Portugal’s cuisine is as rich and varied as its landscape.
The most distinctive feature of Portuguese cuisine comes from the sea. As you enjoy a simple grilled fish, always fresh like the seafood that abounds from end to end along the coast, you can be sure that you are in Portugal! Cataplanas, bouillabaisses and any other fish or seafood dish are also excellent choices.
For meat dishes, our main suggestion is cozido à portuguesa, a mix of meats, vegetables and various sausages, cooked in a delicious way. We have excellent DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) meats, from north to south, whether it’s beef, pork or kid. Many vegetables and fruit also preserve the taste of the old times, and some also have the DOP label, especially as many are produced organically.
Portuguese olive oil is of prime quality and is part of every dish, including cod (for which it is said that there are 1001 recipes!), which we excel at preparing and enjoying.
Each dish is matched to the right wine. The whole country produces wine and, while Port wine is famous, the Douro, Alentejo and many other table wines are no less superior.
And the cheeses! While Queijo da Serra (mountain cheese from Serra da Estrela) tops the bill, all the cheeses from Centro de Portugal, Alentejo and the Azores are delicious.
The sweets, whose roots go back to the many convents where they were originally prepared, even today make us “give thanks to heaven”. And a pastel de nata (custard tart) is a must. It is delicious with coffee, which we drink in the form of espresso.
At the end of a meal, we might make a toast with some Port or Madeira, fortified wines that have been spreading our name to faraway lands for centuries. Or with an excellent sparkling wine produced in Portugal, to celebrate a memorable meal provided by the country’s talented chefs.
The food in Portugal is a closely guarded secret. Portuguese cuisine has everything to please even the most discerning palate because it is based on genuine quality products, cooked according to traditional recipes or to the most innovative and unusual trends.
We might say that Portuguese cuisine hinges around into five icons. Let’s start with the fish from our extensive Atlantic coast, the best fish in the world in the opinion of many renowned international chefs. Their habitat and specific geomorphological location in the Atlantic give the fish unique conditions for birth and growth that enable them to acquire a taste and texture hard to match elsewhere. The best fish are caught by line and by traditional techniques. They then benefit from high-tech storage and distribution methods which create the best conditions for the fish, and the shellfish too, to reach Europe’s and America’s top quality restaurants, where they are cooked by the world’s best chefs. These restaurants, however, don’t have another icon of Portuguese cuisine, the cataplana, a utensil that is the delight of gourmets and those who like to conjure up all the senses around the table.
The third icon of Portuguese cuisine is Port wine, considered both sumptuous and sensual. Its unique characteristics come from the soil, man’s hard work and the sunshine that ripens the fruit. When we think in the grapes grown in the oldest wine region in the world we have to smile as we realise that nature and man knew how to unite to create a truly exceptional product. This region was classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, as well as the Lodges in Gaia where these wines age.
Let’s us speak about Portuguese sweets next: they are divine. We should give thanks to God, like the nuns used to do in the old days while preparing their recipes of sugar, eggs and almond in the seclusion of their cloisters. The result of the balance between flavour, creaminess and crispiness is another icon of Portuguese cuisine, considered a truly heavenly sweet: the pastel de nata (custard tart)!
The fifth icon of Portuguese cuisine lies in the human factor. Our chefs are increasingly talented and are winning more prizes, revolutionising the richness of Portuguese cuisine with their creativity, boldness and good taste. Currently Portugal is proud to have a host of chefs who work at the highest levels of cuisine, using old-established recipes or more unusual methods that often enhance the flavour and quality of local products.
We haven’t yet spoken of a number of other products that also help to distinguish what is eaten in Portugal. The Protected Denomination of Origin (DOP) meats from local breeds - Bísaro pig and black pig, Arouquesa, Maronesa, Mertolenga, Barrosã and Lafões beef, Barroso kid (charnequeiro and transmontano), Terrincho and Bragançano lamb - whose producers work hard to maintain their succulence and flavour. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the basis of Portuguese cuisine and of its more Mediterranean characteristics, typical of a healthy, simple and varied cuisine. They are the product of a fertile land, which is adopting the new organic production processes that are friendly to both consumers and the environment. For seasoning, we have another Mediterranean product, pure aromatic olive oil that is conquering international markets with every passing day. Fish, soups, salads and cheeses are all seasoned with it. Yes, even the wonderful mountain cheeses produced in Portugal that the world has yet to discover. The creamy, oily or dry goat and sheep cheeses also make us bless the heavens.
