Lost in the Atlantic: The Azores and Its Hearty Cuisine

I get all kinds of responses when I tell people where my family’s from. My favorite reply was uttered at a party by a young woman swathed in a gauzy, tie-dyed dress who was eating an alarming amount of hummus.”Oh, your family’s from the Azores?” she gushed. “You know, they’re the remains of the lost city of Atlantis. I lived there in a past life.”

Most people, regardless of what they think, know surprisingly little about my family’s homeland. And even less about Azorean food. And for good reason. The Portuguese islands—São Miguel, Faial, São Jorge and six others—are strewn some 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal and are happily marooned in the middle of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, so, too is our distinctive cuisine.

Geographic isolation is only one conspirator contributing to the invisibility of Azorean food. Like most peasant cuisines, Azorean cooking is home-based and frugal. Economics prevent most families from frequenting restaurants. My ancestors were so poor that açordas—brothy soups brimming with chunks of crusty leftover homemade bread—were sometimes all there was to fill bellies.

Consequently, owning a café or pastelarias (pastry shop) held little promise. Unlike Chinese and Italian immigrants, Azoreans who arrived in the United States during the great waves of immigration in the early part of the 20th century rarely opened eating establishments. In turn, Azorean food remained largely undiscovered by Americans.

Azorean food: white bowl with carne assada--braised beef with carrots, potatoes, and Portuguese sausage, chouriço
Mamma Leite’s Carne Assada

Those mothers and grandmothers who wanted to formally share their cooking legacy were thwarted by illiteracy, because in the Old Country most of them weren’t required to attend school. Without any written recipes, many family favorites disappeared when the cooks passed away.

Despite such obstacles, Azorean food has managed to thrive—and even resist being overtaken by the trendy Mediterranean-based cuisine of mainland Portugal.

“Our food is more authentic Portuguese because we have fewer Spanish influences,” says Ana Taveira, a well-known cook on the island of São Miguel. “We don’t use much cilantro, curry, or cinnamon. We’re more heavy-handed with other spices, especially the hot ones.” She adds proudly, “Ours is a simple, hearty food.”

Ponta Delgada Harbor

Food Differences Among the Islands

Given that the islands are so tiny, the archipelago’s foods are remarkably regionalized, differing by island, town, and even vizinhança, or neighborhood. According to Deolinda Avila, author of the self-published “Foods of the Azores Islands,” São Miguel and some towns on Pico lead the way in their use of hot peppers. Manuel Azevedo, a São Jorge native who owns LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma, says, “Polvo [octopus] wasn’t as popular in my family or on my island as it was in other places. We liked lamprey and limpets more.” To further compound our rich gastronomic diversity, some islands embrace spices such as cumin, allspice, and cloves while others dismiss them entirely.

Nowhere is Azorean individuality seen more than in sopa de couves, the islands’ version of Portugal’s unofficial national dish, caldo verde.

“Sopa de couves is made differently in the Azores than on the mainland,” explains Avila. “On Faial we use more potatoes and don’t mash them [to make a thickened base]. We also don’t cut the greens into thin strips. It’s a more country dish the way we make it.” Variations include the addition of red beans, ham hocks or beef shanks, and a sizable portion of chouriço—not the miserly single slice or two found in the mainland version and many chef-ified versions.

Azoreans can’t even agree on what key ingredient makes the best sopa de couves. Faial cooks prefer collard greens because they like the tender texture. But don’t dare tell that to cooks from São Miguel. To them, only the ruggedness of kale will do.

Salt Cod and Pork

Yet wherever they live in the islands, cooks concede one point: bacalhau (salt cod) and porco (pork) are essential.

Cod was an obvious resource for seafaring islanders. “Fishing came naturally to us,” says João Encarnação, a native mainlander and once the chef de cuisine to the Portuguese ambassador in New York City. “But it was the salting of the cod for the long trip home from the North Atlantic that made it a staple of Portuguese life. Suddenly, an affordable food could be stored indefinitely.”

A copper pot of bacalhau a Bras--or Portuguese scrambled eggs, salt cod, potatoes, onions, olives, and parsley
Bacalhau a Brás–scrambled eggs, salt cod, potatoes, onions, and olives

Salt cod plays such an important role in the lives of all Portuguese that it’s said we have 365 recipes for bacalhau—one for each day of the year.

