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Bears and Friends


Created 20 years ago in Germany by an engineer with a passion for excellence, Bears and Friends ‘jelly sweets’, or Gomas as they are known in Madeira, are far superior to their average counterpart. With shops throughout Germany, Switzerland and Austria, the brand now has 100 shops throughout Asia and its first in Madeira.

Located in Rua do Sabão, Funchal, and with over 50 varieties, which range from popular cocktails, Gin and Tonic and Moscow Mule, to ginger devils, a must for all ginger fiends, wedding bears, football figures, shirts and balls, specific men’s, women’s and girls’ assortments, jelly sweet pizzas plus cakes and fruit slices containing real pieces of fruit; the choice is seemingly endless.

Not only are you spoilt for choice, the sweets are perfectly presented in a light, bright and airy confectionary shop. But the sweets themselves tell their own story.  Made from real fruit juices, the sweets are flavoursome and of excellent quality, and whilst the cocktail varieties are non-alcoholic, many of the varieties are gluten free, contain 30% less sugar and are vegan friendly, making them ideal presents, as well as party and wedding favours. Other novelties include their seasonal mixes such as Christmas, Halloween, Easter, and Madeira Love mix. In addition to jelly sweets, they also have an assortment of marshmallows, confectionery coffee beans and chocolate.

Owner and businesswoman Christine has her own unique story as she came to Madeira on holiday, was caught here in the lockdown and despite her earlier opinion that Madeira was only for retirees, decided to stay and open a business.  What prompted her to open the store was that she realised that she knew the sweet creator, and after a little market research released that her competitor only has a few brands for sale in Madeira.

Christine’s marketing techniques include a life size brand mascot complete with Hawaiian tee shirt and sunglasses, who has proved as popular as any Disney character, especially with the children, who are keen to have a photo with him, as well as offering free samples to passers-by.  This technique seems to work exceedingly well as people get a chance to try before they buy.  And in fact, this is one of the great assets about Bears and Friends, as behind the counter are old fashioned jars containing popular favourites and customers are encouraged to try and find the flavour or flavours that suit them best. 

For those of a more savoury and indeed spicy disposition the ginger devils and hot red pepper sweets are just the tickets, while those wanting something more soothing will love the honeybees and eucalyptus sweets, and unlike many other brands these are soft, chewy, and flavoursome. And ideal if you are feeling a little under the weather.

Although, there is no pick and mix option, the sweets are sold in a variety of weights including 250g, 500g and 1 kilo bags, enough to keep the family going through a football match, or movie night.

So, if you are looking for something a little different in your confectionery range, head on over to Bears and Friends.

Bears and Friends: Rua do Sabão, Funchal (Near the Sé Boutique Hotel)

Samantha Gannon

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