To accompany all this, we have another secret that is just beginning to be revealed: our excellent table wines. Created from a new generation of winemakers and producers with a new vision for the cultivation of vines, Portuguese wines are exactly the right drink to accompany meals and you always have a wine of great quality according to the region of the country in which you are dining.
Now you just need to sit down at the table and toast a delightful experience.
The Mediterranean Diet, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, is part of the identity of the Portuguese gastronomy.
Its basis is plants, including vegetables, fruit, good quality bread and largely unprocessed cereals, dried and fresh legumes (beans, chickpeas, broad beans, etc.), dried fruits and nuts (walnuts, almonds, chestnuts, raisins, etc.), but also olive oil as the main source of fat, and fish at the expense of red meat.
All of these foods, that we prefer to consume in season - and buy in local shops, if not in traditional markets, following the rhythm of the harvest and the working of the fields - are part of a simple and frugal cuisine that prepares them in such a way as to preserve their nutrients. So we have soups, stews, casseroles and chowders, which retain the antioxidant properties of the ingredients, contributing to a longer life for those who eat them.
The Mediterranean diet is further distinguished by the moderate consumption of dairy products, the use of herbs for seasoning instead of salt, the moderate consumption of wine and only with meals, the consumption of water as the main drink during the day and, not least, the companionship around the table. Indeed, a well-established characteristic of the Portuguese is to share meals, a ritual that brings together family and friends and is a mark of our hospitality.
All the values of the Mediterranean diet are found in Portuguese cuisine: the diversity of products from the land and sea, whether originating from Portugal or brought from overseas in the Age of the Discoveries, but also the gathering and transmission of know-how, and the celebration between cultures and generations.
The climate, the landscapes, the cultures that have converged and been assimilated into the country, the lifestyle make a country with as extensive an Atlantic coastline as Portugal a true homeland for the Mediterranean diet.
From grilled sardines to pastéis de Belém (custard tarts), the food in Lisbon is as appealing as the city and the region.
Grilled sardines are popular throughout Portugal, but in Lisbon they are particularly traditional during the Popular Saints festivities in June. They are mandatory fare in any typical restaurant or beach terrace, particularly in the summer, accompanied by grilled peppers and seasoned with the excellent Portuguese olive oil.
However, the boats that lend colour to the region’s fishing ports - Ericeira, Cascais, Sesimbra and Setúbal – bring many other fish and seafood for scrumptious bouillabaisses, fish soups or simple grilled fish, such as the red mullet from Setúbal and the fried cuttlefish. In Portugal, we really do have the best fish in the world!
As for sweets, the temptations around the capital are many and by themselves justify the trip: walnuts in Cascais, at the end of the attractive Estoril Coast; queijadas (cheese tarts) and travesseiros (egg and almond pastries) in Sintra, and fofos (cream-filled sponge cakes) in Belas, the green Cultural Landscape of Sintra, dotted with palaces and classified as World Heritage by UNESCO; when you cross the Tagus to the south, you will find the Azeitão tortas (egg cream-filled rolls). Our sweets are endless, but there is one that no-one can miss when visiting Lisbon: in the monumental area of Belém, where two World Heritage landmarks are located, the mouth-watering pastéis de Belém are a must, a highlight of convent sweet making that is a trademark of Portuguese gastronomy.
Incidentally, we have another suggestion to start or end a meal: Azeitão cheese, from the beautiful landscape of the Arrábida Natural Park, is one of Portugal’s best, with the added bonus of some of the region’s best wines, notably muscatel from Setúbal. Besides these, there are also the excellent Colares table wines, mostly red, but if your preference goes for a white, then Bucelas is a very good choice.
A good meal, naturally, is not only based on the quality of the produce used, but also on the skills and talent of the chefs who prepare it. You will find some of Portugal’s Michelin-starred restaurants in Lisbon, and some of the country’s most prestigious chefs. The list includes names like Bertílio Gomes, Henrique Sá Pessoa, José Avillez, José Cordeiro, Leonel Pereira, Luís Baena and Vitor Sobral, to mention just a few who have excelled for their innovation and creativity in developing a modern Portuguese cuisine.
However, in Lisbon and its surroundings, the haven of good gourmets is within everyone’s reach. Simple grilled fish can provide a divine meal, savoured under the sun on a terrace and accompanied by a nice, cool white wine, with the sea as a backdrop.
The cuisine of Porto and the North
Porto and Northern Portugal, where the founding of the country was begun, are known for the honest and genuine character of their people and their tradition of hospitality. Among its attributes is a rich cuisine, accompanied by the region’s excellent wines.
