Its vast green fields are grazed by the countless cows that provide the milk for the island’s traditional dairy industry, in which the art of cheese making dates back to the 16th century, possibly as a result of the influence of the Flemish settlers who established themselves there.
Considered to be the best cheese in the Azores, the cheese from the island of São Jorge has gradually gained an important international reputation and is now exported to several countries, where it is greatly appreciated for the spicy flavour that it acquires over time, making it a most tasty snack. Consisting of a hard or semi-hard paste, between 7 and 12 kilos in weight and with a powerful aroma, the cheese of São Jorge is a delight for all of its many appreciators, who frequently also use it for cooking purposes, in dishes that range from the most simple to the most sophisticated.
It is cured for several months in rooms that are kept at a constant temperature and its manufacturing process still follows the traditional artisanal methods and the same initial formula. It is made at small farms dotted all over this island, which is yet another excellent reason for travelling to all of the island’s main viewpoints.
Velas and Calheta are the main cities, but from Pico da Esperança you can see all the other islands in the central group of the archipelago.