It’s November, and the smell of roasted chestnuts in Funchal and around the island makes you want to reach out and grab a bag of warm nuttiness. So, starting the month off we have the Chestnut Festival on the 1st and 2nd in Nuns Valley (Curral das Freiras). The versatility of the chestnut knows no bounds as it is used to create cakes and liqueurs. Music lovers will be enthralled with the V Madeira Piano Fest which includes performances from seven international pianists and takes place from the 2nd to the 10th at the Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias. Another annual favourite is the International Madeira Bridge Open, now in its twenty-second year and held at the Vidamar Resort Hotel in Funchal and will take place from the 4th to the 10th.
Food lovers will adore the ‘Stars Route,’ which is one of the most prestigious gastronomy events in Portugal and takes place between the 6th and 9th. Over one hundred Michelin star chefs will be attending the event hosted at Restaurante Il Gallo d’Oro, Hotel Cliff Bay, Funchal. Other attractions include show-cooking demonstrations and wine-tasting.
The 7th Sandokan Enduro Madeira Island, Mountain Bike competition, takes place on the 9th and 10th and has mountain bikers from all over the world cycling across some of the islands most arduous and beautiful countryside. On the 11th Saint Martin (Festa de São Martinho) is celebrated in style across the island. Although it is uncertain when his presence was first observed here in Madeira, tradition has it that on the eve of the festival the Madeirans enjoy a meal of baked codfish and sample the odd glass of wine or two.
The ever-popular Porto Santo half marathon (21 km) and the mini (10 km) marathon takes place on the 16th. Madeira is no slouch when it comes to wine, and the ‘Essence of Wine’ event on the 28th, 29th and 30th at the Madeira Congress Centre brings together both Madeiran and Portuguese vintners in this wine celebration event. Throughout the three days, there will be free wine tasting and show-cooking demonstrations.
Finishing off the month in style is the music, multimedia and digital art – Madeira Dig Festival from the 29th November to the 7th of December at both Quinta da Rochina and Mudas – Contemporary Art Museum in Calheta. This is ideal for all contemporary music and art lovers and those interested in something a little bit different.