The regional cuisine makes use of its natural resources, so caldo verde, appreciated all over the country, is a cabbage soup that originated here thanks to the fertile green fields of the region. In the west, bounded by the sea, the freshness and quality of the fish has a prominent place, as in all Portuguese cuisine, which prides itself in having the best fish in the world, in the opinion of renowned international chefs and gourmets. But in Porto and the North, trout, lamprey and shad are also fished in the rapid, abundant rivers, to the delight of connoisseurs.
It is a region of good grazing for the cattle that are bred here. The native breeds such as Barrosã, Mirandesa, Maronesa and Arouquesa have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) classification, as do Terrincho Transmontano lamb and Barroso kids. Pork is also available in regional varieties, not only in quality sausages but also such dishes as rojões (braised pork chunks), sarrabulho (pork rice cooked in pig blood) and Porto-style tripe, perhaps the most famous dish of the northern capital. There is another dish too, made on the basis of a sandwich, that is a true institution: the francesinha. Back to pork, it should be noted that this mountainous region, especially in the northwest, is the largest area for breeding the bísaro pig. The sausages from Chaves and Mirandela are famous for using traditional manufacturing methods. The alheira sausage of Mirandela and Miranda do Douro is highly appreciated but has the peculiarity of not being made with pork, since it was intended for the Jewish population that lived here in the Middle Ages. You can buy them all in the Vinhais Smoked Meats Fair.
There are also game and cabidela dishes (cooked in blood). And cod dishes, part of the national cuisine, although many of the recipes were created in the north. Such is the case of Gomes de Sá and Zé do Pipo style cod, the recipes for cod from the Minho, Margarida da Praça cod (Viana do Castelo), Narcisa cod (Braga) and many others. Portuguese olive oil, which is produced in great quality in Trás-os-Montes, plays a part in all of them.
In terms of wine, the region could not be more blessed: it is crossed by the river Douro, whose landscape of vineyards is World Heritage; its capital Porto - also World Heritage - gave its name to the wine that leaves from here to every part of the world; and there is also the Vinho Verde region and that of Távora and Varosa. With such an illustrious list, it’s clear that in Porto and the North you will find a perfect wine to go with every dish. For appetizers, snacks, salads, fish and seafood, and white meats, there is a vast range of light, fresh vinho verdes and sparkling wines. For other meat dishes and stronger flavours, there is an equally huge range of robust wines from the Douro, originating mainly in the Upper Douro Valley.
From the other Douro sub-regions, there are the Port wine Tawnies, Colheitas and Vintages, making every moment a celebration. And you can make a toast on every special occasion with high quality sparkling wine, the Távora-Varosa region having a particularly long tradition and renown.
You cannot leave Porto and the North without tasting the sweets. In Braga, the highlight is the Abade Priscos crème caramel, and throughout the region crème brûlée, toucinho do céu (bacon from heaven, a convent dish made with eggs and sugar), rice pudding and aletria (sweet noodles). In some regional sweets, especially those from Trás-os-Montes, DOP registered olive oil or honey is used.
With enormously diverse landscapes, whether part of history, green nature or overlooking the blue sea, the choice is vast but always right.
Gastronomy from the Portugal Center
In Portugal Center you will be delighted by flavours from the sea and the mountain, by sweets that will make you beg for more, all with the added spice of the warm welcome of the people, who love to receive visitors with an abundant table.
The coast offers fresh fish and shellfish that can be relished in casseroles and stews, especially the eels in the Aveiro region. Inland, many rivers and lakes provide other types of fish, such as trout which, simply grilled, is a delicious delicacy.
Cod, an essential part of the menu all over Portugal, has a place of honour in Ílhavo. It is said that there are a thousand and one recipes to prepare cod, so you should be sure to try at least some of them. Meanwhile, enjoy a visit to the Ílhavo Maritime Museum and see the vessels formerly used to fish for cod - the Santo André and the Santa Maria Manuela – from which you will learn more about the hard labour that took the brave sailors across distant seas to icy Greenland and Newfoundland, to fish and salt this delicacy.
Amongst meat dishes, we would particularly mention the roast suckling pig, which attracts people from all over the country to restaurants in Bairrada. Further north, in Viseu, you will often find Lafões-style roast veal on the menus, and in the Castelo Branco region the focus is on pork prepared in different ways - bucho recheado (pork loin haggis) and maranhos (Portuguese pork, goat and rice haggis), and a variety of typical sausages, each with its own flavour. Roast kid appears throughout the region and in mountainous areas you will love the goat chanfana (casserole), cooked slowly in red wine.
