Fábrica Santo António, a sweet factory

Fábrica Santo António, a sweet factory

Fábrica Santo António in Funchal, Madeira

Fábrica Santo António is the oldest confectionery factory in Madeira, dating back to 1893. Here you’ll find a variety of traditional treats. Take a peek inside, and maybe buy a packet or two of Madeiran biscuits or sweets.  Enjoy them while you discover Funchal or take them home as souvenirs.

Sugarcane honey cake, cookies, jams, candy… it’s a huge variety of sweets that takes every sweet tooth to Fábrica de Santo António, in Funchal. However, when one enters, what most captivates the attention is the color of the cans that fill the shelves.

Fabrica Santo Antonio Madeira Funchal

Tin cans and particularly their lively designs and color schemes are the hallmarks of the factory that was the first to manufacture cookies and crackers in Madeira and, next year, marks 130 years.

The oldest and largest tin cans are at the top of the shelf for all to admire. They evoke a customary practice for many decades, of going to the store with an empty box and exchanging it for another one full of cookies.  These rather large metal cans had colored labels that varied according to the flavor.  Today, these color schemes and tin cans are the brand image of Fabrica Santo Antonio.

Today, the fifth generation of the founder’s family owns and runs the business. On one of the walls of the store we can see a photograph of Francisco Roque Gomes da Silva by Vicentes.  He had the foresight to start the manufacture of cookies so enjoyed in the tea ritual by the five wealthy English families who lived in Madeira at the time.

He went to England, bought a cookie maker and got some recipes. However, most are the creation are composed by his wife, Guilhermina.  She adapted the recipes and enhanced them with regional know-how and trial and error experience.

The overwhelming majority of recipes are Fabrica de Santo Antonio recipes. However, some have slightly been improved over time… Recently, The fabrica launched a new product, the “Biscoitos da Guilhermina”, based on one of her recipes.

A Store with History. 

In recent years, some research has been carried out on notes and recipes written by Guilhermina: Similarly, some personal objects of the Fabrica are now on display. Hence, the architectural features, interior decoration and antique objects really bring you back 130 years in time.  The Santo Antonio Factory has not moved.  It can still be found at the original address which reinforces its status of a store with history.  This address in the center of Funchal is in Travessa do Forno and 5 Outubro Street …  where in the 19th century there was a joint community oven.  Furthermore, another point of interest is that the cookie machine is the same from the beginning.  It was manual, then steam and now it is electric. The power source changed but the machinery is original. It’s still the same cookie machine that makes the Maria cookie.

This video (in Portuguese) shows the interior of the store.  Hence, you notice that even if you don’t like sweets, jams, biscuits or cakes, the store is well worth a visit.  As you enter the store, you go back nearly 130 years.

Where is the Fabrica in Funchal?

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