Madeira cuisine, food and drink

Madeira cuisine, food and drink

The bolo do caco

Can't move on what makes it so melting? The sweet potato that goes into its composition! In Madeira, it is often eaten spread with garlic butter, at aperitif time. It can also be garnished as a sandwich, with ham, cheese, chorizo ​​... A delight!

The meat

THEespetada looks more like a sword than a common skewer ... beware of duels! It is the most traditional dish. Nothing could be simpler: it is a question of grilling beef meat on embers scented with laurel. The choice and quantity of bay leaf used, the degree of maturity of the meat, medium or blue cooking and there are so many different espetadas.
Any house worthy of the name must have some kind of oversized barbecue, to prepare this grill particularly appreciated during family or friends gatherings.

La skewer traditional is that with beef, but all restaurants also offer chicken and some even dare the skewer of sausages, cheeses, and even ... pineapple! Once properly grilled, the skewer is suspended from a cable that runs from the ceiling or from a kind of metal pole. And hop, we slide the pieces on the plate! If espetadas are the success of many restaurants today, the real meat recipes of the island are those of the festivals.


The stars here are the the step, in French “patelles” or “berniques” for the Bretons! These gastropods also known under the name of "Chinese hats" proliferate on certain rocks. They are most often served directly in a pan, with a slightly garlic and lemony butter ...

As regards the octopus or octopus, under the name of polvo, we are surprised by their delicate flavors and their soft textures (and not rubbery); it is not fortuitous, they were previously tenderized ... with a rolling pin.
Other offerings from the sea, the lulas (squid) are grilled on a skewer with onion and pepper.

The fish

L & rsquoésabre or black saberfish, of beautiful black glazed color is however ugly to make nightmares. Don't be fooled by this monstrous head and teeth, for the flesh is extremely delicate.
One of our favorite recipes is espada com banana. It gives pride of place to bananas.

If you are not fond of mesalélà, reduce the filtered marinade to coat the fish.

Afterword or black saber, theTuna (tuna) is making a name for itself. Many very inventive recipes magnify it.

Les accompagnements

To accompany these dishes, apart from the often omnipresent slices of bread, several options: potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, rice, and very often corn-based preparations, in particular polenta.
There are also very interesting local preparations such as milho cozido, a sort of puree made from corn flour, to which one adds, as you wish, thyme, garlic or bacon in English style.
Or the milho frito : cooked and finely chopped cabbage is added to the corn puree; the whole, annealed, will be cooled, cut into small pieces and fried in olive oil. A choice accompaniment for fish, but not really light. Finally, Madeirans seem to love fries, they are served everywhere but before ordering them, ask if they are homemade.

The fruits

In Madeira, there is enough to concoct a gigantic fruit salad! According to the seasons, cherries, strawberries, peaches, apples, pears, oranges, figs, blueberries and chestnuts invade the Great Market of Funchal. The bananas is at ease there. The plantain usurps its place, because it is a "false fruit" which is preferably eaten as a vegetable. But we can feast on a large number of exotic fruits: pineapple, avocado, mango, papaya, guava, passion fruit (maracuja) and kiwi.

On the stalls, fruits less known in France attract attention: the tamarillo or "tree tomato" (be careful, the slightly green fruits and the leaves are poisonous); its taste is similar to a mixture of kiwi, gooseberry and tomato; it is eaten raw, or cooked for the "chutney".
THEcustard apple, which is also known under the name of soursop or cherimoya; with its green bark pricked with thorns, this fruit has an uninviting appearance, but its white flesh is succulent.
Le brazil cherry, red in color and the size of a large cherry, can be eaten raw or as a jam; even the stems of the fruit are useful in decoction, for their diuretic and depurative qualities.
We also liked the passion fruit, which looks like a tiny banana on the outside but has a flesh that is more like that of passion fruit. Astonishing!

In Porto Santo, we cultivate melons, the pumpkins and pumpkins, and the vines are divided between the table grapes and that intended for the production of the wine.

Madeira is a "fruit-eating" paradise.

The desserts

- The bolo de mel, it is Madeira's star cake but also our favorite. It is modestly called "honey cake" because "molasses cake" would be unappealing. It is with sugar cane molasses that we make these little wonders. If the recipe is well known (flour, sugar, butter, spices, Madeira wine, walnuts, almonds, lemon, baking soda and molasses), the proportions remain secret.

- There is also the specialty more Portuguese "continental" than Madeiran, namely pastel of nata. A small creamy flan coated with crispy puff pastry. A delight !

Madeira wine

With a little luck, you will be able to taste this wine "from before" in a popular restaurant, far from tourist centers, and whose owner produces it for his personal consumption, and possibly makes the backpackers who he take in. friendship. We can thus sip a small, dry and perky white wine and even a well-structured red called tinto.

Dède-vie from the cane to be also reserve, returned to square one. Oh miracle, this Madeira wine had suffered neither from the swells, nor from the storms, nor from the heat of the tropics. On the contrary, she had, after these long months of navigation, acquired an extraordinary body, power and bouquet.
This wine, nicknamed vinho da roda, which has been translated as "return from India", sold for a very high price. The pirates then attacked in force all the ships flying the Portuguese flag.

To compensate for these numerous losses, a solution was necessary: ​​to recreate, in Madeira, the conditions (except storms) of these long journeys. The wine, once “fortified”, was then exposed for several months to the sun, most of the time on the roofs of houses. The process was then improved by building estufas, a sort of oven where the wine was heated. Our Madeira was born a second time.

Outside of Madeira, and frankly it would be unreasonable to drink it continuously, here are other local and varied drinks.

Tap water

Water is safe to drink in Madeira.


 The different names relate to both the content and the container; it may be useful to know the meaning:

- uma bica: an espresso served in a very small cup um carioca: a long espresso uma chinesa: A coffee um garoto: A coffee um galâo: a latte served in a tall glass.

The maracujá

Maracujá, passion fruit juice, is drunk freshly squeezed or lightly carbonated under the name of brisa maracujá. Sugar is also added to soften its acidity. If you want it unsweetened, ask for sem açucar.

Alcoholic beverages

- La strike, born in Câmara de Lobos, is basically a cocktail of aguardente, sugar and lemon juice. It is above all the most popular and sipped cocktail on the whole island! There are many variations, such as poncha a pescador, poncha de maracujá, poncha de tangerina ...

- La beer, a local beer known as "Coral", is a lager beer brewed in Madeira since 1969. It is also available in a non-alcoholic version.

- La cider is made with apples that are found in abundance. At the end of September, a Cider Festival is held in Santo da Serra. We then discover it sometimes dry, sometimes softer. It is a refreshing and surprising low alcoholic drink, so far from Normandy.

- The father of cabra, to warm up when the temperature drops a little, combine wine, beer, lemon zest, sugar and powdered chocolate. Special!

- The liqueur, or liqueur. The best known is ginja, made from cherries; the licor de cerveza mixes the beer with the aguardente; the licor tin tan tum is much more elaborate: grape, cinnamon, sugar, tea, vanilla, wine and aguardente! The latter is originally from Ponta do Sol, this village whose name celebrates the solar star.

- L & rsquode-vie approaching rum, drawn from sugar cane.

- Last but not least, there is the Nikita, an explosive cocktail on the menu of any bar worthy of the name. It's a mix of vanilla ice cream, pineapple slices and beer. Nikita's fashion is spreading everywhere, and everyone is improving the food to their liking. Sometimes pineapple rings are replaced with pineapple juice. Sometimes we choose wine instead of beer, sometimes we mix the two ... The Nikita follow each other and are not alike.

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