When you think about Madeira, images of beautiful landscapes, sunny days, beaches with clear blue water, comes through your mind. But Madeira has more to offer than this paradise looking place. The traditions and culture together with the maderian art of hospitality has a strong impact in our visitors in a way that makes them keep coming back to this little piece of Heaven.
If you have already visited Madeira island you know what I am talking about and at this point you’re probably thinking this “he’s missing something very important…!!”. Well, fear not, I haven’t forgot about our gastronomy… our traditional dishes and typical drinks, that I believe, many of you have already tasted it and if not, well, next time you come to Madeira you’ll have no excuse and make sure that it will be a priority on your list.
Being known worldwide, Madeira Wine is probably the first thing that comes into your mind when we talk about gastronomy, this sweet or dry liquor served as an appetizer or as digestive drink that’s been around since the colonization of the island and it’s in the history books as the elected wine by Thomas Jefferson to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of the Independence of the United States of America. And since we’re talking about Madeira Wine we should not leave aside our traditional Honey Cake, this fruity cake, also known as Christmas cake, used to be baked by the locals on Christmas time, together with the wine makes a perfect combination.
The sugar used in the cake has come from the sugar cane plantations we have all over the island, sugar cane that is also used to produce our Rhum and this is the same rhum we use in our very famous typical drink, Poncha. Today we have many flavours of poncha but the original, known as the “fisherman’s poncha”, it’s a must.
Poncha was originally made by the fisherman that went out to the sea, they mixed rhum with sugar and lemon juice and drank it in order to keep themselves warm.
Talking about fishing, one of our typical dishes is the Peixe Espada Preto (Black Scabbardfish) that can be eaten with or without fried banana on top. This fish also provides another delicacy, the Black Scabbardfish Roes, very appreciated by the locals. If you love fish and seafood don’t forget to try also the Gaiado Seco (Dry Skipjack Tuna), Lapas (Limpets) and Caramujos (Periwinkles). And while you delight in these tasty dishes, why not accompany them with a typical island juice like the Brisa Maracujá (Passion Fruit soda) and Laranjada (Orange soda) or if you have a preference for a beer, try our local brand Coral.
If you’re willing to go for an afternoon stroll around the city, why not stop in one of our many bars and delight yourself with our refreshing drink Nikita, made with passion fruit juice, vanilla ice cream, a little taste of beer (if you prefer with alcohol) and a slice of pineapple or if you’re willing to try something new and unusual, go for a Pé de Cabra (Crow’s Foot), the name of this drink is as surprising as his ingredients since in this you will find dry madeira wine, dark beer, sugar, chocolate powder and bits of lemon peel all mixed.
And well, like we usually say, I’ve saved the best for last, the main typical dish from Madeira, very appreciated not only by the locals but also by our visitors. The food that gathers families on a Sunday’s barbecue, religious festivities around the island or even at a nearby restaurant, the Espetada Madeirense. Pieces of beef on a laurel skewer, powdered with salt, garlic and bay leaf cooked on fire make up this delicious dish that which can be accompanied with salad, fried cornmeal and french fries. As a starter we have our delicious bread with garlic butter, Bolo do Caco that can be accompanied with our refreshing Sangria.
To sweetens your day, don’t forget to try our fennel candys (Rebuçados de Funcho).
As you can see, our island not only provides good things for your eyes but also for your mouth. Our gastronomy is becoming more and more a relevant factor in holiday’s decisions and if you’re never visited Madeira, well, what are you waiting for?
Hello, my name is Cláudio Pereira. I was born in Madeira and since an early age, i’ve been in love with this island. In the last 6 years i’ve been connected to the turism industry in order to be able to show you and transmit my passion about Madeira.