Fish or meat? That is the question here!
Madeira is a paradise for fish lovers. Because here you can enjoy it freshly caught from the waters around the island. The most exciting speciality Madeira has to offer is espada - black scabbardfish. Tuna also plays an important role. Bife de Atum is a grilled tuna steak that is usually served with green salad. Simply delicious!
Besides fish, there is of course also a lot of meat on Madeira, which is usually grilled. During your cycling holiday in Madeira, you should definitely order espetada, a beef skewer that is traditionally skewered on a laurel stick. Typical accompaniments to all dishes are milho frito (fried corn cubes), batata doce (sweet potatoes) and the famous bolo do caco - a delicious tasting flatbread made from wheat flour and eaten warm with herb butter and garlic.
Did you know? Madeira's culinary emblem is undoubtedly the passion fruit. The exotic fruit grows so well here that it comes in numerous flavours.
Which specialities you should definitely try on Madeira? We will now tell you in detail.
Espada - black scabbardfish from the depths of the Atlantic Ocean
Espetada - grilled beef skewer on a bay stick
Probably the best-known meat speciality on Madeira is the espetada. This is traditionally a beef skewer seasoned only with sea salt and leeks and grilled over an open wood fire. The skewer is usually a bay stick. This gives the espetada its very special spicy flavour. Madeirans serve it with green salad, French fries or baked cornmeal cubes called milho frito. Alternatively, you can order the dish with chicken, which is also very good cooked on a bay wood skewer.
Madeira Wine - tastes perfect with fresh fish
The island's delicious fish dishes naturally include a glass of matching wine. A very excellent companion to freshly caught fish is the famous Madeira Wine. The local winegrowers prepare this fortified wine from various grapes. The unique taste comes from its preparation: the wine is heated to 40 to 50 degrees for three months in stainless steel containers so that the sugar in the wine can caramelise. This is followed by a resting and cooling phase of 90 days before bottling begins. After that, the wines can be stored for years. About 90 percent of Madeira wines are produced by this method. By the way: The Madeirans have been growing wine on their island since the 15th century. From the 17th century, they also shipped Madeira Wine to the world.
Passion fruit - a taste sensation
The passion fruit is the star among Madeira's fruits. On the island, it grows in eight different varieties: from banana passion fruit to lemon passion fruit to tomato passion fruit, you can taste the most diverse flavours. The best thing is to try the delicious little fruits directly from one of the colourful fruit stands in the market hall in Funchal. Which is your favourite?
Since Madeira and passion fruit simply belong together, the sweet and sour passion fruit ends up in many dishes. The Madeirans also mix the fruit into their national drink, the poncha. The strong aroma and subtle acidity make passion fruit the ideal ingredient for desserts. The passion fruit pudding is prepared with fruit puree, gelatine, condensed milk and cream - an incomparable taste experience!
Poncha - the national drink for mild summer nights
You simply must try the Poncha on your Madeira tour! Because the high-proof national drink exudes the islanders' attitude to life like no other. The Poncha is a cocktail consisting of orange, lemon or passion fruit juice, honey and sugar cane schnapps. The ingredients are then mixed with a typical wooden spoon and drunk cold. The sour, fruity taste of the cocktail simply goes wonderfully with a nice warm summer night and the subtropical mild climate of the island. Madeira even has its own Poncha bars where the national drink is served in different variations. The Madeirans adore their Poncha and like to call it medicine. The cocktail is said to help against every ailment - from colds to lovesickness.