Cheese has an important place in the region’s cuisine. The most celebrated is undoubtedly the famous Serra da Estrela Cheese produced in the Serra da Estrela mountain area. Semi-soft and buttery, it can be found throughout the year, but to have a wider choice and taste all the variants, there’s nothing like a visit to the cheese markets in February and March. There are many other cheeses not to be missed, too, such as Rabaçal, from the Ansião and Penela area, Castelo Branco, and the spicy Beira Baixa with its strong aroma. As the range is so large, it’s best not to choose, but to buy one of each.
As for sweets, you simply must taste the ovos-moles (“soft-eggs”) in Aveiro. They come packed in wooden barrels or encased in wafer pastry, so enjoy them strolling around the city or take them home as a gift. Eggs and sugar are also the main ingredients of the pão de-ló (a type of sponge cake) from Ovar and the castanhas de ovos (“egg chestnuts”) from Viseu, both of which delicacies not to be missed. And you must not forget the pastries – those from Tentúgal, Vouzela and Santa Clara in Coimbra are the names to remember when you visit a pastry shop.
All these specialties are based on regional products of excellent quality. You can try and take some of them with you, like Olive Oil from Beira Baixa, which has a protected designation of origin, or the honey that is produced in the Naturtejo and Serra da Lousã areas and many other mountain ranges. In cherry season, all roads lead to Cova da Beira, one of the major production areas for this delicious fruit. These are just some examples of how much there is for you to try, but there are always other aromas and flavours waiting for you.
Flavours of Alentejo
Creativity and imagination in using very simple ingredients has made Alentejo cuisine a surprising mix of flavours and proof of the hospitality of the Alentejo people.
The province was once a region of wheat and wide plains where herds of swine grazed freely in oak plantations and olive groves. Bread, pork and olive oil therefore became staples in one of the tastiest cuisines in Portugal, seamlessly combined with aromatic herbs such as coriander, parsley, rosemary, oregano, pennyroyal and mint.
One of the regional delights is the small dishes of tidbits. Whether as a starter or for tasting the specialities, scrambled eggs with wild asparagus, grilled peppers, pork crackling or migas (sautéed breadcrumbs and garlic) of various flavours and in various combinations are irresistible.
Soup, which can be the main course, is a must. It may be a gazpacho, served cold, or a dogfish, cod, or tomato and sausage soup, made with bread. The soup that you absolutely have to taste is the simplest of them all: açorda Alentejo style, made with water, olive oil, garlic, a poached egg, bread and coriander. Also made from bread are the migas which accompany fried pork or shredded cod, for example.
On the coast, it’s worth trying fish fresh from the sea or other specialities, such as barnacles or dishes with clams, such as Alentejo-style pork.
Much appreciated and renowned as well are the cheeses from the three producing regions - Nisa, Serpa and Évora. These are sheep’s or goat’s cheeses, which may be dry, half cured or creamy, and they combine extremely well with the wines from the Alentejo demarcated region, such as the reds from Portalegre, Borba, Redondo, Reguengos, Vidigueira and Moura. However, if you are keen to know them, the best would be to follow the Alentejo Wine Route.
At the end, there will still be room to delight yourself with a dessert - you can even take a gastronomic tour of them! In Évora, you will discover pão de rala (sweet made with eggs, sugar and angel hair), toucinho-do-céu (sugar and egg yolk sweet, originally made with lard), morgados (small cakes made with sugar, almond, eggs, angel hair and pumpkin) and queijadas (cheese cakes); in Alcácer do Sal, you must taste pinhoada (pinenut-based sweet); and in Beja, trouxas-de-ovos (sugar and yolk-based “egg bundles”), Santa Clara pastries, tosquiados (cakes made with egg whites, sugar and dried fruits) and curd cheese cakes are a must.
But there’s still the Vidigueira almond cake, the Vila Viçosa tibornas (cakes made with eggs, sugar, almonds and pumpkin) and filhós enroladas (light pastry fritters), the Monforte toucinho rançoso (a dense, wet almond and pumpkin-based cake), the Castelo de Vide boleimas (cake made with an unleavened bread dough with sugar, apple jam and nuts), the Sines areias (small, dry cakes made with eggs, sugar, pumpkin and almond), the Monforte honey cakes, the Crato mimosos (round cakes topped with meringue), the Avis cavacas (small iced, brandy-flavoured cakes)… And if you pass through Elvas or Vila Viçosa, you will not be able to resist sericaia. It is a truly Alentejo dessert, which combines eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon to perfection and, if you’re lucky, has been baked on a tin dish, as tradition has it. It is accompanied with one or two juicy Elvas prunes dripping with syrup.
