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Quinta do Estreito
Photos, history, restaurants and review
Article added on April 21, 2012

The history of Quinta do Estreito

Quinta do Estreito, situated 400 meters above sea level, used to be the center of an impressive 50,000 square meter farmland and vineyard property, which covered a fifth of the Straits area. The house in a colonial style dates back to 1914. It was the summer house and center of the vineyard of the famous family Veiga França, who lived in Funchal. They were among the richest citizens of Madeira, producing an important quantity of grapes (e.g. Negra Mole) for the winemakers of the area.

At Quinta do Estreito as well as in the entire Straits area, a large variety of grapes was and still is produced from sea level up to an altitude of roughly 600 meters. For 80 years, the Quinta served its original purpose and hosted exhibitions during the harvest festivals.

In addition to wine producing, Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is also well-known for the grapes growing higher up on the mountain as well as meat skewers (Espetada), meat sticks spiced with garlic, salt and Louro, an endemic plant.

After the Veiga França family had sold its Quinta in Estreito, an important part of the historic property was transformed in 1997 into a hotel. Today, it offers 48 rooms, including 2 suites, for a maximum of 96 guests. 8 rooms can be interconnected. 1 twin room is especially equipped for guests in a wheel chair. Quinta do Estreito re-opened as a hotel in 1999, owned by the Charming Hotels Madeira Group, with Quinta das Vistas as its flagship.

All 48 rooms at Quinta do Estreito face the Atlantic Ocean and offer balconies with a table and two chairs to enjoy the Madeira sun. The hotel has been decorated by Esboço design company from Madeira. All rooms feature oak-wood floors as well as a cupboard, bed, writing desk and chair all in oak too. The bathrooms are in an imported light marble. An artwork showing four separate flowers by Dan Hely, made in an edition of at least 48, hangs above all beds. Free wifi is offered in the lobby.

As at Quinta das Vistas, guests receive a bottle of Blandy's (in my case in March 2012, a bottle of Duke of Sussex, Dry Madeira), together with a Bolo de Mel honey cake as a welcome in their room. Drink the Brandy while you eat the cake, which is otherwise too dry. They complement each other nicely.



Bacchus Restaurant: typical Madeiran cuisine prepared by chef Lidia Freitas
  
Lidia Freitas (*1970) is the chef de cuisine at Bacchus, the fine dining restaurant at Quinta do Estreito. She is working under the supervision of Executive Chef Carlos Magno, who is responsible for the entire Charming Hotels Madeira group. Carlos Magno was the first chef at Bacchus. In 2002, he won Bacchus three forks with the Michelin guide and in 2005, the Charming Hotels were considered as having the best restaurant on the island of Madeira. He is mainly working at Quinta das Vistas.

Lidia Freitas first gained general experience at Hotel Santa Caterina in Santa Cruz, where they offered Madeiran cuisine, sometimes French and other menus, according to the guests.

At Restaurant Molhe from 1999 to 2001 gourmet restaurant in the city center of Funchal, she worked with Carlos Magno. She was in a position below the sous-chef, working in all section of the kitchen. The restaurant offered international cuisine and had a excellent reputation at the time. Today, Molhe has different owners, chefs and a different cuisine..

In 2002, Lidia Freitas became sous-chef at Bacchus. In fact, she is the chef since Carlos Magno cooks at Quinta das Vistas. Lidia Freitas and Carlos Mango together elaborate the menus for Bacchus.

The restaurant features regional gourmet cuisine from Madeira. Typical dishes include Mackerel fish (chicharro) and regional pork filet marinated with a local red wine (enxurros), together with garlic and chestnut couscous. Other typical Madeiran dishes include chicken as well as cherry mousse; Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is famous for growing cherries. Another famous regional dessert is passion fruit, offered in different combinations.

Most of the ingredients used at Bacchus come from the island of Madeira, if possible even from the hotel garden, where they grow potatoes, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, aromatic herbs, pumpkins and more.

Madeiran cuisine is different from Continental Portuguese cuisine. For instance cooking times are longer and meat is marinated a few days before cooking, especially pork.

A vegetarian dinner at Bacchus

One of the two restaurants at Quinta do Estreito, Adega da Quinta, offers meat skewer (espetada), a local specialty of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. At least once a week, local Folklore groups dance and sing at Adega da Quinta. As a vegetarian, I opted for obvious reasons to test Bacchus restaurant.

Since November 2011, at Bacchus, they offer a special vegetarian men. In March 2012 for dinner, I tasted all the four main, vegetarian dishes.

I started with a Fita Azul Reserva Brut (classic method) by Borges Wines from the Dão region, an elegant aperitif that can be compared to a good Champagne from France.

