· Gourmet · · T. Joana Rebelo · P. Rights Reserved


A love letter to island flavours 

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Caramel and salt flower truffle
From the island of Madeira, we can enjoy typical island dishes and poncha with a sea view. But if you want to eternalise the flavours and package them in a box that can be transported on a plane, UAUCacau can do this for you. 
At number 11, Rua da Queimada de Baixo, magical bonbons combine balanced doses of flavour and smoothness. From one moment to the next, chocolate stops being what we know it as and becomes a portrait of Madeira wine. Or passion fruit. Or poncha. Indeed, the shop window will tell us what will be the most popular at this time, but the freshness it exudes to the outside is undeniable, creating an attraction for those who don’t know about it or who haven’t been there in a while. It seems that the old saying that the eyes also eat is starting to make sense, something that we will see a few moments later. 
We are greeted cheerfully by a Madeiran accent and elegant bonbons as we enter the UAUCacau space. Inside, we are welcomed by a matt brown palette, creating the illusion that we are right inside a chocolate bar. The lamps above our heads look like chocolates cut in half and, on the concave side, it looks as if the bulb has been replaced by a diamond in the rough. The centre displays the coveted chocolates, which look delicious. Faced with a multitude of colours and fillings, we end up tasting the bestsellers – bonbons made with passion fruit, poncha and madeira wine –, all with creamy textures, which generate a stimulating experience on the palate thanks to the fusion of Belgian cocoa with the distinct flavours of the region. A moment that only lasts seconds, but we wish it would continue for minutes. And, in an endless line of thought, our curiosity about the production of those sweet little temptations leads us to Tony Fernandes, the owner of UAUCacau. 

Unmistakable fillings made from raw materials sourced from local producers
With a strong accent and unbridled friendliness, the master chocolatier immediately makes himself available to tell us the story of his confectionery business and, in a way, his life. This surely isn’t the first time he’s been questioned on the matter, as he summarises his entire career in a few words: «My passion for the world of chocolate began in 2007, after I was offered a job at a pastry shop that also made chocolate. I was there for a year, where I learnt the basics of chocolate production. It took a little over a year for the business to close and, in time, I decided to rent my own restaurant with my own chocolates.» Much to his regret, the business didn’t do as well as he had hoped and the master chocolatier decided to cut back on the quantity and focus on the authenticity of the concept, deciding to open a small laboratory for chocolate production in his home. The rest... the rest is a success story and, as far as he is concerned, Tony always knew it was only a matter of time before he would have a place, he could call his own. 
The years passed and he continued to focus on the best the island has to offer. Today, Tony Fernandes delves deeper into handmade production, working with local raw material partners who supply him with the most varied fruit pulps, from passion fruit and banana to guava and tamarillo. Having the flavours that most mark the experience of visitors to the archipelago ‘up his sleeve’, the master chocolatier invests in Belgian cocoa and moulds it into a meticulous production process, which includes the filling, pasteurising the fruit, adding the ganache and then coating it. 

Sprinkling the map of the islands and, little by little, the mainland with sweetness
At a later stage, the bonbons are sealed and categorised. It’s important to note that the method used to make the chocolates is a natural one, as Tony explains: «Pure cocoa butter is what we use to paint the chocolates. Day after day we try to eliminate anything that is bad for your health, trying to make the product as natural as possible.» In addition to being sophisticated and delicious, UAUCacau’s product range respects the pure state of the raw material, dispensing with colourings and preservatives that could camouflage them with a more appealing or long-lasting appearance.
Gluten is also left out of the equation, as the chocolate doesn’t include any flour, unlike the nutritional table, which is inherent in each and every product from the Madeiran brand. As for the lifespan of the bonbons, you should know that they have a shelf life of two months, which doesn’t seem to be cause for concern, given their irresistible appearance. 
UAUCacau is the most sought-after chocolate brand on the island and currently has four shops in Funchal. Tony is gradually bringing the product to the mainland, and it is already available in Oporto, next to Bolhão market. The chocolatier’s strategy seems clear: to ally himself with prime locations in order to ensure exclusivity. And it is working. Sprinkling the map of the islands and, little by little, the mainland with sweetness, the brand keeps its focus on chocolate, but doesn’t reject other options, since the island’s subtropical climate doesn’t always make it easy to produce chocolate. 
Having learnt about the sweet adventure of UAUCacau, founded by the chocolate maker who started from nothing with the ambition to have everything, it’s time to use the Portuguese expression that underpins its name: UAU! (WOW! to our English speakers)
Passion Fruit
Passion Fruit
Joana Rebelo
T. Joana Rebelo
P. Rights Reserved
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