Surrounding Lagoa das Furnas, one of the most emblematic lakes on São Miguel Island in the Azores, there’s an area known as the Furnas Lake Boilers, where several fumaroles can be visited. These unique conditions have given rise to very particular culinary practices, such as the famous ‘Cozido das Furnas,’ a traditional dish prepared by burying pots with ingredients in thermal areas, where they cook slowly due to the natural heat of the earth.
The boilers History
The volcanic activity is a constant presence across the territory of São Miguel Island, but it’s in Furnas that it manifests with greater intensity. Descending about a kilometer from Terra Nostra Park, you reach the area of Furnas Lake Boilers. It’s a fascinating area with significant thermal activity close to the lake of the same name. It’s a place where you can observe the effects of volcanic activity, seen in the region through fumaroles, hot springs, and heated soils.
As fumaroles are essentially openings in the Earth’s crust from which hot gases and vapors emerge, creating a fascinating visual spectacle. In the region of the Furnas Lake Boilers, you can find several fumaroles and boiling calderas where water bubbles due to the heat coming from the Earth’s interior. These thermal waters are rich in minerals, providing them with unique and therapeutic properties. Additionally, the water releases intense vapors, and the smell of sulfur permeates the surroundings.
Because it’s a case of unique events, the calderas serve as scientific study sites where direct observation of geothermal and volcanic processes takes place. For visitors, it’s a unique opportunity to experience the dynamic and peculiar nature of this volcanic region.
The famous Furnas stew
The culinary practice is one of the most striking aspects of the Furnas Lake Boilers. It’s here in this region where most restaurants prepare their famous ‘Cozido das Furnas’ (Furnas stew) a traditional Azorean dish. Ingredients are placed in pots and buried in the natural calderas, slowly cooking with the heat from the volcanic soil for several hours. This method imparts a distinctive and special flavor to the food, making it an unmissable tourist attraction in the region.
If it’s possible to include it in the travel itinerary, it’s definitely worth making a quick visit to the Furnas Lake Boilers before lunch or even combining it with a stroll in the nearby Grená Park.