Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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Madeira, Portugal - 6 nights
Available year round


Discover how Madeira’s unique climate and soil contribute to the unrivalled distinctiveness of Madeira Wine. You will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the hand-grown vines, planted in small plots of land on terraces supported by stone walls along the slopes of the mountains. Spend six nights on a beautiful island learning how to cook with this precious wine, take guided walks and excursions and immerse yourself in this magical place!

The production process and the grape varieties used have made Madeira wine unique. Chosen to celebrate the independence of the United States on July 4, 1776, praised by Shakespeare in his plays and admired by monarchs, princes, generals and explorers, Madeira wine is certainly a treasure, not only because of its unique quality, but also because of the fascinating methods involved in its production, such as the growing of the grapes, the harvesting of the vines and the transformation of the grapes into wine at the wine cellars.


You will have the unique opportunity to learn about this special wine and will return home with recipes that can be easily replicated at home for family and friends.






DAY ONE - Monday


Upon your arrival you will be transferred to the Cooking School/Manour House by private bus. Enjoy free time before a welcome reception with a glass of Madeira Wine.


This Manour House, situated 820 meters above sea level, offers a unique and exquisite setting in communion with nature, and invites you to rest and renew energy, in a quiet and relaxing way. Along the leafy gardens there is an indoor heated sweetwater pool, where you can also relax in the Jacuzzi, enjoy a massage in our Spa, attend the gym overlooking the gardens or take a sauna.


All rooms offer sea or garden views from their balconies. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, cable TV, minibar and private bathroom. The Manour House restaurant offers international and biological cuisine, where you can enjoy an environment luxury and personalized service, with a magnificent view over the valley and the sea in the background. It also has two bars, one located in the old Quinta building and the other on the porch of the indoor pool.


In the old Quinta building you can find a games room with billiards, heated by a fireplace, and a library where you can relax reading a book or a newspaper.


Discover The Legends of the Quinta - It is said that the one that comes to the Quinta and embraces the eucalyptus, will find the eternal love! About The Legend of the Emperor - It is said in these surroundings, that in 1815, Napoleon and Josephine were here. The Quinta was well known because of its legendary gardens, which were characterized by exquisite labyrinths of boxwood and the vigorous camellias, which can still be appreciated in the so-called "gardens of the Manor House".  Knowing that Josephine liked to stroll in these gardens, which reminded her of times of the splendor and glory that she had known in France.


DAY TWO - Tuesday


After breakfast, your journey begins with a invitation from the Chef to visit the local market in Funchal – Mercado dos Lavradores. The municipal market, known as the Farmers’ Market, which is very near the old Santa Maria neighbourhood.A fantastic market tour full of colors and redolent with the perfume of beautiful flowers. Birds of paradise, orchids, king proteas, roses, anthuriums and camellias are displayed and sold by the sprightly flower sellers wearing brightly coloured regional costumes. On the upper floor there are tropical fruits, exotic vegetables and spices, while fish and meat are on sale on the lower floor.

After lunch, you will return to the Manour House for your first cooking lesson with Madeira Wine. A creative cuisine that uses fresh products from the island, selected by the Chef who carefully combines them with the regional elements of Madeira's gastronomy. 


DAY THREE - Wednesday


Breakfast. Today your second lesson will begin with an introduction to Madeira Wine. With a wine expert, you will learn about:


The grape varieties which are most used in the production of Madeira Wine are Sercial, Verdelho, Boal, Malvasia and Tinta Negra

Types of Madeira Wine / The Year of Harvest and the indication of its age

The production process / Degree of Richness / Colour / History / Serving


It is appreciated all over the world and has more than five centuries of history. Just think about the Madeirans’ constructive spirit over the centuries, visible in the hand-tilled vineyards on small plots of land called poios (terraces), sometimes clinging to the mountain sides. There are more than 30 Madeira wine grape varieties, though the best are Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia. Conneisseurs of this ‘art’ should come to Madeira in September to see and participate in the Madeira grape harvest and its festival, a tribute to this age-old product that is recognized worldwide. Lunch in Funchal at Café do Museu.


