There's not a lot of info online about availability of vegan food in Madeira, so I'm posting here in the hope it'll find its way into Google and be useful to someone in the future.
@cherrivalentine and I visited last week and had a fabulous time.
Having spoken to various people who've been before & following a trip to portugal a couple of years ago; I felt it prudent to pack some essentials with me. The general consensus seems to be that there's nowhere to eat out. We went self catering so this didn't overly bother us.
I took non-liquid/paste/jel things to eat on the plane (such as nakd bars), then tofu, cheezly/scheese, fake meat and other things in my hold luggage that I assumed I wouldn't find when I arrived. In hindsight I'd also have taken some packets of ready made sauce/curry paste (indian, chinese etc), just to make meals easier. I'm lazy like that!
I'd recommend also taking pepper/salt/herbs/oil/ketchup etc in suitable portioned containers. Not because you won't find them on the island but because you'll end up buying full jars and not be able to take it home with you at the end.
In terms of things you can buy, I suggest you visit Funchal on the first day and stock up at Bio Locos. You'll probably want to go to Funchal at some point anyway for the cable car/toboggan (both worth doing). It's not a big town - you can walk from one side of the shopping district to the other in 10-15min.
Here's the hawl we got, costing about €85:
It included a couple of loaves of sourdough bread (the sesame seed was nicer than the plain) and this rather bizarre turd shaped thing:
(which thankfully tasted better than it looked). We ate it on bread, but you can probably cook it somehow.
They had fresh ravioli too, which was nicer than the stuff sold in the UK. We got a few things which I wouldn't recommend, like a big bag of chocolate biscuits that tasted like bourbons without the cream.
They've a mix of UK / Portuguese / other origin products, including quite a few I've not seen before. The person working there (owner?) spoke fluent english and was happy to translate ingredients lists.
Pricing is reasonable. There's obviously a premium (reflecting the fact it's been imported), but it's not outrageously so.
You can expect to find egg free dried pasta, rice, jars of tomato sauce, long life soya milk, soya desserts etc in larger supermarkets. There's a pretty big Continente half way along the on the south coast. I wasn't at all impressed by the quality of their fruit and veg though - you may be better off with markets. Also, there was a complete lack of asian foods - no indian, thai, chinese ingredients etc (other than soya sauce and rice!). I'm still not sure what 100% vegetal means, so don't assume it's 100% vegan.
There's an English supermarket in Funchal called Goodies with a reasonable amount of "accidently vegan" products (like Blue Dragon sauces), but expect to pay UK prices x3. If you're desperate for a tin of heinz spaggetti then give it a go! Otherwise I'd try to avoid.
Monthly vegan market in London
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