Sao Miguel - what we like to call "European Hawaii" - is the largest, most diverse, and most populated of the nine Azores islands. For its strikingly verdant mountains, lush vegetation, and mineral-rich soil, Azoreans have dubbed it the archipelago’s "Green Island.” Sao Miguel is also beloved for its spectacular beaches, volcano-created lakes, geo-thermal hot springs, historic villages, and its vibrant capital city of Ponta Delgada. Sao Miguel’s population is roughly 140,000 with about 40,000 living in Ponta Delgada.
Forget your Crock Pot. We'll be cooking in a volcano. No joke. The most celebrated dish on the island of Sao Miguel is “Cozido das Furnas,” a pot of meat (pork beef, chicken, chorizo, blood 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. We will 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, Sao Miguel is remarkably rich in history, culture, and diversity of flora, fauna, and even natural swimming spots. The island’s churches are an important part of its 500-year-old history, and we will climb the steps of the sweet chapel "Ermida Nossa Senhora da Paz” and take in breathtaking views of the ancient village of Vila Franca do Campo.
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.
Azores Food Tour has chosen two of the island’s finest hotels for its guests — a charming, historic, boutique hotel in the city center and a brand-new, luxurious and stylish hotel in the resort town of Furnas. Hotel Colegio is ideally situated within walking distance of the city harbor, shops, and restaurants. It has been recently renovated to include many modern updates, including wifi in rooms. The hotel’s name derives from its history as a school, where, coincidentally, AFT host Sandra attended kindergarten.Hotel Colegio's Website
Furnas Boutique Hotel just opened, and it is already winning awards for its sleek, contemporary design, romantic setting, and world-class spa. In keeping with the intimate nature of the island and the AFT, Felipe, the hotel manager, is a cousin of Sandra’s and an old friend of Guida's. He warmly welcomed our November group for dinner, which our guests deemed “one of the best meals of the entire trip,” and he’s eager to welcome our next guests. We will start our trip in Furnas, and soothe our jet lag on the first day with spa treatments.Furnas Boutique Hotel's Site