Simple recipes with fresh ingredients are the secret of Madeiran cuisine
Espetada is made with cubes of beef skewered on a bay leaf branch, season with salt and garlic and grilled over wood or coals, accompanied by fried maize and Bolo do Caco, a type of bread traditionally cooked on a piece of tile over fire. This is, without a doubt, the most typical and popular dish of Madeiran gastronomy.
Fresh limpets sprinkled with a bit of butter and lemon is one of the tidbits you must try. Also delicious is black scabbard fish roe in a vinaigrette sauce.
The black scabbard fish fillet, sometimes served with banana or a passion fruit sauce, and tuna steak are other very popular dishes served in almost every restaurant.
The other great specialty of the island is the carne em vinha d´alhos, pork marinated in wine and garlic, normally prepared to be eaten on Christmas Day
Madeira also produces good fruit that is often used in making delicious puddings and ice creams.
The queijada (cheesecake pastry) and the Bolo de Mel (sugarcane cake) are perfect for accompanying a glass of Madeira Wine
The vines were introduced in the island at the time it was settled by order of Prince Henry. The first cast to be introduced in Madeira was Malvasia, from the Greek island of Candia, and the first exports to Europe were in 1515, destined for the court of Francis I of France.
It was only with the decline in the cycle of the sugar trade that its production increased in the 17th century, and today it holds a top position in the economy of Madeira Island.
Madeira Wine gained an international reputation in the 18th century and in the first quarter of the 19th century, it became “the most expensive and admired wine in the world".
When in 1852 and 1872 the plagues of phylloxera threatened oidim and wine production, it was only with the importation of new vines (then grafted with the noble casts) that it was possible the survival of this industry.
The Vines find in the soil and mild climate of Madeira a pleasant situation, thereby giving them their very own feature.
Although in Madeira there are over 30 different casts, the noblest ones are Malvasia, Verdelho, Boal and Sercial