Hidden European Food

Hidden Eurofood: Madeira

A country between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean with a very special cuisine! Despite being technically an Atlantic country, Portuguese cuisine has many Mediterranean influences. In the Portuguese cuisine, spices are mixed with a very high-quality seafood. In fact, spices include piri piri (small chilli peppers), cinnamon, vanilla, saffron and black pepper, but also garlic and herbs like parsley are widely used. The most consumed species of fish are the espada (black scabbardfish), bluefin tuna, white marlin, albacore and other ones. A very special fish recipe is the bacalhau, salted cod. Other dishes include caldo verde, a soup with potatoes and chunks of chouriço, a local spicy sausage. There is also a large variety of cheeses like the queijo da serra from the Serra da Estrada. Even the desserts are rich in spices like the arroz doce (rice pudding with cinnamon) and the caramel custard. This week we will talk about a very particular cuisine, the Madeira’s one!


Madeira is an archipelago situated in the north Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal. Madeira has a very renowned and special cuisine. The meat dishes include the espetada made with large chunks of beef rubbed in garlic, bay leaf, salt, marinated in Madeira wine, red wine vinegar and olive oil and grilled. Traditional is also the local bread called bolo do caco which usually accompanied dishes like the feijoada, carne de vinha d’alhos or açorda composed of thinly sliced bread with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, coriander and eggs. A very special pastry is called mel de cana, literally “sugarcane honey” and it is used to prepare Bolo de Mel, a sort of “Honey Cake”, traditionally broken into pieces by hand. Very famous are also Malasadas, a dessert prepared with egg-sized balls of yeast dough deep-fried in oil and coated with sugar. They are mainly consumed during the Carnival of Madeira.

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