On Monday, November 1st, TV5 Monde premiered a new episode of the Embarquement TV series showcasing the wild beauty of a Portuguese jewel: the Azores.
The documentary invites you to embark on a journey to the volcanic archipelago that lies between Europe and America. The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal that has become a very popular spot for hikers and lovers of nature. The set of islands is an oasis of life.
Terceira is the easternmost of the five islands forming the central group, the third to be discovered by the Portuguese, which is why it is called Terceira, meaning “the third”. Its capital, Angra do Heroísmo, was a port of call for fleets coming from Africa and the Indies. In 1983, under the leadership of Álvaro Monjardino, Angra was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the first Portuguese city to obtain such recognition.
At first sight, an unpredictable climate and a volcanic land are not the best conditions for wine growing, but this is not quite the case on Terceira island. There are four appellations in the Azores and usually the winemakers work with single grape varieties for wines that are most often white. There is grape variety called “verdelho”, imported in the past from Sicily by Franciscan monks.
Wine tourism and rural tourism are of enormous importance for the local economy. Along with a glass of wine, comes also a traditional meal: the Alcatra of Azorean beef. The secret of the alcatra is the clay pot slightly tapered so as to smooth and thicken the sauce composed of bacon, onions, garlic, laurel, chilies and wine, among other ingredients.
Graciosa is also known as the white island. A real small garden composed of endemic plants of the Azores archipelago. A large crater located at the top of the volcano is covered with dense vegetation.
A sulphur cave called “Furna do Enxofre” is an imposing lava cavern crowned with a perfect vaulted ceiling. The visit is part of Graciosa’s long-distance hiking trail, of about 40 km. Graciosa was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2007.
Classified as a nature reserve, Faial is an ideal refuge for some endemic plants and the primitive forest “Laurissilva”, which covers the slopes of the crater. Unforgettable is its volcanic cone, 2 km in diameter and 400 meters deep. The landscape changed radically in 1957 because a huge eruption added two square kilometers to the island. The volcanic interpretation center, created in 2008, traces the volcanic history of the Azores and Faial in particular.