In 1893, the Santo António Factory, heavily influenced by the prevalent English culture in our society, emerged as the first biscuit and cookie manufacturing facility in the region.
At tea time, our biscuits and cookies were present on every table. 130 years later, we are still at your table, maintaining the same quality and consistency as always, as a benchmark brand in Madeira.
The True Taste of Other Times
Francisco Roque Gomes da Silva decided to found in 1893, the first biscuit factory in Madeira. At a time when there was a strong presence of English families in Madeiran society, who ended up influencing customs, Francisco Roque realizes that the imported tradition of eating biscuits and cookies at tea time would be a business opportunity where he could create a locally manufactured product without relying on the foreign market.
He then bet on the production of his own biscuit, focusing on the quality of the ingredients and the rigor of its preparation.
His wife Guilhermina over the years expanded the range of recipes from the factory, crossing traditions and implementing family recipes that have been passed down for generations and remain to this day, currently in its 5th family generation..
Our founders have instilled in us the fundamental principles of quality and meticulous production through their passion for excellence.
Biscuits and cookies have always been, and will continue to be, the ideal partner for daily pauses…
Bringing joy to both the young and old, creating cherished memories
Photos Copyright by: Arquivo Regional e Biblioteca Pública da Madeira; Família Aires de Ornelas, Funchal sec XIX. Coleção particular de J.J. P Edward Clode
The Travessa do forno earned its name because in the past, a community oven (forno) was located here. It was in this location, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure, that the Santo António Factory was built.
The image portrays the actuality of the 1920’s.
In the left corner, you can see the factory building and the rail in the center of the street, which is now referred to as Rua 5 de Outubro (formerly Prince Street).
The factory was only 13 years old at the time.
In 1893, Francisco Roque Gomes da Silva founded the very first fine biscuit production facility, Fábrica Santo António, on Madeira Island. From that day forward, the streets of Funchal have been filled with a new delightful scent.
The machines used for producing Maria and Petit Beurre biscuits remain unchanged and original. They started as manual, then ran on steam, and now have been adapted to electricity.
The laminator, which is used to roll out the dough to the desired thickness for the cookie, and the molding machine, which cuts and shapes the dough into the desired shape, are original and both machines were made in England by Sperling & Williams.
Francisco Roque Gomes da Silva marries his beloved Guilhermina, his life partner.
Guil played a crucial role in the development of most of the family’s recipes that have been passed down through generations.
Our recipe books are our most precious treasure. These small books are filled with original recipes from Mrs. Guilhermina, all written in her beautiful handwriting.
These recipes have survived across generations and have become a hallmark of quality and consistency at Fábrica Santo António, setting the standard in Madeira.
The biscuits were packaged in large cube-shaped tins, featuring eye-catching paper labels for Maria, Petit-Beurre, Digestive, and Ginger biscuits.
In 2018, to celebrate its 125th anniversary, the Factory released a new metal tin as a fitting tribute to the original tin, which is part of the history of so many Madeiran families.