Although this is good advice for the whole country, in Alentejo eating with the seasons seems to make more sense, since the freshness of the produce brings out the flavours and secrets of the traditional gastronomy.
While in summer grilled fresh fish and seafood from the coast tastes good and cold gazpacho is refreshing, in winter you can take comfort from fried pork with migas. In spring, bread soup and lamb casserole or river fish are just right. And in autumn, sausages and game dishes, such as rabbit, partridge or boar, deserve pride of place.
The truth is that you will always be welcome in an Alentejo home, because the table is forever set for friends and good conversation always goes with a bite to eat.
The Cuisine of the Algarve
The very freshest fish and seafood come from the sea, and are the main ingredients in the Algarve cuisine. They are joined by vegetables and fruits whose flavours the sun has made sublime, and their combination provide the elements for a dining experience that you will never forget.
Start with what the ocean provides. Seafood: clams, oysters, donax clams and cockles cooked on a griddle or in a frying pan are delicious. Some plain barnacles on a beach on the Vicentina coast, razor clam rice, whelk bean stew, clam xerém (stew with maize meal) and seafood açorda (bread casserole) are other examples to make the mouth water. One much sought-after recipe is for clams in a cataplana, a traditional dish whose secret is in using this clam-shaped copper pan of Arab origin, which retains all the flavour and aroma of the food cooked in it. To stimulate the palate, there’s nothing better than a pinch of salt from the region, especially the "cream" of the salt – salt flower. In addition to the many restaurants where you can taste these specialties in the summer, there are seafood festivals in Olhão and Faro, near Ria Formosa, where it is most abundant.
But any fresh fish, slowly grilled to perfection over charcoal, the way the fishermen do it, can be a veritable food of the gods. There are other dishes such as carapaus alimados (skinned horse mackerel) and grilled sardines that you can eat everywhere but which have a special reputation in Portimão. They’re delicious dripping on bread or accompanied with a montanheira salad, made with tomato and oregano to add that special taste. From tuna steak or on a skewer in Tavira, to octopus, which in Santa Luzia is cooked in various ways - stewed in wine, breaded, grilled, with rice or simply baked in the oven – as well as the delicious squid and cuttlefish, the Algarve is the expert in these menus.
In the barrocal, the transition zone between the mountains and the coast, the cuisine is different, with meat being more predominant, like galinha cerejada (braised chicken), cozido de grão (boiled meats and chickpeas), and the sausages that in São Brás de Alportel and Querença have fairs and festivals in their honour. Here agriculture is one of the main activities, and the trees, whose fruit is indispensable in the manufacture of liqueurs and traditional sweets, add a unique beauty to the fields when they are in blossom, the almond tree in February being one of the emblematic images of the Algarve.
While oranges are eaten by themselves or drunk as juice, almonds, figs and carob are used in the much sought-after sweets. Like the dom rodrigos (egg and almond sweets) wrapped in colourful tinfoil, the morgados (small cakes made with sugar, almond, eggs, angel hair and pumpkin), usually decorated with regional motifs and almond blossom, and marzipan, the hard almond paste cakes in the most varied fruit and vegetable shapes. There are other specialties not to be missed, too, such as stuffed figs, cheeses and fig truffles. Medronho or fig brandy and bitter almond liqueur are excellent digestives at the end of a good meal.
In fact the best of the Algarve is served at the table. Whether on a simple beach terrace or in the finest restaurants led by world-renowned Chefs, it’s an experience not to be missed, and to be repeated many times!
The Gastronomy of the Azores
Gourmets delight in the many traditional recipes of Azorean cuisine. Here, fish and seafood abound, so those who appreciate a delicious fish straight from the sea will find a paradise in the Azores.
Grilled, in bouillabaisses or soups, fish is cooked in a variety of ways. But make sure you taste tuna which, in these waters, has a pink hue and a soft flavour and texture, is slightly salty and is still caught by hook and line. Or octopus which is mostly appreciated stewed in aromatic wine. The Azores have seafood that is not found anywhere else, such as limpets, barnacles and locust lobsters, a kind of tender and tasty lobster which is almost a sin not to try.