On the other hand, pork may seem like an unusual staple on sleepy volcanic islands sequestered away at sea. To most Azoreans, cattle was more desirable for its dairy than for its beef. So milk and cheese, which are made into a myriad of delicacies, have served as an unending source of food and income. Pork, quite literally “the other meat,” rose to preeminence.

Pork is so highly prized that every year around Christmas families revel in a two- to three-day celebration called a matança de porco.

Leite Family Matança
A family mantaça, Maia, Azores circa 1958

On the first day, the family pig is slaughtered and cleaned, then hung from the ceiling of the home for viewing. That night, friends and family come to see it as what Avila calls “proof of [the family’s] accomplishments.” A simple yet plentiful spread of food and drink is accompanied by joyous singing and dancing.

The following days are devoted to butchering the pig to make the famous linguiça and chouriço sausages, and to prepare cuts for winter meals. As Azorean frugality prescribes, no part of the pig is wasted. Even the organ meats are pressed into service in stews, cozidos (boiled dinner), and soups.


Cod and pork may be characteristic of our cuisine, but what really defines it are the desserts—eggy and toothachingly sweet. The Moors contributed this taste for rich, sweet, eggy desserts and we quickly found inventive ways with the whole egg, the white as well as the yolk.

Portuguese Coconut Custard Tarts
Pastéis (queijadas) de Coco | Coconut Pastries

While the Moors may have introduced eggy sweets, the addiction to these treats can be blamed squarely on the islands’ nuns. To earn money for their convents, the holy sisters of the 17th and 18th centuries spent their days behind cloistered walls perfecting such whimsically christened delights as olhos de sogra (mother-in-law’s eyes), suspiros (sighs), and barrigas de freiras (nuns’ bellies).

In the end, every cuisine is a product of its physical and cultural environment. Part volcanic soil and salt air, part peasant ingenuity and thrift, the hearty fare of the Azores doesn’t dazzle, but instead comforts. Some cooks believe it helps assuage the powerful saudade, or longing to belong, every Portuguese person is said to feel—regardless of which secluded, beautiful corner of Atlantis he lives on. Originally published January 27, 2001.

David Leite's signature


  1. Thank you so much for this posting. I was looking for an online pic of Sopas to show a friend who has no reference point for Azorean food and culture. Finally, I find this page with a lovely account of things familiar.

    Mine reference point comes from my maternal grandparent being from the Azores. I not only did I grow up on so many wonderful dishes, but on the culture of the festa as well. I even made linguica at one point in my younger life — what an experience that was!

    So sad to see nothing on all the other sites resembling the Sopas I remember the extraordinary taste of, but I still can make a decent version … even though I do not pit-roast the meat 😉

    But here I found information and some food pix that were familiar … nice treat for the holidays. I look forward to more interesting reads.

    All the best for a healing, peaceful 2021!!!

    1. Thanks, Sunny! We so appreciate your kind words and are glad that this article brought back some special memories for you. We hope you have a restful holiday season and hope to hear from you again in the new year.

  2. I recently found out that my ancestors came from the Azores, St Miguel to be specific. I was adopted so never knew these relatives. They came to Rhode Island in the late 1800s. I am now trying to learn about the culture… fascinated to see photos of people who look like me! I plan to explore this food.

    (Interestingly, I went to mainland Portugal when I was 12 but did not know of my roots. Now, at 59, I am discovering a new world.)

    1. Your story is fascinating, Marie! What an amazing opportunity you have to learn about a completely new part of your history. We’d love to hear about what you learn and the foods you discover. Keep us posted and good luck!

  3. My family is from Sao Miguel (about 2 generations ago) my Nana, Eva Santos… She showed me a couple of recipes but way less than I would’ve liked. Nonetheless, I love Azorian food. I would love to know as much as possible.

  4. I just met 2 natives of Tereceria. In Nazare presently for the first time in Portugal. Here to feel and view the POWER of Praia Del Norte. 2 days ago 6-15 meter waves 👍. Traveling to Terceria in May to begin my residence. I already Love Portugal and its people. 😍👋😎

    1. Hello William ~ new to this site and was enjoying the comments when I came across your post. It’s been a year and you’re probably well-settled in your ‘new’ home. I have relatives from Terceira so it made me smile that you made your way there. Hope all is well and that you still find Portuguese people delightful. Happy Holidays! 🌻 Sunny

  5. David, I think my husband would tell you to keep walking any time you spot a woman in a gauzy, tie-dyed dress! :D I’ve only known one person who was born in the Azores, and she was a lovely old woman fond of dressing in black and drinking red wine. She had a charming accent I could listen to all day!

