Tenerife’s Gastronomy

Fish

Due to the geographic situation of Tenerife, the island enjoys an abundance of fish of various kinds. The species that are consumed the most are the Combtooth blennies (viejas), as well as sea bream(sama), red porgy (bocinegro), gold lined bream (salema), grouper (mero), and various and abundant types of Thunnus. The Atlantic mackerel (caballa), sardine (sardine), and Jack mackerels(chicharros) are also consumed frequently. Moray eels (morenas) are also eaten, usually fried. Most seafood is cooked simply, usually boiled, or prepared “a la espalda” (cut into two equally-shaped pieces along the spine) or “a la sal” (baked in salt). These dishes are usually accompanied by mojo (a local sauce) and wrinkly potatoes.

Meat

The typical festive meat dish of marinated porc tacos is a very popular dish prepared for town festivities in ventorrillos, bars and private homes. Rabbit in salmorejo, goat, and of course beef, pork and poultry are also regularly consumed.

Canarian wrinkly potatoes

The fish dishes along with the meats are often accompanied by wrinkly potatoes (papas arrugadas). This is a typical Canarian dish which simply refers to the way the cooked potatoes look. They are boiled in their skins, in water with lots of salt, and the water is allowed to evaporate, leaving a salty crust.

Wrinkled potatoes

Mojos

Mojo, a word probably of Portuguese origin, describes a typical Canarian sauce, served as an accompaniment to food. The sauces come in a variety of colours, flavours and textures, and are usually served cold, often in separate dishes, for the diner to choose how much to apply. Green mojo usually includes coriander, parsley, and garlic; whilst red mojo is piquant, and made from a mix of hot and sweet peppers. A wide variety of other ingredients are also used, including; almonds, cheese, saffron and fried bread. Mojos are served with most meat, and some fish, dishes, and are often used on potatoes, or bread is dipped into them.

Mojo

Canary mojos (sauces)

Cheeses

One of the latest studies has revealed that Tenerife exports about 3,400 tons of cheese per year, representing about 50% of the output of the island, and about 25% of the entire Canary Islands.

After the conquest of the Canary Islands, one of the first commercial activities to be started was cheese production. The sale of cheese provided the inhabitants with an income and cheese was even used as a form of currency for exchange and sale, becoming a crucial product in agricultural areas of the island.

Cheese grew to become one of the most commonly produced and consumed products on the island and is regularly served as part of a starter course or as a snack. Farms at Arico, La Orotava andTeno produced a variety of cheeses, including soft cheeses, cured, smoked and were mostly handmade. Today the main product is goats cheese, although certain amounts are made from sheeps or cows milk and according to the Registro General Sanitario de Alimentos, the general health registry, around 75 different cottage cheeses are produced. The cheeses of the Canaries have generally received good international reviews, noted for their sweetness which differentiates them from certain other European cheeses. In particular, Tenerifan cured goats cheese was awarded best cheese in the world final of the 2008 World Cheese Awards held in Dublin, Ireland.

Cheeses from Tenerife now have a quality mark promoted by the Fundación Tenerife Rural, to standardize their quality in an attempt to publicize the qualities of the cheese and improve its marketing.

Gofio

Gofio is one of the more traditional elements of cooking on the island, It is made with cereal grains that are roasted and then ground. Increasingly used to make a gofio on the island is wheat although there are other types, and they are often made with chick peas. Relatively common is a mixed-type with wheat. It was served as main food to the guanches even before the Spanish conquest. In later times of scarcity or famine it was a staple of the popular Canarian diet. Today it is eaten as a main dish (gofio escaldado) or an accompaniment to different dishes, meats, fishes, soups, desserts. Some famous cooks have even made gofio ice cream, receiving good comments from the critics.

Gofio escaldado

Confectionery

Confectionery in Tenerife is represented and strongly influenced by La Palma, with confections like bienmesabeleche asadaPríncipe Alberto,frangollohuevos molesquesillo, etc.

Wines

Viniculture in the archipelago, and especially in Tenerife dates back to the conquest, when the settlers brought a variety of vines to plant. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wine production played an important role in the economy, and many families were dedicated to the culture and business. Of special mention is malvasía canary, considered the best wine of Tenerife and at the time one of the most desired wines in the world, being shipped across to the major warehouses of Europe and America. Writers such as William Shakespeare and Walter Scott make reference to the wine in some of their works. Tenerife has 5 main wine growing regions. These include Abona, Valle de Güímar, Valle de La Orotava, Tacoronte-Acentejo and Ycoden-Daute-Isora.

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