Savour the Flavours of Madeira
Get a taste of Madeira with our guide to the island’s irresistible food and drink. Read on to discover the island's must try dishes, drinks & desserts.
If you’re craving a holiday full of foodie delights, then take a bite out of Madeira. Known for its rich meats, fresh seafood and tropical fruits, this island serves paradise on a plate.
Here’s a list of traditional Madeira food and drink you simply must try…
Traditional Madeira Food
This spectacular grilled beef dish is a Madeira speciality, there’s a delight in every bite. It is traditionally cooked on skewers over hot coals and seasoned with garlic, salt and bay leaf. It is often paired with side dishes of vegetables, fried maize cubes or bread.
Bolo do Caco
All you knead is loaf. And you can’t visit Madeira without tasting this one in particular. A fluffy bread made from flour and sweet potato, it is a regular in almost every Madeira meal.
It is traditionally cooked on a hot basalt stone slab called (you guessed it), a Caco. Served as a starter, the bread is usually served with garlic butter, or eaten as a sandwich with octopus or espetada.
Prego no Bolo do Caco
Bite into sandwich perfection with this typical Madeiran dish. Made with bolo do caco bread, it is served with garlic butter and thin beef steak. You can choose salad, ham, cheese or egg to go with it. Whatever you choose, we guarantee you’ll be wanting to order a second.
Think of our Madeira holidays like this prego sandwich, they’ll leave you feeling absolutely satisfied and hungry for more.
This black scabbard fish is a traditional Madeira food that can look pretty scary if being viewed at a market. However, once cooked, it’s exceptionally tasty.
This popular dish is usually made with bananas, olive oil, flour, and eggs. The fish is filleted and seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic.
Not bananas for bananas? This dish is also made with passion fruit - don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
This traditional Madeiran dish is usually prepared with beef cut into small cubes, fried and seasoned with garlic and pepper. It is most commonly served on a platter to share so more of a meal for two than for one. Unless you’re feeling ambitious.
Being an island and all, it’s no surprise that Madeira favours its seafood. And Lapas, also known as limpets, are grilled seafood royalty. A must-try when tasting traditional Madeiran cuisine.
They are typically served with butter, garlic and a squeeze of lemon, and look a lot like a muscle or clam. These chewy seafood delights are delicious as a light snack or as an appetiser.
Carne de Vinha D’alhos
If you’re looking for a dish that packs a flavoursome punch, then you shouldn’t skip this pork meat dish.
It is marinated in garlic and wine for a day, and then cooked in the marinade. It is usually served with milho frito (fried cornmeal) which is a popular side dish.
This delicious dessert is a popular Madeiran pudding made from passion fruit. Sweet, light and perfect if you’re visiting in the summer. Or if you’re looking to squeeze in a dessert after a particularly indulgent main.
Madeira Honey Cake
A bite of honey cake? Don’t mind if we do.
If, like the Portuguese, you have a sweet tooth then this cake is for you. It’s traditionally made at Christmas, but you can buy it all year round.
Made with sugar cane honey, flour, sultanas and Madeira wine, it will certainly satisfy your sugar craving. We love it. Other typical ingredients include cinnamon, anise, cloves, walnuts, almonds and orange zest.
Visiting Madeira without tasting the rainbow of fruits on offer should be a food crime.
Don’t miss out on all the juicy freshness such as bananas, mangos, papayas, pomegranates, and grapes - to name a few.
Heard of a fruit called the tabaibos? Also called ‘figs of the devil’, they are from a species of cactus and taste like a combination of pineapple and banana. You can sample these tempting delights at Funchal’s popular farmers market.
This fortified wine is available in a range of dry to sweet styles. Its unique taste comes from the heating of the wine, creating flavours of roasted nuts, stewed fruit, caramel and toffee.
Dry styles of this wine are usually served chilled with starter courses, and the sweeter styles are more after-dinner-sippers.
Poncha, without doubt, is one of the most popular drinks in Madeira. This traditional alcoholic drink is made with rum, honey, and sugar - it sure packs a flavoursome punch.
There are several flavours available and is drunk in both summer (with ice) and in winter, when the islanders need that extra dose of vitamin C.
Hungry For More? View Our Madeira Holidays
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Terms and Conditions
**Up to two guided walks per week are included in the following resorts: Mayrhofen, Seefeld, Saalbach & Hinterglemm, Chamonix, Morzine, Limone, Merano, Selva, Champoluc, Cervinia, Kranjska Gora, Grindelwald, Wengen, Zermatt, Funchal and Caniço. All walks are subject to availability of local guides, weather conditions and maximum numbers. Where we cannot confirm your preferred option in resort, we will endeavour to offer an alternative subject to the above conditions.