There are many places to visit in this 500-year old city, several of which are unmissable…

The best way to visit the Funchal’s historic city centre is to do it by foot. The tour begins at the Gothic Cathedral, built in the 16th century. Upon entering, look up to admire the precious alfarge ceiling (an Iberian decorative multiform style) in cedar wood carved in the Mudejar style. Visit also the Collegiate Church, whose sober facade hides an interior rich in 17th century gilt woodwork, altar pieces and tile panels.


On the opposite side of the Largo do Município, in the former Bishop's Palace, is the Museum of Sacred Art, the core of whose collection is Flemish art of the 15th and 16th centuries, evidence of the trade contacts with Flanders, to which sugar cane grown on the island was sold. Tasting this and other local flavours at the Farmers' Market provides plenty to occupy the senses: from exotic fruits to traditional delights such as bolo de mel (honey cake), you mustn’t forget also the craft shops, the flower sellers wearing traditional costumes and the lively fishmongers’ stalls.

Quinta das Cruzes is one of the largest “Quintas “with historic tradition in the bay of Funchal, linked to the family of the first Donatory Captain in the late fifteenth, early sixteenth century. A small building, started by Joao Goncalves Zarco (1425-1467?), was increased by his son João Gonçalves da Câmara. This house remained in the family until the mid seventeenth century, moving through marriage alliances, to the Lomelino family until the late nineteenth century.


Go on to the old town, to the São Tiago Fort, which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art. Find out the most appreciated products in the region in the Embroidery and Wine Museums. Here you can learn all about the beautiful pieces of delicate lace, and the fortified wine that gained fame in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was highly appreciated in the European courts.


To finish our tour, we suggest a visit to the village of Camacha, just nine kilometres from Funchal, well known for its wicker crafts and folklore. A highlight is the traditional dance of the region - the animated "Bailinho da Madeira", whose rhythm is marked by the "brinquinho", a curious piece of handicrafts made of castanets, ribbons and wooden figures. You can see a live performance while you have dinner in a typical restaurant, savouring gastronomic specialties like kebabs on bay sticks with fried maize. Delicious!


Return to the Manour House for your second Cooking Lesson you will prepare your dinner with the Chef. 


DAY FOUR - Thursday


Today the focus of our last cooking lesson is on the traditional recipes and flavours of Madeira. Here you will find typical regional dishes made from the highest quality ingredients. Thanks to its close contact with the sea, Madeira offers excellent seafood and fresh fish dishes. Limpets, octopus, shrimp, tuna steaks and scabbard fish fillets are just some of the local delicacies. You must try traditional regional dishes like tuna steak and fried cornbread or the delicious grilled beef on a laurel spit accompanied with sweet potatoes bread "bolo do caco". Other traditional foods are home-made couscous, home baked sweet potato bread and marinated pork. Fruit lovers will really think they are in heaven! Tropical fruits like mangoes, bananas, avocadoes, custard apples and passion fruits are abundant and their exotic flavours are the perfect end to a meal, either fresh or in a pudding, mousse or ice cream. For the sweeter tooth, there is a rich variety of sweets. The most traditional are honey cake and honey corn cakes made with the richest ingredients such as spices and sugarcane honey. Cheesecakes and fennel candy are also highly appreciated. There is also a wide selection of drinks.


Exotic fruit juices such as passion fruit, papaya, guava. The celebrated "poncha" made with sugarcane rum, honey and lemon and the famous Madeira wines, which can be served as aperitifs or savoured with a coffee, are also an excellent choice. After enjoying lunch you have prepare, this afternoon we will do a guided tour to Funchal. A walk through the city’s quiet streets along the beautifully-patterned stone pavements, visit the magnificent gardens, go shopping, or simply savour some unique moments sitting on the terraces of the city’s charming cafés. Buy one of Madeira’s exquisite embroidered articles, which range from small handkerchiefs to the traditional and beautiful tablecloths, all of them genuine works of art.


