Madeira is a Portuguese island group situated in the North Atlantic Ocean and is Southwest of Portugal. The total population is around 260,000 and the capital is Funchal on the main island’s south coast and approximately 400 km north of Tenerife – loved our holiday there and looking forward to going again in December. Since 1976, the island clusters has been one of the two Independent areas of Portugal, the other one being the Azores situated to the Northwest. These island are the furthest region within the EU.
The Portuguese took made Madeira their own in 1419 by Portuguese sailors and they eventually settled in 1420. The cluster of islands is thought to be the first regional finding of the period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery which went from 1415 to 1542.
Madeira’s position makes the islands the warmest all year round. Winters are very mild and summers long with moderate heat and overnight it remains mild all year round.
There is archeological indication, founded on “carbon dated Scandinavian mice bones found on the islands and the following extinction of many bird species”, that 900 – 1030 AD the islands could have been visited by vikings. As early as 1339 there was indication that some of the Atlantic islands existed long before their official discovery and settlement. Around 1420 the first Portuguese settlers began colonising the cluster of islands.
‘the pearl of the Atlantic’
makes promises of fabulous holidays with fantastic scenery, serene ambience a wonderful mild climate and very colourful folk traditions and its fabulous, tempting “seductive” cuisine… Based on peasant traditions is found in the local foods. The locals feel the nearer you can get to the customary/old style cooking the better the food tastes. You will find a variety of meat dishes and also fish – fishing is very popular. We should not miss mentioning “picado”, which is a very popular food/dish, which is served in different sizes depending on how many people or guests you are feeding. Traditionally it comprises of pieces/small chunks of beef fried in a pan with garlic. Occasionally red peppers are added and the “Picado” is served in one big dish fenced by a wall of french fries. All guests eat from the same dish with a wooden fork or a toothpick (picar – pick). It suggests it is an easy dish to prepare for family an friends. Another popular dish is espetada – again chunks of beef rubbed with garlic, marinated in madeira wine, wine vinegar, olive oil with bay leaves then skewered and cooked on a grill over smouldering wood chips; but we have had beef two days running so opted for chicken tonight instead. Food influences in Madeira are Portuguese and the recipe I found for tonight is Portuguese and was found on a site promoting recipes from Madeira, and by the time I had realised it was too late and cooking had started. Orange Chicken (Frango Com Laranja)