If you ever happen to find yourself on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, be sure you stop off in the town of Furnas. This town, which is an easy and scenic drive from Ponta Delgada (the island’s capital), is a truly unique experience that you won’t be in a hurry to forget. And while you’re taking in the sights there, you’ll have to sample an equally unique meal: the cozido das Furnas.
Cozido das Furnas is so special because it is only made in this particular town, due to its geothermal conditions. It’s a well-known fact that the Azores are a volcanic archipelago, but it’s easy to forget that fact as a tourist… until, of course, you arrive at places like Furnas. The village is dotted with boiling water springs and mud springs. Huge clouds of vapor rise from pockets of bubbling springs, which give Furnas an ethereal (dare I say Jurassic Park-esque?) feel. If you’re captivated by the ambiance and want to completely emerse yourself in it, you may want to take a relaxing dip in the Pool of Youth (remember to take swimwear) before trying the cozido das Furnas.
“Cozido” is a traditional Portuguese dish composed of various meats (for example: bacon, ribs, chicken, chouriço and morcela, a Portuguese blood sausage) and vegetables (cabbage, potatoes, carrots are the most common), boiled together. It’s a hearty meal, to say the least! But in Furnas, the cozido is special because it’s cooked in a large pot, which is then placed underground and cooked by the steam from the hot springs. The meal is slowly cooked for approximately five hours before you get to enjoy it.
The video below shows the pots being collected after they’ve been cooked.
After a day of hiking around São Miguel’s beautiful trails, you deserve a big, filling meal. And what could be more typical than a little cozido das Furnas?… Besides, how often can you say your meal was cooked for you by a real life volcano?