In English,Maa Country Land,Yleinen

Madeira (in English)

15.03.2017, travelfood

Madeira is a flourishing Portuguese island, where flowers indeed blossom on both the ground, in bushes and in trees. The highlight of your Madeira trip is probably a long levada walk (levadas are water channels along the hillsides and they work also as trekking paths) with views towards gorges, terrace cultivation, gardens and forests resembling of jungles. Weather is moist and warm almost all year. The capital city Funchal is built by the Atlantic along a mountain slope and you will find lots of steep streets and narrow alleys there.

The exotic fruits of Madeira are pressed to sweet juice, ice-cream or irresistible bakery. The kirimoija fruit and anona fruit is white and juicy and it actually tastes a bit like strawberries and vanilla custard! The Portuguese green wine, vinho verde, is good with almost all dishes, and at the end of the meal you might wish to taste sweet Madeira wine, of which there are many different options in the restaurant depending on age or sweetness. The Poncha drink has aguardante brandy in it along with lemon juice and honey. And if that is not exotic enough, I can recommend the Nikita drink, which contains pineapple crush, ice-cream, wine and beer! Yes, you read right, and the combination works surprisingly well!

Typically, a Madeiran dish contains fish or seafood. If you order caramajos, you will have a plate with about 100 small marinated shellfish, and you drag the meat from them with small tooth-picks like snails. Tuna is almost always offered. On the menu, there are three dishes with similar names: espadarte is swordfish, whilst espada is a big, ugly eel-like black fish, with delicious white meat. These should not be confused with espetada, which is marinated and grilled beef cubes on a skewer turned upside down. For street food lunch I recommend bolo de caco, which is a garlic bread with fillings of your choice, for example bacon or cheese.

The Madeirans are both friendly and proud, and you get the feeling that things will get done with them. They respect tourism and are not afraid of speaking English. Some taxi drivers might talk levada tourists waiting for a bus to take a taxi to their levada starting point instead of the bus. They might claim that parts of the levada is temporarily closed or difficult to find or reach, in order to make a taxi ride more attractive than the local bus. If you wish to go on a levada walk, you should indeed find out details about the route in advance, and also prepare for surprising rain showers.

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