Delicacy cooked in Azorean volcanoes: “Volcano Corn” from Furnas and “Volcano Soup” or Cozido
Gluten-free delicacy right from the volcanoes of Furnas, not only for gluten-free eaters
Furnas is the most beloved tourist destination on the island. Furnas is located approximately 45 minutes from Ponta Delgada. Furnas has beautiful flora and fauna, and a wonderful landscape. And last but not least it is the home of the most delicious volcano-made food.
I have read lots of reviews of the dish named Cozido, the signature dish of Furnas. And I am looking at this exceptional dish from another perspective. It truly is a delicacy everyone has to try. For those with food intolerances I have good news: Cozido is both gluten- and lactose-free. However, I am afraid it will disappoint all vegetarians: it is a dish which contains (lots of delicious) meat.
What is Cozido exactly?
The word „Cozido” means steamed meat, or steaming food itself. Cozido is a meat dish cooked underground for 4 – 5 hours in the Caldeiras (the volcano caldera) of the Furnas volcanoes. As you might have guessed already, the natural heat used to cook the dish is provided by the volcanic activity of the caldera.
Vegetables and meat are layered in a dutch oven. The vegetable layers usually contain potatoes, carrots, cabbage and yams. The meat can be different parts of beef, pork (even including interesting parts such as the ears), chorizo, and the local blood sausage.
How is Cozido made?
Every morning around 7am every restaurant in Furnas prepares its own version of the Cozido in a sealable dutch oven (pressure cooker). The layers of fresh vegetable and meat is arranged in the pressure cooker, then the pressure cooker is sealed. The cookers are then carried to the caldera and are put in cylindrical pits designated for this purpose. The cooker is finally completely buried. The restaurants use little flags to mark the spot where their cooker is buried.
In 4 – 5 hours the meat and the vegetable are cooked to perfection. Around 12:30pm the restaurant personnel come back to the caldera site to get their cooker and transport it back to the restaurant.
Every chef has his or her own version of Cozido, therefore it might taste differently in different restaurants. The local soft drink KIMA is the perfect companion of this dish. You can read more about KIMA here.
Where is Cozido made?
Cozido is made in Furnas, at a place called Caldeiras das Furnas (the ovens of Furnas) next to lake Furnas. Entry fee is 2 EUR / person, plus there is a parking fee. Check it out on this map.
I have made a few pictures of the fumaroles and managed to take a few snaps of the restaurant personnel unearthing their pressure cookers containing Cozido.
Where can we try Cozido?
Cozido is on the menu of almost every single restaurant in Furnas.
Are there more volcano-cooked dishes to try in Furnas?
Yes, there is another speciality dish in Furnas: the sweet corn cooked in the boiling water of the volcano. Since I live pretty close to the fumarolas, I go and visit them pretty often. Once I noticed that white bags were put into these sulphuric fumarolas, so I went ahead and asked what is in those bags. First I thought the bags are used to protect the tourists from the hot and sulphuric water of the fumarolas, that they act like some kind of blocker. But no, the bags contain sweet corn grown on the Azores, and the corn is cooked using the boiling water of the fumarolas. The cooked sweet corn is sold at a small stand nearby. It tastes delicious, completely different from the corn cooked in „normal” water. It is very soft and tasty. I highly recommend that you try it! Bon appetit!
In case you are still curious about Azorean food, please write me your questions on my Facebook page or here in the comments. Please like and share if you enjoyed reading. Thank you so much.