A while back, I had the pleasure of meeting a dignitary from The Azores, Portugal. When I told him I had a cruise stopping there, he immediately wrote down the products produced on the islands. Pineapples, a tea plantation and wines from Sao Miguel island.
Ponta Delgada is the main city on the island and once we docked, I set out to find the island treasures. A police officer directed me to Prince of Cheese (O Principe Dos Queijos) and the small store was full of Azores cheese, breads, wines, pineapples and tea.
The varieties of teas were interesting and since they are the only tea grown in Europe, I bought a black tea for myself and mint tea for my friend. The pineapples were brightly colored and bigger than any pineapples I’ve seen. And the cheese, rich and creamy in various sizes and the samples freely given to the line of customers crowding the counter. In this narrow and compact store, shelves were loaded with loaves of baked bread and racks of local wines, the perfect compliment to cheese.
Last, I had to find the Pasteis de Natas and the famous island sweet cake in Ponta Delgada. On a corner near the cobblestone main street was Varandas Avenida cafe. I ordered an individually wrapped sweet cake, a nata (the well known egg custard tart) and coffee cappuccino. The nata tasted like a heavenly bite of creme brulee, sweet and custardy with a flaky crust. The sweet cake, Queijadas Da Villa, is made with sugar, egg and flour and good for a mid morning snack with my cappuccino.
I wonder if I can make these delicious sweets at home? Probably won’t be the same, so I must return to this fascinating island sometime soon.