|Statue of something -- four men hunting a T-rex? -- in front of the cable car station|
So a Madeira wine tour it is:
In Porto, I toured a Port wine cellar. So in Madeira, I toured a Madeira wine maker. The tour consisted of looking at barrels:
Lots and lots of barrels:
Facetiousness aside, I did learn the key differences between Madeira wine and port from Port. First, port is aged in cellars. Madeira is aged in attics, so it is gently "cooked" by the warmth of the attic. Port digs the cool. Second, Madiera is made almost exclusively with white grapes, while port can be made with either (but in America our port is almost always red). Finally, those barrels. Port is aged in French oak and the barrels are eventually sent to Scotland for a second life as whiskey vessels. Madeira? Good old American oak! Drink Madeira and MAGA! And those American oak barrels never get too old for wine.
We also got to see archaic machinery that is no longer used:
This is part of the tour group. As with the port tour in Porto, the tour group was mostly Brit.
Finally, the tour ended with a tasting.
The best part,
A little more wandering the town before supper, This is the fort:
It's now a sunbathing (and ocean swimming) spot for people in swimwear who you never wanted to see in swimwear. (I would've fit right in.)
The fort is in a bit of disrepair.
But, fortunately for Madeira, the disrepair is a function of the fact that it really hasn't needed to be used as such for a couple hundred years. Time for supper.
I didn't supper-blog the previous night's supper because it was only OK:
Scabbard fish with banana. Or, as I like to call it, A Perfect Day for Bananafish. Ask J.D. Salinger if you don't catch the allusion.
Dinner tonight, my final dinner in Funchal, my final dinner of this vacation extravaganza adventure, was the Mozart:
I opted for the multi-course special. Three courses and unlimited house wine for 39 euro. The starter appetizer was gratis:
A very tasty herbed cheese dip, served with what tasted suspiciously like an original flavor Dorito. I'm not complaining. It was good.
Next was the appetizer:
The Beethoven! Which, as you expect from the name, is a "carpaccio" of octopus. Served with some more of Mozart's fave, Doritos. The octopi were swimming in an ocean of balsamic vinegar. Out of this frickin' world amazing.
They were out of grouper so I couldn't get the main course I wanted, the Berwald, which was a combo plate of grouper and salmon and prawns. So I settled for the John Field, sea bass and clams.
I don't know who Berwald or John Field is, so the substitution was delicious. And because I'm a philistine, I had the house red. Plenty of the house red. The staff at the Mozart were quicker on the wine glass refills than a normal restaurant is with the water or iced tea.
Next was the palate cleanser, some drinkable orange sherbet:
Then the Madeira course:
A very welcome course. Last up was dessert. Because it was summertime, and the living was easy, I opted for the Gershwin:
A passion fruit souffle, with a side of passion fruit ice cream. Yes, it was a symphony of flavor. Why do you ask?
The meal went on and on and on and on, But at some point, the Mozart staff stopped refilling the wine glasses and it was time to stumble back to the hotel through the dark streets of Funchal.
And that concludes the vacation blogging for Portugal 2017. It's time to fly home.