The cuisine of the Canary Islands has a flavour all of its own. The archipelago’s proximity to the west coast of Africa has infused its food with a signature style and, for those in the know, it’s fast becoming one of the favourite foodie destinations in Europe.
Tasting Tenerife: A Delicious Destination for Gastronomes
For the die-hard food connoisseur there are few places in Europe that tick the gastronomic box quite like Spain. I mean, Paella. Enough said. But one of the real joys is discovering the diversity of the cuisine, and you can’t truly say you’ve savoured the best until you’ve taste tested Tenerife.
“Simple, fresh, imaginative and unique, the true tastes of Tenerife can only be experienced at the source.”
Tenerife: A Gourmand’s Heaven
So, just why does the food taste so damn good? Well, after countless visits and having sampled more than my fair share of the local food, I think I’m allowed to consider myself “in the know”.
A Fusion of Unique Flavours
I believe the key to making the most of a gourmet experience in Tenerife is to try everything – no matter how unfamiliar. It is that very uniqueness that makes it so special and a few of my musts are:
- Aloe vera: Don’t worry, it’s not eaten straight from the plant, but sugared aloe vera (also used in confit) is a delightfully unusual delicacy.
- Goat: The meat of a young goat (cabrito) is used in many of the local speciality dishes. it’s most often served up braised or slow cooked in a stew.
- Gofio: A mixture of stone ground grains used in a sweet or savoury porridge.
To Market to Market
The island’s local markets are not only a fantastic place to pick up fresh food and produce, they’re like a little cultural melting pot in themselves. There’s a farmer’s market somewhere on any day of the week, but I recommend getting up early and heading to Nuestra Señora de África market in Santa Cruz, the La Laguna local market, or Tacoronte Farmer’s Market, up in the island’s northern region. You’ll get everything you need plus a whole lot more you never even knew existed.
“The vibrant and colourful ambience of the farmers’ markets is the best way to enjoy a delicious slice of local life. Stay a while and make some friends…”
Wine Glorious Wine
Tenerife has a long history of wine production dating back to the Spanish Conquest. Its acclaimed malvasia grape is one of the Canaries’ most famous, and five of the archipelago’s eleven official wine producing areas are located here. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a tipple, whether it’s joining a wine tour, visiting one of the many bodegas for a tasting, or simply sitting on your hotel balcony with a bottle watching the sun go down. Mix it up and try all three…
Fried Cheese? Yes Please!
The local cheese is an absolute standout and you can eat in the traditional fried way without guilt – after all, you’re on holiday. Oh, and it’s absolutely delicious. Made from cow’s or goat’s milk, the cheeses have a unique flavour that I’ve not seen replicated anywhere else in the world. I particularly like the ones from Teno and El Tanque.
Fruit of the Islands
Grapes for wine aren’t the only fruit that’s mouth-wateringly good in the Canaries. The sub-tropical climate means that Tenerife is abundant with bananas, star fruit, mango, papaya and many others. It’s hard to resist, so I recommend trying everything – at least twice.
Top Tip: Take the Taste of Tenerife Home
No matter where you are in the world you can get to know the culture through its cuisine. So if you want to learn how to recreate the flavours of Tenerife in your own kitchen, I strongly suggest you take advantage of the opportunity to learn some of the best Spanish gastronomic traditions on a family-run Cook & Taste cooking workshop, in beautiful Costa Adeje. You can choose from a range of lunch and dinner classes to learn the secrets of Canary Islands’ cooking, from traditional tapas to perfect paella.
For the ultimate gastronomic escape I can highly recommend a stay in the wonderful Baobab Suites, in Costa Adeje – so if you’re tempted by the Cook & Taste experience, it makes the ideal base. Along with fantastic views and five-star luxury facilities, the Baobab Suites has several excellent onsite restaurants from which to choose, and even your own fully equipped kitchen if you just can’t wait to put your newfound skills into practice.