Sugar Cane to Poncha 


Madeira Island is very rich in culture and is becoming increasingly diversified, with flower, sugar cane, wickerwork and embroidery industries playing important roles in the economy. One of the most important activities in the 19th century was definitely the transformation of sugar cane. From raw material – sugar cane – into honey and aguardente. Bringing to life to the most popular drink in Madeira – Poncha. 


Sónia, works at Calheta Sugar Mill and explains the several processes of the sugarcane and its different uses. Arsénia, a local resident engaged with the community of Curral das Freiras, speaks up about the original Poncha recipe, she learned back in the time of her grandparents.

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The Sugar Cane Mill… still working hard, just like in the old days…

Hot steam, the smell of sugar cane honey, the employee working hard … 

The time has arrived… the factory´s chimney begins to release smoke and truckloads of sugar canes sit patiently, waiting for their turn. 

Every year from mid-April to mid-May, the Sugar Cane Mill works non-stop, day and night. 

Sugar canes must be harvested within a few hours; otherwise, they will become dry and useless. Currently, laborers book their positions many months in advance as this type of work pays very well.

Visit Calheta's Sugar Mill

Visit Porto da Cruz's Sugar Mill


As we keep adding content, we would like to know your opinion on what other traditional products you would like to know more about.