Dinner at a gourmet restaurant with a covered and open terrace offers you the atmosphere of the mild Madeiran evening with an outstanding view over Funchal.


DAY FIVE - Friday


A romantic visit to the hilltop village in Madeira. After breakfast departure to Monte, is small village perched up in the hills overlooking Funchal, 6 km away from the centre of the capital, was formerly a health resort for Europe's high society. There are several words synonymous to Monte and ‘toboggan ride’ is surely one of them! Originally a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people living in Monte, these toboggan sledges appeared around 1850. Still in use today, they attract thousands of tourists every year who want to make this exciting experience of sliding at high speed on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal. These two-seater wicker sledges glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men traditionally dressed in white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. The downhill journey to Funchal is made in about 10 minutes on a total course of 2 km, reaching at times a speed of 48 km/hour. Adventurous, yet safe, an ‘old-fashioned’ toboggan ride to make your way down from Monte. Don’t miss out on it!


Magical guided walks! Lunch at a historical Manour House, beautifully located in the hills above Funchal, this 17th century Quinta with panoramic tropical gardens and centuries old trees and plants. To learn a little more about the history of the emperor’s Charles I, go along to the Quinta that bears his name and stop to have tea in the beautiful Malakof Garden while basking in the tranquillity and beauty. From the strikingly beautiful Malakof Tower you will get a fine view of the landscape from Monte to Funchal. The Madeira Botanical Gardens have become Madeira Island's most treasured and certainly most famous attraction. Within an area of 80,000 square metres you will encounter a truly fascinating collection of more than 2500 plant species. Dinner in Funchal.


DAY SIX - Saturday

Breakfast and departure to Camara de Lobos. This city is about 7 km from Funchal and is an important fishing center in the archipelago. When João Gonçalves Zarco, the first donee of Funchal, sailed into the cove at Câmara de Lobos in 1419, he gave it this name because he found a large number of sea lions (lobos marinhos) there. On his first trip to Madeira in 1950, Winston Churchill, one of the island’s most famous and distinguished visitors, was enchanted by this picturesque bay. The scenery, scattered with skiffs, nets and dried bonito, is typical of the fishermen’s daily life.


The village of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is the largest area of Madeira wine vineyards. It is also here that the entertaining live grape harvests take place in September as part of the Madeira Wine Festival. This festival is held when the grape harvest begins all over the island. It recreates ancestral Madeiran habits dating back to the time of the first settlers. Don’t leave without trying the local specialty, chestnut liqueur, not to mention the chestnut bread, cake and soup.


Farewell dinner at Adega da Quinta, serving Madeira´s typical country food. It´s in the perfect position for stunning views over the coast. Close by is the original wine cellar with barrels of Madeira Wine, "ginga" and local brandy in a restored stone house.


DAY SEVEN - Sunday

After breakfast, private transfer back to the airport.






A minimum of 3 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 6 participants.


(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)






Closest Airport: Madeira International Airport. The Manour House is about 45 minutes from Madeira International Airport and about half an hour from Funchal center.


*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.



2017 Fees Per Person


Double Room/US$3450

*No single supplement


*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation


After availability is confirmed, a non-refundable deposit of US$1000 per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.

2017 Dates

Available year round.


*One (1) introductory lesson about Madeira Wine
*Three (3) cooking lessons
*All meals with wines
*Six (6) nights' accommodation
*Transfers to and from Funchal airport
*English speaking guide
*All wine tastings and guided tours


Not Included: Airfare, insurance, additional excursions not outlined in itineraries, personal expenses (extra wines, alcoholic beverages and purchases), phone calls, faxes, laundry services, passport and visa fees and in most cases, tips and gratuities (unless otherwise noted on specific itinerary).

For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.



References furnished upon request

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This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE. 




*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.

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"It was an absolutely marvelous week. The accommodations were superb. I loved the course, the host, and the Chambre d'Hote which is a lovely country house equipped with everything one could possibly need. I was incredibly pleased to when dealing with AGH. All in all, a fantastic experience that I hope to be able to repeat, perhaps in Italy next time." Anita D., Encinitas, California

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