Chef Guida Ponte lives in the US, but she travels back to her native island as often as possible, and she's now offering delightfully intimate culinary tours of the island she knows so well. She relishes the opportunity to share the beauty and riches of her island with her guests - to sample platters of seafood stew, sip green tea at the island's tea plantation (shown here), and stroll the vibrant streets of Ponta Delgada. She is extremely proud of Sao Miguel, the largest, most diverse, and most populated of the nine Azores islands, which, for its strikingly verdant mountains, lush vegetation, and mineral-rich soil, has been dubbed by locals the archipelago's "Green Island.”
Forget your Crock Pot. Guida has a better idea in mind: Slow cooking in a volcano. No joke. The most celebrated dish on the island of Sao Miguel, "Cozido das Furnas,” is a pot of meat (pork, beef, chicken, sausage) and vegetables (cabbage, carrots, collards, potatoes, onions, taro) that is literally buried and cooked for about six hours deep in the steaming hot volcanic soil in Furnas Valley. It is an excellent example of island ingenuity. Guida will guide us as we shop for and prepare this meal, deliver it to its geo-thermal "stove" and later, savor every bite at nearby picnic tables.
For its small size of 290 square miles, Sao Miguel is remarkably rich in history, culture, and diversity of flora and fauna. Situated 950 miles from mainland Portugal, its people have learned to be self-sufficient and extremely resourceful. Since the first residents arrived 500 years ago, the island’s churches have played an important role in daily life. We will climb the steps of the sweet historic chapel "Irmida Nossa Senhora da Paz” and enjoy spectacular views of the ancient village of Vila Franca do Campo below.
Azores Food Tour will stay three nights in Ponta Delgada, a beautiful waterfront city that comes alive every evening with al fresco dining, live concerts, and street festivals. Farmer's markets and shops are also a huge draw, and a highlight of the trip is Guida’s tour of the Saturday market, where guests can find local saffron, pineapples, cork purses, and much more. About 40,000 of the island's 140,000 inhabitants live in Ponta Delgada.
The resort town of Furnas, known for its peaceful, relaxed pace, breathtaking scenery, and abundance of geothermal hot springs, is our home base. From there, our groups enjoy daily excursions to sites all over the island of Sao Miguel.
Furnas Boutique Hotel recently opened, and it is already winning awards for its stunning contemporary design, romantic setting, world-class spa, and outstanding restaurant, "A Terra Fornaria." We will start our trip in Furnas with a relaxing first day at the hotel, where guests will have the option to soothe their jet lag with a spa treatment that features products from the island, such as green tea, sea salt, and Camellia oil.Furnas Boutique Hotel's Site