Gastronomy | Pico Island
Torresmos de porco (small browned rashers of bacon), morcela (blood sausage), linguiça com inhames (Portuguese sausage with yams) and molha de carne (a meat speciality) are the main dishes of a cuisine which, with caldo de peixe (fish soup), polvo e lula guisados em vinho (octopus and squid stewed in wine) and bolo-de-milho (prepared with corn), delights foodies. Those who like shell-fish will find worthy companions for their appetite in the local lapas (limpets, an underwater snail), lobsters, deep-water crabs and cavacos (spiny lobsters).
The soft, white fresh cheese of Pico is a good appetizer to meals, which are bookended with the delicious cheese of São Joao, with its yellow rind, soft interior and intense smell.
Massa sovada (sweet bread), rosquilhas, vesperas and arroz doce are the typical sweets of the island, and are connected with the Holy Spirit Festivals. Other desserts include Carnival sweets -- filhoses, coscoroes and sonhos. Fig and local brandies, made in old copper stills, are popular digestives. For those who like sweet drinks, Pico has angelica and a variety of other liquers.
Pico wine, the "verdelho"
Grown on lava soil, protected from the wind by walls of rough, dark stone, and warmed by the rays of the sun, the grapes acquire the sweetness of honey. Squeezed, they produce a dry white wine with an alcohol content of 15 to 17 percent, which after ageing serves as an excellent appetizer.
In the 18th and 19th centuries it was exported to many countries in Europe and America, and even reached the tables of the Russian Court. The vineyards, which dot the island, produce a dry, fresh, light and fruity wine that is an ideal companion for shellfish or fish, and also the red vinho de cheiro, whose presence is essential on tables during feast days.
The orchard island
Lava soil, the sun and a dry climate make Pico the orchard of the Azores, where apple and pear trees, damson and peach trees, and plum and orange trees flourish, producing sweet, juicy fruits that people take every day to the town of Horta to be sold. But it is figs, with an interior as red as rubies, that best symbolize the delicious fruit of Pico.