The virtues of the Canary Islands are more than well-known – there’s good reason why this autonomous community made up of seven islands is known worldwide as a top-rate tourist destination.
The average yearly temperature is 24º and sunny days are practically guaranteed. Poem and prose have been written extolling the virtues of the area’s beaches and leisure options, but today we’re going to focus on the area’s cuisine.
Let’s begin our food tour in El Hierro, a rustic island that makes rustic dishes with very local ingredients. Cheese and fresh fish feature heavily.
Very typical dishes of the region include gofio and quesadillas. Gofio is a basic staple, a type of low calorie, highly nutritious flour made from toasted grains. It’s used in a wide variety of dishes, but often as a powder to enrich breakfast dishes or in baking.
The Canaries’ quesadillas may not be what you were expecting. Here they are a common dessert made with Herreño cheese and anise. They were first made in 1900 in the Fábrica de Quesadillas Adrián Gutiérrez e Hijas factory, which is still in use today and can be visited by the public. Don’t forget to show a little restraint because this is not a low-calorie option!
Now we’re in the mood for a snack, we can head over to La Palma island. It has close links with Venezuela and the continent of Europe, where many of the fruits and ingredients they use in cooking today once originated.
‘Papas arrugás’ (wrinkled potatoes) with mojo sauce is another typical dish. The mojo used for this dish is much tastier than other mojos made with cheese and coriander. The potatoes are cooked in scant, heavily salted water which is what gives this simple but popular dish its universally popular taste. A great place to taste them is in the ‘La Hacienda’ restaurant in the BlueBay Beach Club ****. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, you’ll be able to make the most of it by staying in one of the hotel’s single or multi-bedroom apartments.
Arepas are also very popular; cornmeal patties filled with shredded beef with onion, tomato, and pepper.
In Tenerife, culinary traditions get a boost from the exotic. Part of that is down to the popular Canary Island banana, a specific type of banana that is of medium size, thin-skinned and with brown spots – the Cavendish banana is the most common type.
Speaking of sweet things, another dessert – Frangollo – is very typical on the island. There are a few variants, but the most traditional combines milk, cornflour, lemon, eggs, sugar, butter, raisins, almonds and cinnamon to make a custard-like dessert.
We move onto Gran Canaria, also known as “La Isla Bonita”. One of the most traditional dishes on this island is potaje de berros (watercress stew). Watercress is very popular on the island and here is combined with corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, blood sausage, pork ribs, spices, and good olive oil. It can be eaten with cheese or gofio.
Cochino de adobo (adobo pork) is another typical dish in the area and is closely linked to popular festivals and traditions. Adobo is a type of marinade, and to this spices, paprika, vinegar, and white wine are added.
Although we’re probably feeling a bit full by now, we still have to visit Fuerteventura. Goat meat is very popular on this island, with compuesto de carne de cabra being one of the most well-known dishes. In this recipe, goat meat is diced and stewed with vegetables, almonds, raisins, thyme, and red wine, as well as other ingredients.
Follow your compuesto with a bowl of rapadura, a dessert made from unprocessed sugar cane juice (panela) and often served with ice-cream.
We continue to pay homage to our palates in La Gomera, an island that stands out for its pastries and baked goods (lard rings, Bilana tart, etc.), as well as its D.O. white wine.
Finally, our route comes to an end in Lanzarote, an island with a special link to saconcho, a soup made with meat, root vegetables, other vegetables, and seasonings, and which is usually served with the gofio we’ve mentioned before.
A good bowl of saconcho will set you up to enjoy the many activities on offer at the BlueBay Lanzarote *** and Bellevue Aquarius*** hotels. They’re an ideal option if you’re in Lanzarote and offer great value for money.
Both hotels have one and two-bedroom apartments equipped with everything you need, so the only thing you’ll have to worry about is enjoying yourself.
BlueBay awaits on the Canary Islands!