Food and Drinks
Internationally famous and with a so-called insurmountable taste, the São Jorge Island Cheese is probably the most well-known food product of the Azores. The União de Cooperativas Agrícolas e Lacticínios de São Jorge in the parish of Beira works as a plant for the aging, classification and certification processes of the cheese produced all over the island. The Protected Designation of Origin is only awarded to the specimens that follow the traditional ingredients and methods. It is believed that the production of cow’s milk cheese goes back to the Flemish that populated Topo. The São Jorge Island Cheese is hard/semi-hard and has a slightly peppery aftertaste. It is round-shaped and weights from 7 to 12 kg, being cut in wedges.
Spontaneously born and raised in the lagoon of the Caldeira de Santo Cristo Nature Reserve and Special Ecological Area, the clams are another exclusive food wonder of São Jorge Island. The lagoon of this fajã is the only place in the Azores where there are clams, which stand out for their size, flavour and meaty texture. The harvest of clams is limited and this delicacy can only be enjoyed in some restaurants.
The microclimate of some fajãs enabled the growing of some rarities, such as the coffee tree, a rare case in Europe. In Fajã dos Vimes one can enjoy coffee of intense taste and aroma, made out of locally collected grains. Just as the coffee, the cinnamon aguardente is good to complement the taste of the island’s pastry, of which coscorões, rosquilhas and curd cakes are part of the traditional recipes. The espécie, a horseshoe-shaped pastry with “windows” through which one can peek at its filling, is another typical pastry of the island. There are several versions of this recipe, but the use of spices, such as anise, cinnamon and pepper, is common to every one of them.