Traditional foods and drinks from Madeira Island

by | 22 Junho 2022 | Gastronomy

Madeira has a quality and a gastronomic culture of another level. With so much to try, you can be sure that you will fall in love with all Madeiran food, so we decided to talk a little about this topic, what you can find in Madeira Island and obviously we leave you here 5 traditional foods in Madeira Island. Portuguese gastronomy is exquisite with unique dishes with quality flavors, obviously Madeira is not far behind, and among several well-known dishes, we will present here in this article the traditional foods and drinks from Madeira Island. Come and discover these delights!

Traditional dishes


Regional Espetada and Bolo do Caco

For meat lovers, this dish is for you. The meat is chosen from a specific part of the cow, and you can order it to taste, from rare to well done.

The “bolo do caco” is a unique Madeiran side dish, where it is opened and inserted with a traditional garlic butter.

The “espetada” is also accompanied by a plate of salad, fries with oregano or fried corn. This dish is certainly not lacking in Madeira’s restaurants.

Tuna Steaks with Fried Corn

Starting the list with the classic tuna steak, accompanied by the traditional vilhão sauce and also fried corn, this dish is not a very difficult food to make but it has to be done with care to give it the most flavor possible. All care is necessary, from the preparation to the seasoning choices for the preparation of the dish. You can find this in almost any restaurant with Madeiran origins. The sauce that accompanies the tuna steak is made with vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano and pepper. Then the corn flour is cooked and then cooled and then cut into small cubes and served as an accompaniment.

Wine Meat and Garlic

As the name implies, this dish consists of pieces of chopped pork, then marinated and cooked with garlic cloves, wine, vinegar, bay leaf and pepper to intensify the flavor of the meat. It can be served with slices of fried bread or in sandwiches with bolo do caco. This is often eaten at Christmas time by the locals, but everyone who comes to try it is sure to enjoy it!


Peixe Espada Preto with banana

The swordfish is very uncommon in the world, however, it is typical and quite common in the depths of Madeira’s marine territory. Found at 1000m depth and with an unattractive appearance for most, its flavor cannot be compared. The delicious sword fillets are seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Then the banana is placed in the fryer with olive oil and sprinkled with sprigs of fresh parsley. The side dishes for this dish are usually boiled potatoes and some salad.

Passion fruit pudding

Madeira has a sub-tropical climate, which favors the growth of tropical fruits, so the abundant production of these fruits such as passion fruit has given rise to one of the simplest and most delicious recipes in Madeiran cuisine. The locals consume this dessert a lot and it’s rare not to be in a mix of traditional restaurants. Those who come from outside give their opinion and praise the dessert a lot, not only for its simplicity but also for the natural flavor it offers. Obviously, there are other types of puddings, but this is certainly the most outstanding in Madeira.


Oh the roasted chestnuts…that’s a very typical thing to be between September and March practically every year, in short in Autumn and Winter. Many people enjoy it while in downtown Funchal, for example, and buy roasted chestnuts to eat as a family, sometimes a small gesture is enough to brighten things up.


The limpets are a traditional mollusc in Madeira, which are usually glued to the stones in the coastal area. When picked, they are cooked in different ways and are placed, for example, on a plate with lemon juice on top to give them a unique flavor. This is usually accompanied with the Bolo do Caco, as the sauce left at the end is spectacular.

Typical drinks


Madeira Wine

This 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 Bolo de Mel. 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.


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. Today we have many flavours of poncha but the original, known as the “fisherman’s Poncha”, it’s a must.

Brisa Maracujá

This Passion Fruit soda is the island juice, or if you have a preference for a beer, try our local brand Coral.


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.

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 taste traditional foods and drinks from Madeira Island!



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