As for meat, there are some typical Azorean dishes, such as cozido das Furnas, unique for being cooked under the ground, harnessing the heat that the earth retains in that part of the Island of S. Miguel. At the right time, you can watch the preparation of the meal by the lagoon. On the Island of Terceira, the focus is on alcatra (fish or beef casserole), well-seasoned as tradition demands, and on the other islands there are several variations on the recipe for yam with sausage.
The bolo lêvedo (leavened cake) from Furnas is also very popular, and goes well with any meal, by itself or with butter or jam. Or with Azores honey, a Protected Designation of Origin product, owing its high quality to the diversity and richness of the flora.
Amongst desserts, the pineapple has pride of place with its bittersweet taste and very pleasant aroma, and the sweets, of course. Sweet bread, Santa Maria cavacas (sugar-coated biscuits), Vila Franca do Campo queijadas (cheese cakes), donas-amélias (honey cupcakes) and sugar-paste cakes from Terceira, Faial Fofas (fennel-based pastries stuffed with cream), Graciosa queijadas, covilhetes de leite (custard tarts)… it’s almost impossible to list them all. What they share is quality and the affection devoted to their making.
Naturally, given the wide range and tradition of dairy production in the Azores, the islands manufacture various milk products, with a special focus on cheese. The most famous is São Jorge. A whole cheese weighs 8 to 12 kilos, and has a strong character, helped by its spicy flavor. It is made from raw cow’s milk and salt, is yellowish in colour and has a hard or semi-hard consistency, according to how many months it has matured. São Miguel boasts a variety of cheeses, all of different textures and flavours. Graciosa cheese is spicy, with a yellowish colour and a brittle texture. Pico produces a creamy, soft cheese, dense in texture. From Corvo, you get a cheese with a very active flavour, and a semi-fatty, semi-hard consistency. Terceira cheeses are buttery, fresh and mature. And the popular Flamengo comes from Faial.
However, you cannot taste these specialties without the regional wines. Although the verdelho wine is the most well-known, there are others, like the reds and whites from Pico, Santa Maria and Terceira, to accompany your meal. On the latter island, vineyards are predominant at Biscoitos, where you can visit the local museum. There are also passion fruit and pineapple liqueurs to finish off your meal.
Being a land of great religious traditions, the Azores offer a special bill of fare associated with the Holy Spirit festivities. This includes Holy Spirit soup, cozido, alcatra, table bread, unkneaded bread, and sweet bread accompanied by aromatic wine.
The Island of São Miguel is the only tea-producing place in Europe. Plantations have existed on the island since the 19th century, and tea processing has remained unchanged for over two centuries, making it an ecological product, free of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. Green tea from the Azores is the most popular, although black tea is also produced in different varieties. A good suggestion to end you meal or start your day.
The simple cuisine of the Madeira Archipelago portrays the soul of a simple, yet generous people.
Here, the cuisine excels in the traditional and the modern, in a creative subtlety between the various high quality regional products, which enables a diversified menu of gastronomic specialities to be prepared, from regional dishes through to international and gourmet cuisine.
Right in the Atlantic, the fish such as black scabbard fish fillets and tuna steak, is tasty, and is prepared in the traditional way, accompanied by crunchy fried corn. The octopus and seafood, including limpets, periwinkles and many others, is also delicious.
As for meat, the most traditional dish is the famous beef kebab on a bay stick, which gives it an unmistakable flavour. Home-made couscous, wheat soup and wine- and garlic-marinated beef are also highly sought after.
In Madeira, a land of exceptional climate, there is a wide variety of crops, including sugar cane and tropical fruits (from the much appreciated bananas to pineapple, avocado pear, custard apple, mango and passion fruit), which are also used in drinks and delicate desserts.
The famous Madeira wine, made from more than 30 grape varieties, the best of which are Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia, is drunk as an aperitif or a digestive, and is perfect to accompany the traditional (sugar cane) honey cake. It is also from sugar cane that the famous poncha brandy is made, prepared with honey and lemon, to be tasted when you climb to the Areeiro Peak.
The bolo do caco is a must. Only this is not a cake, but bread baked on a piece of tile which usually accompanies kebabs with garlic butter. Bread in Madeira is also made from yam: the delicious small ring-shaped yam loaves. Queijadas cheese cakes and the fennel boiled sweets are also in great demand.
Come and enjoy Madeira’s delicacies, which will surely make your stay a memorable one. Combine the pleasure of socialising with the pleasure of tasting!