AFTER ALL, WHAT MAKES MADEIRA SO SPECIAL?
The island of Madeira is only 741 km2 in area, 57 km long and 22 km wide. Small in size, but immense in its beauty. It is no coincidence that it is called the “Pearl of the Atlantic”. Between the blue of the sea and the emerald green of the vegetation, in what is the largest laurel forest in the world, the speckled and exotic coloring of the flowers stands out. The island transmits a unique serenity and tranquility, as if we were in a paradise; but it hides within itself a wealth of knowledge and flavors, simply divine.
We unveil just a few of its secrets, but to feel Madeira you must really visit the island. Feel its smells, live with its people, get lost in its unique nature.
Its Green and its Flowers
The name “Madeira” originates from the huge and dense forests that presented themselves to the eyes of the discoverers when they first arrived on the island in 1420. With the arrival of each spring, Madeira is reborn with new flowers, of all colors and sizes in a simply enchanting splash of colors. Its luxuriant vegetation, which combines tropical and Mediterranean characteristics amidst a laurel forest, hides in its meanders the ancient levadas, created for the transport of water. Today, they serve as inspiration for walks totally immersed in Nature, in moments of complete delight and deep connection.
Its Colorful Traditions
Everything in Madeira is bursting with color. Even its culture and traditions. The first memory we have when we talk about the island’s customs is the famous Bailinho da Madeira, which can be sung or danced. But it doesn’t stop there, the Madeirans like music: the charamba and the mourisca and the many folklore groups with violas, guitars, frautas, rabis and bagpipes that join the strong sound of drums and bombos. Not forgetting the traditional costumes, full of meaning.
In addition to the music, we also have traditions that are very much alive with some of the elements of the island’s economic history, such as linen and wheat cultivation, viticulture, and Madeira embroidery.
Photo Credit: visitmadeira
The menu is vast and very diverse and everyone surrenders to the simplicity of a bolo do caco with garlic butter accompanied by a passion fruit Brisa. It only has this flavor when we are on the island.
The island’s food is based on rural customs, and maintaining the traditional cooking methods makes it even tastier. One of Madeira’s most famous dishes is the traditional Espetada, with cubes of sirloin seasoned with garlic and salt, roasted on a spit over a wood fire. Accompanied by fried corn, it is simply divine. If meat is the queen, fish also has a special place due to the ancestral fishing tradition. Tuna, black scabbardfish, codfish, skipjack, (a local fish that is cooked like codfish), and fillets are among the most consumed. A tip: Swordfish with Banana.
It wouldn’t be a complete menu without desserts. We highlight the Queijadas – small cakes made of curd cheese, eggs and sugar; the Bolo de Mel and the Broas de Mel or the Passion Fruit Pudding
If you prefer to keep the line, you can choose from tropical fruits, from the appreciated banana, to pineapple, avocado pear, custard apple, mango, and passion fruit.
To go along with it, you can’t leave Madeira without trying its traditional Poncha and its wines.
1st Photo Credit: Sapo Viagens
2nd Photo Credit: Paulo Camacho
The people of Madeira are welcoming and friendly. They are proud of their island and are always celebrating life. The festivities throughout the year are special moments for this sharing with those who visit them, welcoming them with the best traditional flavors of the gastronomy and in a unique party atmosphere. Highlights include the Carnival parades, the Flower Festival, the Atlantic Festival, and, above all, the fireworks display at the end of the year.
To make it even better understood, we leave you with some of its expressions:
“Where there is a machiqueiro, there is an engineer” (ability to overcome obstacles, attributed to the inhabitants of Machico.)
“From the East to the rain goes a flea jump” (speaks of the instability of the weather)
“From São Vicente, neither a good wind not a good marriage”.
Photo Credit: Hugo Reis
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