Moving on from this origin story, what historically used to be known as the Quinta da Saraiva area comprised 3 different houses, of which only one remains today, making up the central house of the Hotel. The original Quinta da Saraiva area would also comprise the lands of what were (and still are) locally referred to as Quinta do Leme, Estreito, and Jesús Maria José.
Much of what existed back then is no longer the same today, as many of the pictures in our digital gallery will show you. Just to highlight one example, the large water well that still stands within the property used to be a famous public sightseeing spot that was extremely popular with British and Gibraltar tourists who sought to admire the beauty of the Câmara de Lobos valley and its coast.
Regarding the older generations, the Figueiras of the Quinta da Saraiva were traditionally prosperous landowners who produced Madeiran staple crops such as wheat, sweet potato, semilha (Madeiran way of calling potatoes), sugarcane, tomatoes, onions, grapes, figs, medlars, prickly pears, and sweetsop, among other fruits and vegetables.
Quinta da Saraiva also had cows (for milk and butter – too valuable for meat) as well goats, chickens, and pigs (who would be slaughtered for the Christmas feast).
Pork would then be stored in tinas or pipas which were barrels where the meat could be salted and preserved throughout the year, and pig fat would be used as butter which would then be kept shut inside a slaughtered pig’s bladder.
Electricity was a luxury that was unavailable to Madeiran households at the time, which meant that there were no refrigerators, and light outside of day hours would come from either kerosene or whale oil lamps, as the northern Madeiran town of Porto Moniz was known for this hunting activity.
A popular (and special Christmastime) recipe that would require pork was carne vinha e alhos, which consisted of cooking pork meat with water, Dry Madeira wine, vinegar, black pepper, laurel, garlic, and some lard steamed on a pot until it became dry and chewy – and thus ready to eat!