and regions, expect a bottle of wine to be between 20 and 40 €.
Are you looking for some wine tasting? Have a look at the "Azores Wine Company" on the island of Pico. Each Island has also tourist events where you combine a day tour visiting the island, do some wine and food tasting.
The oldest and currently only tea plantation in Europe is located on the island of San Miguel. The family owned Gorreana Plantation can be visited during office hours and weekends. Find out all info on their website: https://gorreana.pt/en/
The coffee plants were introduced by visitors from Brazil. The climatic conditions, combined with the right fertile soil with vulcanic underground present an ideal condition to exploit a coffee plantation. On Sao Jorge, you can visit a small family owned business Café Nunnes. The coffee is not exported and just consumed on the Azores Islands
7. Cozido de Furnas
Furnas, a place on the Island of San Miguel, is famous fot it's sulphur hot water pits. The locals make a stew in a metal pot which is put in the hot water springs and covered with sand. It takes many hours to cook. Local restaurants have it on their menu.
The taste is quite special with a kind of sulphuric undertone. To me, not a dish I will order again but you should try it.
With a huge production of milk and dairy products, giving the cattle the space on the juici green grass, it is obvious that the Azores Beef is among the best in the world.
You should try the Azores beef jerky as a side dish when having a drink.
For tourists, it is important to indicate in the restaurants how you like to have your steak cooked as the Portuguese tend to have all their food to be "well done" This is also valid whe you order for example a Tuna Steak. I you want your steak to be "rare" than explain it very clearly.
Another habit in Portugal and also on the Azores, is serving meat with an egg on top of it. As the Portuguese love to eat rice, it is verry common they serve rice and fries on the same plate.
Many Europeans, not the mention the French, eat their dishes with all kind of sauces. You will not often find additional sauces on the menu. Portuguese want to see the food they are eating. So nothing covered in for example Bearnaise or other sauces.
9. Soups and Stews
A famous stew is the Azores Alcatra. It is a typical dish from Terceira Island. The use of several spices in the recipe is related to the Portuguese Discoveries. Vessels coming from India and America stopped at the island and sold spices and gold.
Azoreans are quite Catholic. It is not a surprise they named one of their dishes the Holy Gost Soup, which is served at the Holy Ghost celebrations. Those celebrations are found all over the islands on the eight Sundays following Easter. It famously features bread soaked in broth made from beef, chicken, pork, potatoes, cabbage and other ingredients, which are served in a different dish. Since these are islands, seafood soups are also popular. It’s not uncommon for different towns or islands to have signature versions, like Pico’s octopus stew, or the fish soup from Maia on São Miguel.
10. Bread and Pastries
The Potuguese just love bread and pastries and visiting a Portuguese bakery is always a delight. Portuguese bakeries use very little or no additional bread improvers to make it more long lasting or to give it an extra taste. This means also that you need to eat the bread within 2-3 days or it becomes hard like a brick.
Not to miss are the pastries and sweets like the the Malassadas, the queija da vila san miguel or the bolo levedo.
Just go into a bakery, choose and taste. That is the best advise we can give