      1. I’m flying to Terceira on Wednesday with my husband and 3 kids. My husband and I went to Sao Miguel in November 2017 & loved it!!! I went to high school with several Portuguese girls. I love Portuguese people. I am so excited for grilled limpets, tuna, barracuda. Volcano stew 💖⚡

  6. I am wondering where I can find a recipe to make an old favorite main course dish that my grandmother, who had long passed away, God rest her soul. She used to make something called ” vine douche. ” Am not sure on the spelling but it was marinated for 2 to 3 days in vinegar and some sugar I believe and not too sure what else. Would really appreciate some response of any kind.


    Mike DeMello

  7. David,
    What a great find this site is! While I was born and raised in N.Y., my father’s side of the family comes from New Bedford! Both my grandparents came here from the Azores and while for a short time they lived in N.Y. they eventually went back ‘ home’. I spent my entire childhood visiting family in Fall River, New Bedford, Swansea. Memories of Amarals bakery and chourico and liguica. Battleship Cove…when there was ONLY the Battleship Mass! Fortunately family recipes were written down and we still have them to enjoy. Codfish cakes were part of our Christmas Eve dinner and Terresmos will be cooking for Christmas morning! Can’t wait to get your book. Again awesome site!

    1. Hello, Joe. Wow, we have so many of the same memories. The first Amaral’s was on our street in Fall River, so we always had fresh chouriço and linguiça. And the Big Mamie! I, too, remember when there was only that one ship. I hope you and yours had a wonderful Christmas.

  8. My grandfather is from Faial. He passed away recently so I have been scouring the internet to piece together the partial recipes that he scribbled down on whatever piece of paper was closest. I grew up on this food and I love this article so much!

  9. What is a Lapinya? I enjoy ready things from Portugal. My great great grandparents was from the Azores (Sao Miguel), don’t know if we have any other relatives there. How can we found out. I also like recipes from Portugal.


    1. Kaylene, I’m a bit confused by your message. First, as to Lapinya. Are you thinking this is a place or food? Ermida da Lapinha is a place on the island of Terceira.

      And are you asking how to find out if you have relatives back in the Azores?

    2. Lapinha might be a diminutive form of lapa (limpet) which quite a few Acoreanos (and their offspring) enjoy (this one included).

      Limpets are a mollusk and flavor-wise are in the same spectrum as clams and abalone, but arent related to either.

  10. While in Pico this fall, we had a delicious cake in a Magdelena cafe. It was a chocolate cake (low) with nuts on the top. I would love the recipe for such a cake. Thanks Donna

  11. Hi David Leite this is my frist time visiting your site it’s so amazing, I’m from açores as well I live in ct for the past 35 years :) in my house it’s always Portuguese food. I want to continue with my childhood recipes and I want to pass out for my grandchilds to me it’s the best LOL)

    David, where can I buy your recipe books? any place in Fall River? we travel up there once a month please tell me, thanks David.

  12. Hello David, had a great dish of bacalau at a restaurant in Hamilton Ontario, Canada, and I’m told the people from Portugal mainland don’t know this dish, it is from the Azores, and they call it bacalao abrash or something like that. I took the leftovers to my wife and she wants the recipe very badly, it’s cod, potato strips, and egg in a casserole. Can you help me with this?

  13. First off thank you so much for the cookbook and the website. I had no idea that the chunky ‘caldo verde’ we had every Sunday was made differently until I read your book. My Mom was born in the azores (Faial) and emigrated here with her folks. We grew up in California. I have never been to the Azores and even though I can prepare all of the wonderful recipes my Mom made I have been unable to get an eclectic idea of the food until I saw your book. Now if I could just find a decent Portuguese restaurant in Portland, Oregon I would be a happy man

    1. Robert, my pleasure. I wish I could help you with your restaurant dilemma I would, but alas I am–you’ll never guess–at this precise moment in Faial. How’s THAT for a coincidence?

