Maria’s Portuguese Table – Season 2 Summary

Episode 1 – Provincetown, Massachusetts

Maria at the Portuguese Festival Parade in Provincetown, Massachusetts

              Maria explores Provincetown, the first landing place for the Pilgrims and also the landing place for many Azorean immigrants in the last century.  Not just an artists colony, Provincetown has also been home to a vibrant, Portuguese community that centered around the fishing industry.  Maria explores the area, cooks a traditional fish dish at the Mayflower Café, takes a painting lesson from a Portuguese American artist, and joins in the weekend Portuguese Festival celebration.

Episode 2 – Boston, Massachusetts

                 Maria’s travels continue to the birthplace of the American Revolution, Boston Massachusetts.  Maria meets with Dennis Alves, Director of Artistic Planning for the world famous Boston Pops.  Dennis is a proud Portuguese American,  and he invites Maria to cook a delicious chicken soup, canja,  in his kitchen.  Maria also receives a private music lesson on stage at symphony hall. Maria also meets with businessman Tony Frias to hear how he and is brother arrived in the US from the azorean island of Santa Maria then went on to starting a business that eventually grew to shape much of the Boston skyline.

Episode 3 – Fall River, Massachusetts

Maria laughs with the Portuguese Kids comedy troupe

                 Columbia Street is the heart of Fall River’s Portuguese community.  Maria explores the cafés and business there, then heads to meet up with comedy troupe “Portuguese Kids” founders Brian and Derek.  The men are globally known for their take on growing up Portuguese in America, but their love for their roots is shown as they join their mothers in the kitchen to sit with Maria and reminisce.  Maria also experiences fine dining at the oldest Portuguese restaurant in the state, Sagres Restaurant. Brothers Victor and Manuel show Maria a few of their famous dishes now in it’s second generation of Portuguese family ownership and a Columbia Street institution.

Episode 4 – New Bedford, Massachusetts

              Maria’s journey circles back to her home community of New Bedford Massachusetts.  Maria arrived in New Bedford from Sao Miguel, Azores when she was just six years old.  Historically,  many people who immigrated to New Bedford worked in not only in mills but in the fishing industry, and Maria meets a young woman who is now running the family business.  She talks about her roots, and  teaches Maria how to cook her favorite scallop recipe. Maria then meets Jessica Arruda, owner of Tia Maria’s European Café. Jessica discusses her Portuguese family, and then they cook a recipe that Jessica’s mother taught her in the Café’s kitchen. Then Maria heads to the north end part of New Bedford and meets with the Festiros (Feast Committee Members) of Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, just a few days before the Feast begins.

Episode 5 – Terçeira, Azores

 Maria’s journey continues to the island of Terceira, known by many US veterans for the US Air base located their since World War II.  Maria learns that Terceira isn’t just bloodless bullfights and parties, it’s also home to stunning scenery, talented artists, and some amazing food.  Maria goes inside a volcano, cooks local specialties the Alcartra and the Dona Amelias, and takes a turn at throwing some pottery with a third generation potter using clay that is millions of years old.

Maria dining out on the island of Terçeira

Episode 6 – Sao Jorge, Azores

From a distance Sao Jorge is an island of cliffs and fajas, but Maria discovers so much more.  She sees first hand how their world famous cheese is made, visits a coffee plantation, then cooks Holy Ghost soup and local specialty Especies.  Maria also meets transplant Peeter Adriaans, best described as a renaissance man originally from Amsterdam, who made a home on Sao Jorge after what can only be described as a shipwreck.

Episode 7 – Sao Jorge and Pico, Azores

Maria explores Faja da Caldeira Santo Cristo, which the New York Times listed as one of the most beautiful places in the world.  While there she learns to cook and then tastes the unique clams that can only be found on that shoreline.  Afterwards, she ferries to the island of Pico to learn more about the whaling industry, and meet with winemakers as well as taste the rare wines that were desired by kings and czars for centuries.

Episode 8 – Faial, Azores

Maria sailing in Faial

              The season ends by exploring the city of Horta and tasting locally produced specialties that can only be found on this beautiful island. Then Maria heads to a volcano off the coast of Capelinhos, Faial, who’s devastating eruption in 1958 resulted in a new wave of immigration to the US thanks to changes in policy spearheaded by John F. Kennedy.  Maria also wrangles bees and gets to cook some unique farm to table inspired dishes on a mountain top farm with an American couple that returned to Faial to start anew on her great-grandparents’ farmland.

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