Rolls with spinach and fresh cheese, wrapped up in razor thin puff pastry was my first dish, a solid one, since it was a main course. Grilled vegetables with fresh cheese (a Santoqueijo from Madeira) on a soy sauce and with aromatic herbs (garlic, savory, rosemary, etc.) were next. The following main course were spaghetti partly made of grape seeds and ginger. They were presented together with sautéed vegetables from Madeira, including pumpkins, carrots, pimpernel (during the season, it was include Portuguese mushrooms too). Lidia Freitas told me that the spaghetti were a kind typically made in Madeira. I prefer them a bit more al dente.

I chose a glass of light Rosé Atlantis, a Madeiran wine from 2010 with just 11% alcohol, made of Tinta Negra Grape, with the taste of red berries and a citrus acidity. Where the Champagne-like aperitif was excellent, the Rosé was more on the average side.

Clearly my favorite main dish came last, eggplants stuffed with couscous from Madeira and Provencal vegetables according to the season, including pumpkins and with sliced olives. Simply brilliant.

I could not resist tasting two desserts, a passion fruit and orange crêpe with a fresh cream (natas) ice cream, which was fine, and a brilliant sour cherry (pitanga) mousse with almond biscuit.

In short, if they should still be on the menu when you eat at Bacchus, go for the Fita Azul Reserva Brut, the stuffed eggplants and the cherry mousse, and you will be delighted!



What to do in the area

I walked down to the (former) fisher village Câmara de Lobos, which became famous in 1950 when Winston Churchill went there to paint while he stayed at Reid's Palace. In March 2012, Churchill Restaurant, which displays old photos of Churchill, was closed down. I looked through the windows and saw a place in desperate need of renovation. I have no clue when it will reopen.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese starting constructing aqueducts to carry water to their agricultural properties. From Quinta do Estreito, you arrive within 10 minutes at the beginning of Levada do Norte, one of the many irrigation canals, which span in total over 2100 km around the island of Madeira. The water for Levada do Norte comes from the Seixal river, situated at just over 1000 meters of altitude. With a length of 50 km, built from 1947 to 1952, Levada do Norte is the longest of all Madeiran aqueducts. It also has some tunnels. Starting near Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, the first 15 minutes of the walk are rather boring, but then you have a 30-minute walk along the irrigation canal around a narrow, relaxing valley, offering great views. As mentioned above, if you have more energy than me, just taking a two-hour afternoon walk from the hotel, there are 50 km of walkways along Levada do Norte.

Most guests staying at Quinto do Estreito rent a car, ready to explore the volcanic island, which enjoys a subtropical-Mediterranean climate and offers a colorful nature. For people without a car, the hotel offers several times a day a courtesy bus to Funchal and back as well as to Quinta das Vistas and the other properties of Charming Hotels Madeira. Taxis and public buses are also available just minutes from the hotel, where you can also find appreciated services such as a supermarket, a post office, several banks, a laundry service, etc.

Quinta do Estreito: Quinta do Estreito, Rua José Joaquim da Costa, 9325-034 Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, Madeira (a 15-minute drive from Funchal).

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Breakfast on the Quinta terrace. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


Adega da Quinta Restaurant, the hotel's grill restaurant. In the restored stone house the Quinta used to produce its wine. The old wine press is exposed in the garden. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


Wine barrels at the barbecue restaurant Adega da Quinta. Photos Copyright © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


The sitting area on the first floor of the historic Quinta building, which also features the so-called Vintage Bar. Typical drinks of the area include Poncho and Nikita. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


Quinta do Estreito seen from the pool bar. Breakfast and dinner at Bacchus restaurant are offered on the ground floor. The first floor features the Vintage Bar, the second the Library, where you can write letters and postcards inspired by the historic walls. Photos Copyright © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


A small part of the hotel garden, with the barbecue restaurant below. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


View of a bedroom, the with artwork by Dan Hely above the oak tree bed. All rooms are in the same design. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


View of the living room of one of the two suites. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira. - Books about Madeira from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de.


During the colder part of the year, the 14 x 7 meter pool is covered and heated. In summer imagine this area without the roof. The hotel also offers two saunas free of charge. Photos © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


View of Bacchus, the elegant fine dining restaurant with good service. The photo quality is just poor. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


The library on the second floor of the historic Quinta, where you can write your letters and postcards inspired by the 1914 walls. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira. - Books about Madeira from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de.


Inside view of the grill restaurant Adega da Quinta. In addition, just on the other side of the street, Quinta do Estreito owns a small bar. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira. - Books about Madeira from Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukAmazon.de.


The new building with the 48 rooms and suites and another part of the large hotel garden in the foreground. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.


The full view of the historic Quinta do Estreito. Photo © Quinta do Estreito / Charming Hotels Madeira.

Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
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