Pico Island Gastronomy
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 – along with caldo de peixe (fish soup), polvo guisado em vinho (octopus stewed in wine), and bolo-de-milho (prepared with maize) – delights all hearty eaters. Those who like shell-fish will be delighted by the local lobster, deep-water crabs, and cavacos. The soft, white fresh cheese of Pico is a good appetizer, which can be followed by the delicious traditional cheese of São Joao, with its yellow rind, soft interior, and intense smell (produced from cow’s milk).
Massa sovada (sweet bread), rosquilhas, vesperas and arroz doce are the typical sweets of the island, connected with the Holy Ghost Festivals. They are completed by the carnival sweets, the filhoses, coscoroes, and sonhos. Fig and local brandies, made in old copper stills, are digestive beverages that are much appreciated. For those who like sweet drinks, Pico offers the typical angelica.
Pico Wine, the “Verdelho”
Born on the soil of lava, protected from the wind by walls of rough and dark stone, and warmed by the rays of the sun, the grapes grown on Pico acquire the sweetness of honey. They produce a dry white wine with an alcoholic content of 15 to 17 percent which, after ageing serves as an excellent appetizer. In the last century it was exported to many countries in Europe and America and even reached the tables of the Russian Court. The vineyards, which mark the landscape of the island, also produce a dry, fresh, light, and fruity wine that is the ideal companion of a dish of shell-fish or fish. They also produce the red vinho de cheiro whose presence is compulsory on tables on feast days.
The Orchard Island
A surface made of lava, a hot sun, and a dry climate make Pico the orchard of the Azores: here apple and pear trees, damson and peach trees, as well as plum and orange trees flourish and produce sweet and juicy fruits that are taken early in the morning on the fruit boats to the town of Horta by those who sell them there. But it is the figs with their ruby red interiors that best symbolize the delicious fruit of Pico.