I promised more than one post about our recent Madeiran fling, and so here is the second of my three posts dedicated to this magical island. Today, I’m talking about my favourite topic, food, and there’s quite a lot to say about the culinary splendours of Madeira.
Unlike a lot of countries, Madeira doesn’t have a traditional cuisine as such. From our observations, as a culture they eat a lot of red meat, a lot of potatoes and a lot of salad. A winning combination if you ask me. But one thing that Madeira did have that I haven’t seen anywhere else is bolo de caco, a circular, flat bread that is toasted and sliced through the middle before being layered with garlic butter. We couldn’t get enough of this truly Madeiran treat.
We ate at a different restaurant each night of our trip and tried to sample as much authentic Madeiran food as we could. Espetadas were a favourite on the island and consisted of meat that had been cooked on skewer and then brought to your table, where the skewer was then hooked onto a metal structure. It was great fun pulling the meat down off the skewer – everyone loves a little dining theatre, right? We sampled this truly unique way of eating at Casa das Espetadas, where the food was tasty, the staff were attentive and the vibe was electric. There was a range of espetadas to choose from, which included beef, pork, fish and chicken, and they all came served with bolo de caco, olives, dips, chips and salad. And all of this was for the incredibly reasonable price of €17.50 per person, including dessert. Should you ever visit Madeira I would thoroughly recommend paying this place a visit.
Chalet Vicente was positioned really close to our hotel and had a varied menu, all with a Swiss influence. I really enjoyed a steak at this restaurant with a peppercorn sauce that actually tasted peppery. They also had a lot of homely dishes, like a rice and bean stew which was delicious.
Most days we had lunch at our hotel as we were too relaxed (or as some would call it, lazy) to move from the pool. The one day we dragged ourselves from the sun loungers and ventured into Funchal’s city centre for a bite, I had some beautiful smoked salmon, served on top of bolo de caco, sitting on the terrace at Cafe Ritz. While we tucked into our food, the sun was beating down and there was live music playing. It was bliss.
We also had our fair share of ice creams, cakes, coffees and, of course, Portuguese custard tarts, which were amazing. I really have to find somewhere in Edinburgh that makes these as I need these sweet treats in my life.
Towards the end of our holiday, we got glamed up and splashed out on cocktails and dinner at Belmond Reid’s Palace. We sipped Martinis whilst sitting on the terrace over looking the ocean and Reid’s incredible gardens. We enjoyed the most beautiful and, as you might expect, delicious canapes, before going into the five-star restaurant for dinner. It wasn’t really the sort of place you got your camera out, but what I will say is wow. And banana ravioli does exist and it is a taste sensation.
Another thing I will mention about the food and drink in Madeira is that it is incredibly reasonable. We were shocked time and time again when our bill came and revealed a very modest amount for really high quality food. It is definitely the sort of place you could go and have a pretty inexpensive holiday.
Now, writing this blog post has made me both hungry and thirsty in equal measure, so I’m going to leave it there. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend!2 likes