  14. Absolutely love the website, and added your cookbook to a growing collection of Portuguese recipe sources a while back, using it to mix and match when trying new dishes. My grandparents (an Almeida and a Cabral) were born and raised on São Miguel and emmigrated, eventually, to the mills of Lowell, when they were both 18. We’ve managed to keep my grandmother’s versions of some Azorean recipes going (albeit with the spicing amped up a bit), and have been trying to expand the repertoire to include continental Portuguese dishes. In particular, I’m looking for a good recipe for grilled mullet Setubal style. I’m also interested in trying my hand at making some linguiça, chouriço, and salpicão. My grandfather was a professional butcher for decades, and even raised his own pigs for a while. Unfortunately, he died before I was able to learn any of those skills. Ideas for a place to learn about sausage making in general, as well as Portuguese sausages?

    1. Hello, Bill. I don’t have any specific recommendations, but as you’re in the Boston area, I’d reach out to some of the smaller manufacturers in the area. Or even some of the Portuguese restaurants–they may make their own. Ana Ortin’s book, Homestyle Portuguese Cooking, has some information about sausage making.

  15. I just love your site. Recently I ate some very tiny birds that were made by a family from the Acores. Traditionally they would BBQ them but this time they were deep fried. I am trying to find out what type of bird they were. Sorry I don’t know much about it to help you, but they had been marinaded in red wine for sure. Does anyone know what kind of bird they might have been? Thank you.

  16. Hi David, could you please elaborate a little on the difference between alcatra and vinha d’alhos? They sound pretty similar. Thanks!!

    1. Hi, Heather. Alcatra is the dish, and vinha d’alhos is the marinade. You marinate the meat in the wine and garlic mixture (vinha d’alhos). That make sense?

  17. Love the article. And it explains why I am having so much trouble trying to prepare Carne de vinha d’alhos. It’s from my grandfather who was from Madera and settled on yet another island, Hawaii. He is no longer with me. I keep trying to prepare the dish, and it never comes out how he prepares it. I would love to be able to accomplish this. Tastes and smells we all know bring back memories. My grandmother is from Lisbon, and I can’t recreate her recipes, either. Especially Malasadas! In my family we lost the language. Both sides were told they were only to speak English, even though my great grandparents could not. I am unclear if it was out of embarrassment or afraid of being ridiculed. Either way it is a shame it was lost for my generation and future. Anyway…I would love to find a recipe that is at least close to my grandfather’s. Any suggestions? I am getting recipes from the mainland and that’s why I’m having so much trouble. My mother had recipes from both sides. She lost them. She’s getting on in age, we want to prepare a dinner for her (and me) to honor our ancestry. I just purchased Rosetta stone, to hopefully bring back what was lost to our families. Thank you.

    1. L. Carrilho, I have a recipe for Carne Assada em Vinha d’Alhos in my cookbook, which comes from my family who hail from São Miguel, but it calls for beef. Here’s a recipe from cookbook author Ana Ortins, which uses pork–the more traditional meat in Madeira.

      As far as malassadas, they’re really an Azorean, not a Lisbon, dish. In fact, I have never seen them there. Here is my grandmother’s recipe.

      I hope either or both of this dishes bring you closer to your memories.

  18. Hello I tried the find your book on amazon and was unable to locate it. Is there a specific name that I should be searching?


  19. My mother’s mother, Mary Azevedo, was born and raised on Pico and her father, Joseph Perry Valine on the island of Faial. They both came to America and settled in Chico, Ca. My fondest memories are of my Nana telling me many stories of her homeland and the Portuguese food she made for me and taught me to cook growing up.

    I am so glad I found this page on the internet. Thank You!

  20. Just wondering do you have a recipe for Mealhada Rolls, they are a yeast roll that has cornmeal in them. I can buy them at a store in NC called The Fresh Market in Southern Pines or Greensboro. I’d love to have a recipe to make them. :) :)

  21. Hi, was stationed on Terceira in the 80’s. Loved a dish (not sure if spelled right) Beefo de Porco. It was pork cutlet with lots of garlic. I have been searching for the recipe for years. I’ve tried to recreate with little success.

    1. Hello Stone, I think what you’re referring to is something casually referred to as bife de porco. It’s similar to porco com vinho e alhos. That’s chunks of pork marinated in wine and tons of garlic, then cooked. You may hav had a cutlet done the same way. Does that sound at all familiar?

