Graciosa Food: What To Eat On the White Island

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Last updated on June 4, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

Graciosa isn’t as visited as some of the other islands in the Azores, like Sao Miguel and Pico, but the island has a lot to offer. When it comes to food, its main offerings are in the sweet department and with its locally-produced wine, but it’s also home to some fantastic ingredients, like garlic and melon.

As with many of the Azores islands, unfortunately it’s quite hard to find restaurants serving traditional dishes. A lot offer locally-caught fish and seafood or meat, particularly beef, but finding specific dishes is often a challenge. The queijadas and other cakes, however, are all very easy to find.

Queijadas da Graciosa

Graciosa makes a few different types of cakes and biscuits, but the Queijadas da Graciosa are undoubtedly the most famous. The most popular producer is Queijadas da Graciosa situated in Praia, which has a shop where you can buy other sweets like Amelias da graciosa, pastéis de arroz, rochedos, and rosquilhas secas, all other popular sweet treats from the island.

However, Queijadas da Graciosa isn’t the only place that makes these delicious queijadas. There’s also Queijadas da Praia, also in Praia, which some people say makes an even better version. The shop also usually has a few samples on offer, allowing you to try a few different varieties before you buy.

Both Queijadas da Graciosa and Queijadas da Praia offer a variety of different types, including traditional, almond, and chocolate. Unfortunately, neither offer a tour of their factories.

Amélias da Graciosa

amelias graciosa

Amélias da Graciosa are an adapted version of Queijadas da Dona Amélia from the island of Terceira and made by the Queijadas da Graciosa factory in Praia.

They’re very similar to the Terceira delicacy: sweet with lots of different spices that showcase the Azores’ connection to the passing boats during the spice trade era. These aren’t quite as good as the Terceira version, but they’re still very good and worth a try if you can’t get your hands on the original.

Wine from Graciosa

graciosa vineyards

Although some people will have heard of wine from Pico, Graciosa also has a strong wine-making tradition (which you can learn about in the Museu da Graciosa). The main wine is Pedras Brancas, and you’ll find bottles from the producer in shops throughout the island (including the Queijadas da Graciosa shop).

If you want to learn more about wine from Graciosa, you can do a tour of the Adega E cooperativa Agricola Da Ilha Graciosa where you’ll get to try Pedras Brancas as well as a sweeter wine, Angelica.

Lapas

lapas

Lapas, or limpets, are a type of sea snail that is a common delicacy in the Azores. They are typically served grilled with butter and garlic.

Massa Sovada

Massa Sovada is a sweet bread that is traditionally made during the Holy Ghost Festivals. It’s a traditional dish that is a must-try when visiting Graciosa.

Caldeirada

Caldeirada is a traditional fish stew that is a testament to the island’s rich seafood tradition. Made with a variety of local fish and shellfish, it’s a hearty meal that is a must-try when visiting Graciosa. It’s also common on many of the other Azores islands too.

Cavacas

cavacas das caldas from Caldas da Rainha

Cavacas are hard, sweet biscuits. They are a staple in Graciosa and throughout many of the Azorean islands. They’re also typical in Caldas da Rainha.

Encharcadas de Ovos

Encharcadas de Ovos are sweet egg puddings that are simply irresistible. They are a perfect example of the island’s rich dessert tradition.

Ilha Graciosa Cheese

graciosa cheese

Although São Jorge is the most famous Azorean island for its cheese, cheese is made on several other islands including Pico, Terceira, Santa Maria, and Graciosa. The cheese from Graciosa has a more buttery taste than the São Jorge variety, and is worth trying if you can find it.

Meloa

Like on Santa Maria, Meloa, or cantaloupe, is grown on Graciosa. It is normally planted during March or April and available during the summer months of July and August.

Garlic

As well as Meloa, Graciosa is famous for its garlic, which is distinguished by its intense taste and beneficial properties. In 2021, it was awarded a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

Linguiça do Graciosa

Linguiça do Graciosa is a local sausage that you’ll find on some local restaurant menus. Most of the Azores islands seem to have some version of this sausage. The Graciosa island uses the local garlic in its recipe.

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James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.

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