Monday, 14 November 2016

Our Travels to Madeira Found us in the Sugar Cane Mill and Distillery

Anything to do with Distillery and you know who is interested!

The word 'distillery' and my husband's ears prick up immediately. And if you remember we visited the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery back in June.

Umm? I do wonder whether Malcolm had inside knowledge and this is the reason he chose for us to stay in Calheta on our Madeira visit?

In any case this is a must do when you visit Calheta!

Each Year April to May Non Stop - Sugar Cane Mill Calheta

Calheta´s Sugar Cane Mill works day and night from April to May
The sugar canes must be harvested within a few hours to stop them becoming dry.

Apparently labourers book to work here months in advance because the work in the mill pays well.
We visited in September but you can visit any time of the year and entrance is free..

There is a bus tour that takes you to the Sugar Cane Mill from the Hotel Saccharum, where we stayed. We did actually book ourselves on it.

However, the day before the tour was to take place we found the mill. Well we kind of stumbled upon it, on one of our Calheta walks. So we gave ourselves a tour round the Mill and 'unbooked' ourselves from the trip on our return to the hotel so that someone else could take our place on the bus.

The old steam engine has been in operation since 1894.

Being the first agricultural product in Madeira, I can understand the significance of the sugar cane mill.  This fabulous steam engine had been in operation for such a long time.  Malcolm, as you can see from the photographs, was in his element capturing all this machinery and its mechanisms.

Sugar cane in Honey Cake, Poncha, Aguardente

Sugar cane is responsible for many things, but the two things you will hear a lot about is the Honey Cake and Poncha and the sugar cane syrup which became a firm favourite of mine, as mentioned in my previous post!

The traditional honey cake known as 'Bolo de Mel's' produced in Calheta is, we're told, the best honey cake. :) As we were in Calheta, we were happy to agree with that.

The Poncha is prepared with sugar cane rum, honey and lemon juice. There is an old room in the Mill with shelves full of various aged bottles.

I loved the little cherubs who watched over the sugar cane mill!

A terrace with a pretty view

The terrace outside has plenty of tables and an undercover seating area out of the heat.  It is above the distillery so it has a pretty view, where you can relax a while with a refreshing poncha and maybe a piece of honey cake.

Now strangely enough I found the terrace whilst Malcolm enjoyed his time with the machinery!  No need to hide from the sun on this morning as it was a little overcast but still warm and the sun came through later as it mostly does in Madeira.

So where to next?

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