Ter­ceirai gast­ro­nomy top tips & Wine in Azores recom­mend­a­tion

Trav­el­ers to the Azores often ask me which oth­er islands of the archipelago are a must see – apart from Sao Miguel, of course – if they have more than 7 days to spend. This is a ques­tion I don’t have an ulti­mate answer to, because I love all islands of the archipelago and each for a dif­fer­ent reas­on. Every island has its best time to vis­it, usu­ally marked by a fest­iv­al or a big­ger event when it makes even more sense to go there.

So if you are trav­el­ing to the Azores in May, the answer is def­in­itely Ter­ceira – and if you keep on read­ing you will soon under­stand why.

My first trip to Ter­ceira was in 2018 shortly after I met Tiago – my future travel buddy – thanks to a lovely coin­cid­ence. Since at this stage neither of us has been to any oth­er Azores island, we decided to explore Ter­ceira togeth­er – and I am pleased to say Tiago proved to be an excel­lent organ­izer and travel guide. The only thing I had to do was to book my flights – even this I had to del­eg­ate to a dear friend because I was not even in the coun­try. So I did not have to worry about a thing, and I really appre­ci­ated this lux­ury. Hereby I would like to thank Tiago again for organ­iz­ing this per­fect get­away. Since he arrived from Porto – and so that we can fly out from Pon­ta Del­gada togeth­er – we used the free inter-island pro­mo­tion deal of SATA (you can read about this pro­mo­tion in this extens­ive blog post), so his flight from Sao Miguel to Ter­ceira was for free.

These inter-island SATA flights are served with small air­crafts where the check-in does not involve a seat assign­ment so it is best to board quickly so you can secure your­self a win­dow seat. I was very excited as this was my first time fly­ing with such a small aero­plane but I have to admit I loved every minute of it. SATA has been my favour­ite air­line for quite some time and this trip rein­forced my opin­ion. The flight time was a mere 40 minutes, like a bus ride from down­town Bud­apest to the out­er sub­urbs.

In order to make the most of our vis­it we ren­ted a car. On the first 2 nights we stayed in Angra do Hero­ismo near the port, and on the third and final night we stayed in Praia Vit­or­ia so that we are close to the air­port. The hotel in Angra do Hero­ismo was a two-star but apart from the break­fast everything was OK. The major cri­ter­ia of clean­li­ness and good loc­a­tion were met, so we were all set to dis­cov­er the island.

We have dis­covered a few beau­ti­ful stops on our way from the air­port to the cap­it­al already. For all of you stay­ing in Angra do Hero­ismo I recom­mend that you stop at every sight on your way there from the air­port. View­points and oth­er places of interest are marked with brown signs along­side the road. A won­der­ful Eden Azores read­er already com­piled a list of nat­ur­al won­ders you can see on Ter­ceira. You can read Kitti’s guest post here.

Wine In Azores Ter­ceira Wine Fest­iv­al

One of the main reas­ons for us to vis­it Ter­ceira in May was the loc­al edi­tion of the Wine in Azores fest­iv­al. I have atten­ded the main Wine in Azores event on Sao Miguel two times already (you can read here about my 2017 exper­i­ences) and I wanted to see how the smal­ler ver­sion is.

The entrance fee which gran­ted access to all 3 days of the fest­iv­al was a sym­bol­ic amount com­pared to the quant­ity and the qual­ity of the wines avail­able for tast­ing, and to the high stand­ard of the event in gen­er­al. The exhib­i­tion area was much smal­ler than at the “big broth­er” event on Sao Miguel, but this fact also made the event and the ven­ue more cosy and friendly. Apart from the wine­makers’ stands there was a tour­ist pavil­ion where vis­it­ors received assist­ance and beau­ti­ful info mater­i­als about the island, and there was an Azores booth selling a huge vari­ety of Azorean made products. The num­ber of par­ti­cip­at­ing winer­ies was of course smal­ler than at the main event in Pon­ta Del­gada, but the sheer vari­ety of the offer­ing was still very impress­ive. Last year there were only a few Azorean wines which I con­sidered a favor­ite, but this time almost every wine I tasted was excel­lent. Accord­ing to Eden Azores tra­di­tion we chose a few favor­ite wines we liked and hereby recom­mend you try upon your next vis­it to Por­tugal or to the Azores, of course.

