Food and Drinks
From the various cultures introduced in the Azores the highlight goes to tea. The plantations of Gorreana and Porto Formoso, appearing in the horizon as a sea of green leaves, are unique in the Europe. During visits to the museum-factories, one learns the history and evolution of the machinery, before a well deserved cup of Azorean tea.
In Furnas, the pots containing meat and vegetables for a typical boiled/steamed dish are put into a sac and buried in the geothermal soil. The food cooks for approximately five hours. Before tasting the singular taste of a dish made in the natural heat of the earth, it will be worth waiting to see the lifting of the pot, with strong arms pulling the ropes that had been attached to the heavy pots.
On São Miguel Island there is a tradition for cultivating exotic fruits such as pineapple, annona, guavas and passion fruit, which are eaten raw or used to make liqueurs. The pineapple green houses, spread throughout Fajã de Baixo, Lagoa and Vila Franca do Campo, preserve age-old practices which can be discovered in a guided visit.
The cuisine of São Miguel is filled with fish dishes, always with a common factor: freshness. There are also various types of sea food, and delicacies like the barnacle, a crustacean boiled in sea water. The meat comes from the cattle bred in pastures, and it is soft and tasty. As for appetizers, there are the famous local red, mashed peppers served with fresh cheese. But these local red peppers are also used in various recipes. The bolo lêvedo from Furnas is a cake that is well known and may be served during any meal. As for sweets, the most famous are the Queijadas de Vila Franca do Campo (Vila Franca do Campo Custards). And to top another day in the vacation, smokers may even finish their meal with a locally manufactured cigar or cigarillo.