Along with your Bon Appetit Culinary Center chef, immerse yourself in the magic and lore of Maderian wines, foods and culinary traditions. Your tour includes a Madeira wine tasting, visit to the abundant town open market and pub lunch of traditional island fare.
You'll first meet with your Bon Appetit Culinary Center chef in the cooking school to review the day's tour and learn the highlights of Madeira's wines and cuisine. You'll receive your complimentary market bag for the ingredients you'll find shopping today and use in the afternoon hands-on cooking class.
Together with your chef, you'll meet the culinary guide and head off to the center of Funchal and the Old Blandy Wine Lodge. Once at the lodge, you'll have a guided tour of this 17th century monastery and learn about the famous Madeira wines. As you stroll amongst the large oak and mahogany casks, you'll learn about the unique 'canteiro' system for aging this wine that is steeped in tradition. You'll also visit a museum on the traditions of Madeira wine making, including original letters from one of the wines most ardent fans, Winston Churchill. At the conclusion of the lodge and museum tour, you'll sample various aged Madeira wines with local nibbles.
From here, you will cross the heart of this enchanting harbor town on foot, to the bustling fresh fish and produce market, Mercado dos Lavradores . One of the most magnificent markets in Europe, this two story stone building with high ceilings and skylights hosts stalls abundant with tropical flowers, colorful produce, exotic spices and freshly-caught fish. You'll see the Espada Preta (or Black Skabbard), a uniquely prehistoric-looking fish found only off Madeira's shores.
After a tour of the market , shopping and some free time, you'll stroll down the picturesque cobblestone street Ria Santa Maria, to the Old Town of Funchal. The doors along the Ria are decorated as beautiful paintings, the result of an art initiative in Funchal. Along the way you will stop at a local bar for the most popular drink on the island, Poncha. You'll learn how to use the Pau da Pancha, a wooden stick used to blend the ingredients properly. After sampling Pancha, you'll stop for lunch at a lively local restaurant and partake of local favorites and a glass of local wine.
After lunch, you will return to the ship where the ingredients you purchased at the market will be waiting for your 60-minute hands-on cooking class. You'll review the techniques and dishes you sampled today, and master three traditional dishes, Espetada (meat skewers laced with island bay, grilled Madeira flatbread and Madeira honey cake.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of easy to moderate walking/standing plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. There will be some cobblestone surfaces to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing that should include a warm jacket; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The noted tour duration is approximate and includes your classroom session aboard the ship.