Eden Azores wine selec­tion 2019 Ter­ceira

While every mem­ber of our tast­ing team made her or his decision inde­pend­ently from the oth­ers, last year’s favour­ite winery – Bra­cara Wine from Braga – offered the best wines again. Here you can read more about Bra­cara Wine. Last year I even had the chance to vis­it the winery in Braga, and ever since I am even big­ger fan. I can really taste the love and care they put in each and every product. The Eden Azores tast­ing team could not even agree which one of their wines was the best, we simply loved all of them.

From the Azorean wine­makers this years’ win­ner was the Arinto dos Acores of Cur­ral Atlantis. This wine is from Pico, and I highly recom­mend you try it if you can.

Apart from the wine stands there was a huge gast­ro­nomy part at the fest­iv­al where fam­ous chefs were pre­par­ing meals con­sist­ing of or accom­pan­ied by dif­fer­ent wines fea­tured at the fest­iv­al.

It has been a great fest­iv­al, I can only recom­mend you check it out if you are in Ter­ceira in May. The 2019 edi­tion of Wine in Azores Ter­ceira was held between the 3rd and the 5th of May.

If there is some­thing which goes really well with wine: it’s cheese and luck­ily, Ter­ceira – sim­il­ar to Sao Miguel – has lots of happy cows and houses at least 4 dairy pro­cessing plants. Dur­ing the fest­iv­al I met Ana Paula, who kindly invited us to vis­it the Pronicol dairy pro­cessing plant on Ter­ceira. After meet­ing their strict hygiene pro­tec­tion require­ments we were allowed to enter the facil­ity where the Mil­hafre but­ter and cheeses are pro­duced. Since my ori­gin­al degree is in bio­lo­gic­al engin­eer­ing, spe­cial­ized in food qual­ity assur­ance it’s need­less to say that I was over­joyed hav­ing been offered this chance to vis­it the facil­ity and com­pare it with the ones I have seen so far in Hun­gary. I have to admit I really liked what I saw: they are put­ting a huge emphas­is on over­all hygiene and the micro­bi­o­lo­gic test­ing of the milk and their oth­er dairy products. They are also track­ing the milk’s way through the entire pro­cessing chain and in every step provide the appro­pri­ate tem­per­at­ure. A few days after our vis­it I bought Mil­hafre cheese in a store and ever since I have been put­ting their won­der­ful but­ter on my break­fast toast. I def­in­itely became a fan. Apart from their superb but­ter the facil­ity also pro­duces cheese, milk powder, and a spe­cial kind of apple juice. All these products are def­in­itely worth a try – inter­est­ingly, even before vis­it­ing the facil­ity this apple juice has been one of my favor­ite soft drinks.

Anoth­er spe­ci­al­ity about Wine in Azores 2018 was that two mem­bers of the Eden Azores tast­ing team have been return­ing cus­tom­ers in the sense that we even atten­ded the 2017 event in Pon­ta Del­gada togeth­er. Last year we were hik­ing a lot and dis­cov­er­ing the island togeth­er with Dori and Fruz­si, and this year they decided to vis­it me again after they atten­ded a con­fer­ence in Lis­bon. I loved the idea of them vis­it­ing, but quickly let them know that I am in Ter­ceira, but of course we can meet up there, too. So after quickly dis­cuss­ing the details the next day there were already reunited, and enjoyed Wine in Azores togeth­er. I was really happy that they joined and I hope – in fact, I know – they will vis­it me again on Sao Miguel in 2019.

Ter­ceira Gast­ro­nomy

I know I should have taken my friend Kati with me on this very much gastronomy-centered trip – since she is the food­ie expert of the Eden Azores team – but unfor­tu­nately she could not join me this time. I sin­cerely hope how­ever, that she will join me next time because I really believe that Ter­ceira is the gast­ro­nom­ic­al cen­ter of the Azores archipelago. Every dish I tried here was excel­lent. Unlike on oth­er islands, there is ample sup­ply of organ­ic fruits and veget­ables. Most res­taur­ants have gluten-free and lactose-free dishes on their menu. Finally I could enjoy really nice meals without com­prom­ise. Truth be told cred­it for this should also go to my travel com­pan­ion Tiago, who care­fully selec­ted the best res­taur­ants he wanted to try and even planned our culin­ary vis­its – some­times even going as far as read­ing the menu online before­hand and already know­ing what we should order.

