Madeira: The Foodie Travel Guide

Travel Ideas

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Madeira is renowned for its awe-inspiring vistas, varied culture and warm climate… but how does the cuisine stack up? Take a peek at our top foodie picks from the island and look forward to a range of mouthwatering dishes…

Tomato & Onion Soup With Egg

It may sound a bit odd, but this classic starter is wildly popular in Madeira, and is usually served with a poached egg floating on top. Try this nutritious soup and see what all the fuss is about.

Carne de Vinha d’alhos

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Pork? Check. Garlic? Check? Plenty of wine? Check. This tasty and succulent meat is well-loved across Madeira and is most popular around Christmas time. Sounds good to us.

Madeira Wine

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Whether you prefer the smooth, dry variety for drinking on its own or the sweeter variety for enjoying with an indulgent dessert, Madeira wine is a must-try while holidaying on the island. Don’t forget to take a snap too (see above for inspiration!).

Tuna Steak

Traditionally served with fried maize, tuna steak is often eaten in Madeira and is considered a delicacy and an important addition to the local cuisine. Take a bite of the meaty fish while gazing out at stunning sea views – perfect.


Meat on a skewer – simple but tasty. The Portuguese variation usually consists of generous portions of grill-seared beef steak, which is then served with a variety of salads and a thick slice of artisan bread. Be sure to grab a plate while you’re in the area and tuck in as you watch the world go by.


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This fruity little number is best served tall on the rocks, making it the perfect thirst-quencher in such a warm climate. Traditional ingredients include lemon juice, sugar, honey, aguardente de cana and orange juice = yum.

Black Scabbard Fish

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Although the actual fish might look like something out of your wildest nightmares, this popular and authentic Madeiran dish is relatively healthy and is often served with fresh herbs and plenty of lemon. The accompaniment? Banana; freshly peeled and cut, dipped in flour and egg and then flash-fried to retain its flavour. A true taste sensation.

Passion Fruit Pudding

Looks pretty tempting, right? The dessert is regularly made across the island due to the abundance of the passion fruit, and can be served in the form of a set custard or a jelly-like substance. Mousses are also a much-loved after dinner treat, with exotic fruits being the main centrepiece of the puddings.

Bolo Do Caco

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With all this meat to eat, you’re going to need some carbs to go with it! Enter Bolo Do Caco,  a tasty Portuguese flatbread that is usually served with octopus, or as the basis for a hearty meat sandwich. With the main ingredient being sweet potato, it’s sure to be a tasty treat that you’ll enjoy with any meal.


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These little fellas are not for the fainthearted, however, if you dare eat them you’ll be treated to a taste like no other. The unusual seafood dish is usually served with lashings of garlic, butter and lemon, so the fishy taste can still be appreciated too. Bon appétit!

Bolo de Mel

This dense honey cake is the perfect accompaniment for a smooth glass of Madeira wine. Despite popular belief, this is the traditional island cake – not Madeira cake! – and is often made with molasses, nuts and spices.

Feeling inspired? Be sure to explore this beautiful island at your leisure. 

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