Let’s get to know this Fajã dos Padre place.
Named after the Jesuit priests who founded the vineyard in 1595, Fajã dos Padres has been in the Jardim Fernandes family for three generations. They were the ones to discover the sole-surviving malvasia vine, and now produce single-vineyard Malmsey on site. It’s not just vines: bananas, figs, avocados, mangos, courgettes, squash, sweet potato and passionfruit and a whole manner of other fruit and vegetables grow in profusion and supply the small restaurant by the jetty and the pebbled beach. There you can eat traditional Madeiran dishes like peixe espada com banana – battered black scabbardfish served with fresh vegetables and a fried banana – a surprisingly enjoyable combination.
Most spend a day on the pebbled beach, swimming in the surf and enjoying the peace, but people can stretch the stay in paradise a little bit longer by staying over in one of nine carefully restored workers’ cottages for two, with vine-shaded patios and windows offering sunset views.