Madeira is a charming island boasting a picturesque landscape, a fantastic array of attractions and a community with an impeccable taste for food. Here are some of my personal recommendations when it comes to sampling this island’s fine cuisine on Madeira holidays.
The best places to encounter vast displays of unfamiliar fruits are the Madeiran markets. Located all over the island, the markets will no doubt have a stall or two dedicated to a large selection of brightly coloured fruit, some of which you may have never seen before.
Some examples of these rare finds include the several varieties of passion fruit such as banana and apple passionfruit. The banana pineapple is another unique find, and tastes exactly as you might expect – definitely worth a try if you are venturing to a local Madeiran market.
Biscuits and Cakes
If you prefer to satisfy your sweet tooth rather than aim for your five-a-day, then fear not, as this island has a whole host of fabulous treats for you to try.
‘Bolo de mel de cana’ is a dark, circular cake that can be found all over the island. The taste is rich, and the texture is extremely dry, so only a thin slice is needed! The cake is made with the sugarcane molasses which give it its dark colour, and nuts or sultanas are often included in the mixture.
Yet another treacle-y treat can be found in the form of ‘Broa de mel’. These small, round biscuits are light in texture but have a heavy cinnamon flavour that combines harmoniously with the treacle. They are beautifully crisp and make a lovely afternoon snack.
Meat and Fish
Madeiran restaurants often serve the unusual combination of Scabbard fish and banana. This is a traditional dish of the island and can be found on menus everywhere you go. The fillet of fish is usually presented alongside a colourful salad, rice and a large banana.
Espetada is the preferred meat dish of Madeiran locals and is traditionally served on a long skewer dangling from a hook. The steak or chicken is grilled until tender and then hung above the table for guests to enjoy. Don’t miss the opportunity to try this delicious delicacy. I recommend pairing it with a local wine; Portugal has some fantastic options to choose from.