The Madeiran gastronomy is traditionally tasty.
Its secret consists in the use of fresh and varied ingredients, whose origin can be traced to the rich, volcanic nature of this island, abundant water, and favorable climate.
From fish to meat, tropical fruits, sweets, bread (such as “Bolo do caco”) and nutritious vegetables, no one resists its taste.
Let’s taste it?
Here are 6 of the best typical dishes, not to be missed on your visit to Madeira:
1. Tomato and Onion Soup
This hot soup offers vigorous and comforting flavors. It is made with chopped onions and garlic, fresh tomatoes, oregano and olive oil. In the center of the dish, rests a poached egg; an invitation to dip a slice of toasted bread.
2. Tuna steak with fried maize
Tuna fish is a valuable resource in the fishing industry of Madeira. In this dish, the tuna is cut into steaks, seasoned with salt and marinated in a sauce called “molho de vilão”. This sauce is made with vinegar, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and pepper. The corn flour is cooked in a pan, cooled in a soup plate and then cut into small cubes. These are fried and served as a side dish, frequently found in the local restaurants.
3. Black Scabbard fish fillet with Banana
Black Scabbard fish is a fish that is available in few places in the world, such as Madeira, where it is found in the deep sea ( around 1000 meters of depth). Despite its ugly appearance, fish lovers will be delighted with its flavor. The succulent fillets of black scabbard fish are seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Peeled bananas and fish fillets are then dipped in egg and flour, fried in oil and sprinkled with fresh parsley. Side dishes include potatoes, lettuce and tomato salad.
4. “Espetada” and “Bolo do caco”
The traditional “espetada” which is beef on a skewer (metal stick or laurel stick), seasoned with salt, garlic and bay leaves. The meat is roasted in a brazier and served directly from the skewer. “Bolo do caco” is the regular Madeiran bread, made with sweet potatoes, flour, baking powder, salt, and water. This sweet bread is crumpled into a ball, then flattened and cooked in a soft stone frying pan. It is usually served hot with garlic butter. Side dishes include fries, fried maize and salad.
5. Wine and Garlic Pork
This dish consists of small cubes of pork, marinated and cooked in white wine, garlic cloves, vinegar, bay leaves, and pepper. It is served with slices of fried bread or in “Bolo do caco” sandwiches. It is mostly appreciated during the Christmas season.
6. Passion Fruit Pudding
Passion fruit is one of the most valued fruits in Madeira. There are different species of passion fruit, such as banana passion fruit. The most common are Passiflora edulis. Its sweet taste, strong aroma and variable acidity, make this the ideal fruit to use in desserts and local drinks. The passion fruit pudding is made with passion fruit pulp, jelly, condensed milk, and cream. Savour this impressive combination of aromas!
@ Bolo do Caco
@ Fried Maize
@ Wine and Garlic Pork
In Madeira, there are many restaurants, scattered throughout the island, of different styles and various prices. You can opt for seafood restaurants, steakhouses, traditional restaurants serving regional cuisine or for the refinement of Michelin-starred restaurants.
Let yourself be seduced by the delicious art of regional gastronomy and choose your favorite dish.