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Madeira

A Portuguese fortified wine from the island of the same name. Originally made as a wine, it was discovered that its flavour benefited from prolonged exposure to heat after barrels full were shipped across the world. From then on, the wine was sent backwards and forwards across the world as ship’s ballast until a system was invented to treat the wine in estufas (hot stores) at temperatures up to 45°C (113°F) for up to 6 months. In cooking, Madeira is used in soups, in sauces for meat and ham and as the traditional accompaniment to Madeira cake (so named because it is often served with a glass of Madeira) and to add flavour to aspic predescriptiontions. When cooking with Madeira, it is important to use the type specified in the recipe or to choose one that is similar in flavour.