Recalling the taste of Madeira

Since the very beginning of my stay on Madeira Island I’ve known that one day I’m gonna extremely miss it. I had a hunch that I would leave here some small piece of my heart. And that was undoubtedly true. First, I think of the people I’ve met here and who easily already became my family. Secondly, I get flashbacks of all of the beautiful places I saw on the Island which indeed reawakened my bond with nature. Thirdly, what comes immediately to my mind is food, especially two Madeiran dishes. Well, some of you who know me could tell „ Alright, but you’re vegetarian, so what do you have in mind?”. It’s true, Madeira is very well known for delicious fish, seafood and other meat dishes such as espetada or picadinho. You can recite so many of them hence if you are a meat-eater, you’ll certainly fall in love with Madeiran cuisine. Fortunately, I have also a good information for you vegetarians – maybe we don’t have so many options in the menu but when you taste those special ones you wouldn’t need anything more. I will mention two dishes with unforgettable taste which will be forever close to my heart – tomato soup and bolo do caco.  You may think „Really? Tomato soup and garlic bread? So cliche…”. Believe me or not but the taste of the both is remarkable and it sheds a new light on those classical dishes. So today I’m gonna focus only on Bolo do caco and how you can make it on your own to enjoy it everywhere in the world!

So I guess anyone who visited Madeira Island already knows what Bolo do caco is. But for ones that didn’t have the chance to explore this amazing island, I will briefly describe it. So Bolo do caco is a bread with circular and flat shape and it’s typical for not only Madeira Island but also Porto Santo – it’s said that the bread was initially created in Porto Santo and it probably has Arabic origins. The bread is made from wheat flour, sweet potatoes, yeast, water and salt. Bolo do caco is known for its slightly sweet flavor and thin,hard crust with airy, soft inside. Sounds already good, right? What’s more, it’s usually served warm with melted garlic butter. If you are not a garlic lover like me, don’t worry because you can also order bolo do caco with other fillings such as meat or cheese. What’s also amazing you can find it almost everywhere – in restaurants, bars or market stands on the street.

So it’s no wonder that I was really curious how to make bolo do caco on my own to surprise family and friends with this tasty Madeiran snack. Baking a bread was the thing that always scares me off, but this time the recipe turned out to be quite easy. So if you are ready to prepare your own Madeiran bolo do caco, let’s begin!

Recipe comes from the website: – if you know Polish then check it out for more information about Portuguese culture and cuisine!

What will you need to make two pieces of bolo do caco?

– 250 g wheat flour

– 180 g cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

– 1tsp salt

– 100 ml of warm water

– 12 g yeast

  1. Mix 20 ml of warm water with yeast. Leave the yeast mixture aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Put the flour in a bowl. Dig the hole in the center and put there mashed sweet potatoes, salt and yeast mixture.
  3. Gradually add the rest of the water and knead to obtain homogeneous and elastic dough ( if it’s too sticky, add more flour)
  4. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the top, cover the dough with towel and put it in a warm place. Let the dough ferment for several hours (around 5-6 h)
  5. Sprinkle some flour on a worktop and divide the dough into 2 pieces. Form balls and flatten them. Sprinkle  more flour on the top of the dough and cover it again with towel for second 30 minutes fermentation.
  6. Heat a dry pan to a low – heat and put one dough in it. Fry each side of bolo do caco for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm, preferably with butter, mashed garlic and chopped parsley.



Aleksandra Szerejko
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes
European Solidarity Corps  
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