  22. This was so much fun to read. My Mother was from Faial, Father from San Miguel. I was born in N. Dartmouth, Mass. Right near New Bedford. Fortunately, I paid attention to the recipes that I really loved and make vinha d’alhos with pork chops, kale soup, and a chicken dish I’ve never seen anywhere. It’s cooked in wine, cumin, celery, onions…and is awesome. The chicken is dredged in flour, cumin, paprika and garlic powder, then fried till brown. Ever heard of this?

    1. Hi, Sylvia. The dish sounds fantastic. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it, but it’s not uncommon for families to use familiar ingredients to make new dishes–especially if the cook is an immigrant from the Old Country. Just look what the Portuguese did with shellfish–stuffed quahogs. Something that is completely unknown in the Portuguese repertoire back in Portugal, but is nonetheless delicious.

  23. After giving sweet bread another try today (it was just fair…too crusty and a little too dense) I’ve been searching the internet and just about every recipe is a little different! Even the recipes from each side of my family (the Evangelhos from Terceira and the Martinhos from Faial) are different. Is there a recipe in your book that is considered the “genuine” article?

    1. Daniel, you have stumbled upon the truth in cooking: there is no genuine article, only what you like. The recipe in my book is based upon my grandmother’s. It’s got a somewhat moist interior with a lacquered-looking thin crust. The best thing you can do is decide the kind of sweet bread you like and alter a favorite recipe until it’s what you deem authentic.

  24. My mom just passed away, and I am so upset that I never learned how to make her arroz doce. She is from São Miguel, and I know the ingredients, which included egg yolks, but it was her technique that really made it so rich and thick. Do you have a recipe for this rice pudding? I have noticed variations on different websites–some w/o egg, some adding hot milk separately instead of initially with the water, etc.

    Loved this article!

    1. Gloria, so glad you enjoyed the article. I’m sorry about your mom passing. It’s so tough when a parent dies. I have a recipe for arroz doce in my cookbook, The New Portuguese Table. If you don’t have it, you can buy it on this site or take it out of the library. I don’t know how it stacks up to your mom’s, but it’s the closest I got to my avó’s version. Let me know how it turns out!

  25. I am of Portuguese decent. I am half Portuguese, my grandmother was from the island of Terceira. My mom is not Portuguese but learned to cook from my grandma Trovao. She died 6 years ago and all her recipes have disappeared. I am looking for a recipe for al carte (I apoligize for the spelling). My husband and I love to cook this style. We are from California and have some sources for recipes, but would love some others.

  26. I am so glad I came across this site. I was born on the beautiful island of Terceira. My family moved to New Jersey when I was 7. I realized I had been taking everything for granted when my mom passed away 2 years ago. My mom was a great cook but I never took the time to write down the recipes, so thank you for your book! It will certainly fill the void.

  27. I was born in New Bedford, Mass. My Mom’s parents were from Sao Miguel in the Azores and came to New Bedford as small children. I have a few relatives still in the New Bedford area. Unfortunately, my grandparents and my Mom have passed away and with them the recipes and traditions of my ancestory. Every year, I order linguicia and other items from companies online such as Gaspar’s Sausage. I’m planning on purchasing your book because my dream vacation is to travel to the Azores and to learn about my ancestory. Thank you.

  28. This was a real treat to read. It brought back many childhood memories! My mom, Deolinda, was born in Sao Miguel. My dad, Dalberto, my sister and I were born in Terceira. We came to this country when I was 16. Now in my mid 50’s, I’m always trying to find and learn more about the culture. Unfortunately where I live there aren’t Portuguese bakeries, nor restaurants. I only know of one in Seattle, so when I go visit my parents in CA it is so fun to go to the bakeries. Thank you for the article and recipes.

  29. Grew up in CT and went to Fall River/New Bedford a couple of times a year to stock up on Portuguese items. Have lived in western SC for several years, There was a market in Fall River (Chaves?) that had marinated pork chunks that you then would cook stovetop or about an hour. I recall that this was the state of the pork before it was made into chourica. It had garlic and paprika and other spices. It cooked up kind of reddish from the paprika. Does anyone know what this is called and how can I make the marinade down here in SC or where I can order some to be shipped? Muito Obrigado….