Where did I go, what did I eat?

First of all I had the best Azorean meal ever, a sea­food dish called Alc­a­tra de Peixe (a moda da Ter­ceira), which ori­gin­ates from Ter­ceira. This rich, slow-cooked, pot roast-style dish can be made from pork, beef, or fish and is slow-baked with toma­toes, onions, gar­lic, and a bit of clove.

When they first brought it to our table it looked some­what odd: pieces of fish swim­ming in some kind of stew (at this stage most of you might think why the frown, it sounds like the Hun­gari­an fish soup – only prob­lem: I don’t like the Hun­gari­an fish soup). Then I noticed a thick slice of white bread (a gluten-bomb if you ask me) placed under the fish filet, and I thought this is it, this is the end. But my friend Tiago was devour­ing it enthu­si­ast­ic­ally, so I caved and decided to give the Alc­a­tra a try. And it was indeed divine. A must eat. In case you are won­der­ing, we had the Alc­a­tra at the Res­taur­ante Boca Negra in Porto Judeu. [galer­ia 73]

After this fant­ast­ic meal the fish I had at the Res­taur­ante Beira Mar in Angra do Hero­ismo – which by the way has a beau­ti­ful view – “only” got the sil­ver medal in terms of food I have ever had on the Azores. It’s strange but I have not really been a huge fish fan before mov­ing to the Azores. Luck­ily, this has changed over time and I was excited to try kinds of fish I nev­er tasted before on Sao Miguel. The grilled fish came with sides: steamed veget­ables and boiled pota­toes. I asked for an extra salad, but the sides proved to be plen­ti­ful. Of course we washed it all down with Kima, the best fizzy maracuja drink ever. Goes so well with everything. You can read more about Kima in this post.

Every­where we went, the res­taur­ants of Ter­ceira did not dis­ap­point. On our last day on the island we had lunch at Res­taur­ante O Pes­cador in Praia Vit­or­ia. The high­light here was the octopus salad, but all oth­er dishes were excel­lent, too.

So 3 out of 3 res­taur­ants proved to be so good, that I would name Ter­ceira the gast­ro­nom­ic­al cen­ter of the Azores archipelago and I have not even told you about the cakes yet, or, in fact about THE CAKE.

DONAS AMELIAS

The Donas Ameli­as tea cake is the sig­na­ture sweet of the island. Accord­ing to the legend, when the last Por­tuguese queen Dona Amelia first vis­ited the island in 1901, the people wanted to sur­prise her with a very spe­cial sweet. Dona Amelia was very pleased with these little cakes, which were then named in her hon­or.

The Donas Améli­as are how­ever a con­ven­tu­al sweet from the island of Ter­ceira, adap­ted from an already exist­ent recipe, the so-called Indi­anos (cake of the Indies), which is also made with spices sourced from the colon­ies, such as cin­na­mon.

I have tried this delight­ful little cake in sev­er­al patis­ser­ies. It has a very spe­cial, very spicy taste and it is dus­ted with lots of powdered sug­ar. Luck­ily I had my travel com­pan­ion to sup­port me dur­ing these tast­ings.

The baker­ies where the Donas Ameli­as tasted excep­tion­ally good are: Pas­telaria O Forno, Pas­telaria Ath­anásio.

This post about Ter­ceira has been truly inspired about its won­der­ful gast­ro­nomy and related events. I am still plan­ning to write anoth­er post about what to see and do, even though the guest post made by Kitti about the same top­ic will be dif­fi­cult to sur­pass.

If I had to sum up my exper­i­ences about the island in one simple sen­tence I would say that TERCEIRA IS THE PLACE TO BE AND THE PLACE TO EAT. I recom­mend that you go to the Wine in Azores, if you can. How­ever, you can also join the Eden Azores tast­ing team in Octo­ber 2019 in Pon­ta Del­gada, at the Sao Miguel ver­sion of Wine in Azores. I keep repeat­ing this, but I really think this wine fest­iv­al is one of the best events on the Azores.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feed­back about Azorean gast­ro­nomy – all islands wel­come! – and of course if you found this art­icle use­ful. Thank you.

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