Madeira is well known for its beautiful landscape: paradisiac beaches, challenging mountain trails led next to ancient irrigation system called levadas and absolutely outstanding viewpoints. It should not come as a surprise, therefore, that the island attract mainly enthusiasts of pristine and wild nature, who want to experience some breath-taking moments in the middle of Atlantic.

In fact, the island has much more to offer, even if its amazing biodiversity is for sure the biggest asset of this extraordinary place. Tasting locals meals and drinks makes the travel through the island not only more complete and interesting, but also authentic. Exploring Madeirian Cuisine can surprise by undiscovered flavours and make even the biggest strangers part of local community used to share moments with family and friends above the table.

On this occasion, I prepared a subjective ranking of the most popular tastes of the island that I’ve been discovering during my stay.

  1. Poncha

Poncha is a drink based on Madeiran rum (50%), local fruits, honey, sugar, and eventually some cubes of ice. Well prepared, according to the original recipe gives strong effect, refreshes, and makes more easy-going…

The most popular, called ‘fisherman’ is a mix of lemon and orange. Following of its preparation in a typical tavern takes as well part of the cultural experience. Gastronomic freaks who would like to prepare poncha on their own should first ask about name of the tools necessary to carry recipe out!

2. Lapas and bolo de caco

Madeira is known for a vast variety of seafood. Lapas with bolo de caco is one of the most popular snack that you can order in beach bar after a tiring day spent at the seaside. The meal looks like mussels and it tastes better accompanied by grilled bread with garlic and herbs. If you have enough of alcohol after poncha’s degustation, you can order for it ‘Brisa’ – local soft drink with fruit, sweet flavour.

3. Espetada and milho frito

Madeiran cuisine is ruled by meat. It’s a real paradise for carnivore who will appreciate its variety and way of preparation. Meat lovers should mandatorily try ‘espetada’ – pieces of meat cured with garlic and sprinkled with butter. Grilled portions are served in a metal stick hanging up above the table. Meat goes well with “milho frito” – fried sweet corn and salads. Sharing meals creates convivial and joyful atmosphere.

4. Espada com banana

Madeira proposes not only the great variety of meat, but also fish. You can order in some places fish caught by fishermen from Pestana Churchill Bay the same day. The most popular one – ‘espada’ is sometimes served with banana – identification mark of the island. In the beginning this mix can shock, but actually is really interesting and for sure worth of breaking some typical gastronomic rules

5. Bolo de mel

This dessert, which looks really appetizingly is still kind of a surprise for me. I decide to order it day before my departure in one of the coffee shops in Camara de Lobos to finish my stay on the island deleting probably the most popular sweetness. I hope that another amazing taste to explore is before me!


Karolina Puchalska
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes
European Solidarity Corps  
To know more: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en

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