    1. Elizabeth, I was born in Fall River, MA, and lived not to far from Chaves. The mixture you’re talking about us what they use to make chouriço and linguiça. You can make the marinade, a good approximation from a recipe in my book. You’ll find it here. You can also try to locate Massa de Pimenta, a slight spicy, salty sauce that’s used–along with some wine, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper–to make the mix you’re referring to.

      1. I too use to go to Chaves I lived off of broadway am now in Fl. We do get chouriço and linguiça here in the market and it comes from Dartmouth Gaspar’s. We get a few other things as well.
        I am one of those that uses kale and not collard greens and we get that as well although hard to get at times.

    2. It is linguica and it is delicious, they carried it for a period of time here in Virginia, but failed to market it, people do not realize it is a very tasty and versatile meat! I can be fried, baked, broiled, boiled, more tasty and similar to kielbasa. They can ship it direct to your home Amarals and Gaspars. There may be more, but these are the two companies that were there when I lived there.

      1. Joyce Amaral here again! Gaspar’s not too good. Amaral’s (well, they’re relatives, third or fourth counsins on my dad’s mother’s side). Amaral’s has good chourico and linguica. The best that I’ve found of late, though, is Chaves Market. Excellent taste, and not “ground” – still made with pork chunks- like the way it should be- and they do ship. Their phone number is 508-672-7821. Let me know how you make out.

  30. Hi David. We found your wonderful website while doing research for next winter’s stay in Sao Miguel, Ponta Delgada. We’re seeking tips on bakeries, churrasqueirias, eating places, etc., walking distance from our rental apartment, which is right downtown near the marina. We’ll be posting a new travelogue on TheTravelzine.

  31. Hi, simply Maria. My book is titled “The New Portuguese Table.” It’s all authentic, but a goodly portion of it is contemporary dishes I found in homes, restaurants, hotels, and such in Portugal today. So while you do have plenty of classics, you also have new dishes. I wouldn’t say Americanized, but contemporized by cooks whom I met while living in Portugal.

  32. Hello. I too am fascinated by this wonderful find! I was born in Sao Miguel and we came to the west coast of Canada, where we live in a small community that began in the mid 50’s. Our town was flocked by Azorean men looking for stable, well paying jobs, and now 60 years later, even though all the old people are gone, there is still a major descendant influence of Azoreans. I will always be proud of my heritage, and as you can tell by my last name i will always be an Azorean.

    1. Ed, thanks for writing. Your family’s story is very much like mine. We settled on the East Coast, in Massachusetts, where a lot of Azorean men worked in the fishing industry and Azorean women worked in the fabric mills.

      1. I am also of Azores from St Miguel. My maiden name was Souza from my grandfather. My grandmother was Farias, and my mother’s family from the same area was Almeida.

        I grew up on all that food, and it is hard to find the original recipes. My grandmother used to make this pork butt cut into cubes and it was crispy it began with a T. Does anyone know what this dish is. Would love to make it. Thanks.

        My family settled in Fall River, Massachusetts.

        1. Joan, I think you might be talking about torresmos. I have my family’s version (which I love) in my cookbook. But go to a bookstore and check it out first, because this is one of those recipes is made a million different ways, and if it’s not what someone remembers, it can be disappointing.

  33. Wow! What a treasure to find. I grew up in Swansea but now live in the West. Needless to say, not much for Portuguese cuisine here. THANKS! I will definitely be a frequenter of this site.

  34. I am so excited to be even a tad closer to finding the information I need to make a Portuguese dinner for my dear man, David. He is from Cape Cod and is also from a family originating on the Azores. He lived near Provincetown, and he has a love for a dish he calls Porco Pão or something of that nature. Do you have any ideas on how to track down the recipe? I have been searching the internet and to no avail. Thanks so much for your work and your experiences.

    1. Kathie, I think I know what David is referring to. (Of course, I could be off, because so many dishes have multiple names.) In my book I have a recipe for Spicy Azorean Garlic-Roasted Pork. If you make that recipe (cutting the pork into cubes instead of chunks), split a crusty roll, and fill it with the pork…I have a feeling David will be quite pleased.

  35. Oh my God! Am I glad I couldn’t sleep! As you may be able to tell by my surname, I am also of Azorean descent. The article was excellent! It was almost word-for-word what I’ve been trying to convey to my friends of all ancestries for many years! I am soooo happy I found this site; which I will frequent often! And I’m getting the book, too!!!! (I am from Fall River, Mass—a HUGE Azorean community since my great-grandparents arrived in this country.) Thank you again for making my day!

    1. Joyce, I’m so happy the post spoke to you. That article means a lot to me, as it was one of the very first I wrote. I, too, am from Fall River, and we later crossed the river to Swansea, where my family still lives.

      BTW, the cookbook has a lot of Azorean dishes I, and I’m sure you, grew up enjoying.

      1. Wow! What a small world! Now, I am even MORE proud to be from Fall River!!(Several of my family members live across the bridge now, as well as being scattered around that area and Rhode Island.) I just want you to know that I printed the article! You can’t imagine what it did for me! My ex-husband is from the mainland. My daughter is fifth generation full-blooded Portuguese in this country. She knows about the similarities and differences of BOTH cuisines, and she is definitely a Fall River girl at heart! As we live in CT now, we still go every couple of months to get our chourico, salted cod, Portuguese olive oil, and spices. Do you still live in the area, or you get back there to visit?
        I wish you much success with the book… I am ordering an autographed copy, of course!! And please… keep posting those GREAT recipes from the Azores!

        Joyce Amaral

        1. I had a friend growing up in Falmouth, MA, her name was Megan Amaral. My mother was a Teixeira, and both sets of her grandparents came from Sao Miguel. I have family that I do not know in Fall River as well as Rhode Island. The one frustration for my brothers and even my sons (which take after the Portuguese side of the family) is the number of people who ask them if they are Mexican! Love this website with the stories that are familiar as well as the food. My husband and son want me to open my own Portuguese restaurant where we live.

        1. I need this recipe please let me know if you have it, my mom use to make it and she just passed away. Thanks.

        2. I think you’re talking about bolo do tijolo. These are flat breads made on a tijolo cast iron-like round “griddle” over firewood. It’s now made on top of regular stoves. My grandmother used to make this bread often in Faial. I think it may have originated more on the island of Pico. The women of Pico would come daily to Faial and bring this bread with them to sell in the mercado (market), along with grapes, figs and all the great items Pico was know for. My mother has made it at times here in the states, but it’s never quite the same. But, I can see where the bolo do tijolo would be great with sardinhas assadas nas brasas. Delicious! I found a receipe online that you may want to check out.

            1. Hi OMG now I have a craving for bolo do tijolo. Yes, being from Faial it was always interesting to see the ladies with all their head gear (baskets upon baskets) on top of their heads. I loved the bolo do tijolos. I am making Portuguese sweetbread as we speak so I will settle for that. I don’t think it’s the Portuguese pancakes that David might be referring to. I do think it is what Joseph was talking about. They are thin and I think made with flour and corn meal??? Gosh, love the Azorean Food…especially bifannas. I think our island has the best sweet bread, too. Maybe I am just bias? Anyway, David, I will have to check out the book. Great article and I live in Connecticut now but for many years lived in Swansea and loved it.

              1. Bolo do tijolo was also known as bolo do Pico. Fantastic with any type of fish, particularly sardines or any “petisco.” My parents recently retired and went back to Faial. My mother use to cook bolo do Pico quite often…I miss it. Other dishes I miss include polvo guisado com vinho tinto, bife de advindalhos, soupa de feijão, caldo verde, and “soupa de couves. Having lived over 30 years in California, what I miss most from the first 18 years of living in Faial and Pico is the food.

                1. Thanks, António. It sounds wonderful. I know how hard it is to miss foods from your childhood or from a foreign place. There are some dishes my maternal grandmother used to make that no one makes now, and there’s an ache inside when I think about it.

    2. GREAT article, thanks to my son Christopher Piggott for giving me this site!! Azorean food is such hearty, wonderful food, the original SOUL FOOD IMO! I, like Joyce Amaral, am from Fall River, MA, and my grandfather came here from Riberia Grande in 1897. If you are new to this type of food TRY IT, you will love it!!

    3. Hi Joyce, I have been hoping to find someone who can tell me what might be served for a traditional Christmas dinner on the island of Sao Miguel. My Grandmother’s family was from there; her name was Elsira Amaral. Unfortunately, I was not given the opportunity to spend time with my Grandma. She did teach me to make hollandaise sauce and scramble eggs, but that was the extent. I have few memories of her and her family…just that they were all short like me and generally happy people. Might you be able to tell me what a traditional Christmas dinner consisted of?

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