I didnt expect Tenerife food to be so vastly different than the dishes we eat in Spain. Last weekend I travelled to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and was blown away by the great food there.
TBM Tenerife, a conference for Spanish Travel Bloggers was my reason for jaunting to the Canary Islands. However I was thrilled to find that Gastrocanarias was on at the same time. A foodie fair with all the Canary Islands products in one exhibition hall.
With this Tenerife food show and a market tour around the colonial style Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África I got quite a lot of insight into the Canary Island food culture.
Typical Tenerife Food
On the Canary Islands the most typical foods are:
Bananas, Local Wine, Honey, Cheese, Mojo, Gofio, Potatoes, Papaya and other fruits, Almogrote, Bienmesabe, dishes with lots of herbs and spices, Barraquito (a coffee with liquor) Almond based desserts such as Principe Alberto and fish of course.
What is Mojo?
One of the most typical sauces is Mojo, seen on most menus and on sale in the delicatessen shops and market stalls. Mojo comes in Red and Green varieties and is always served with the famous potatoes papas arrugadas.
This sauce is made with peppers, olive oil and garlic. It is not spicy and makes a tasty addition to cheese and potatoes.
Another typical sauce is Almogrote. This red paste is quite popular, a spread made from cheese and paprika. Often served with wine.
What is Gofio?
A flour made from corn, wheat or other toasted cereals. This dish goes back a long way in history. The first settlers on Canary Islands used this as the main dish. Thought to come from the North of Morocco these cereals have been grown since 2000 years ago on the islands. In the 16th century as other cereals and food came in from overseas they used Gofio made from other foods.
Now you can get Gofio from Millet, Wheat, Bran, Chickpeas, Corn, Blended, Spelt and a long list of varities. It is used in different recipes to accompany meat and fish but can also be used in dessert too.
In Latin American countries they call Gofio, harina tostada, toasted flour, which is exactly what it is.
Papas arrugadas are very typical and of course accompanied by Mojo sauce. As the Canary Islands has different varieties of potatoes, it´s an important food for the Islanders. It was also important historically as it helped beat hunger centuries ago in hard times.
There are actually over 40 varieties of potatoes produced on the Islands. Some have their own Denominación de Origen (recognition from Spanish government of high quality specific to a region) 29 of the potato varieties have been produced exclusively on the Canary Islands since 16th century. Most of the production is done on the Northern part of Tenerife.
Canary Islands Wine
Bananas are produced in Canarias. Known as Platano, they are sweeter and smaller that the South American banana. Unsurprisingly there are many other foods that are now produced in Tenerife from the banana. They have a Banana wine called Platé, Banana vinegar and jam too.
Canary Islands has it´s fair share of wine production too. The biggest area is Tacoronte-Acentejo in Tenerife. However six of the Canary Islands produce wine. In fact production has been going on for over 500 years. The vines are some of the oldest in European as they werent affected by phylloxera blight in the 1800´s.
Other foods which are typical in Tenerife are Honey, fish, Cheese, papaya and other fruits, Barraquito (a stripey coffee with liquor 43) Bienmesabe and Almond based desserts such as Principe Alberto.
La Orotava Tenerife
Tenerife Food Tour
On my last day in Santa Cruz, I got to go on a Market tour with Tenerife like a local
The market in Santa Cruz is called El Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África. Built in a colonial style it´s a wonderful place to explore. Although I was completed in 1944, it´s not that old it is so charming. I got to taste different cheeses and wines on some of the stalls.
Santa Cruz Food Market
After seeing the different parts of the market we had a challenge to do. The idea was to go shopping and buy typical Tenerife food ingredients. In our teams we would cook the most traditional recipes ourselves later that morning.
This was a fun activity and great for anyone whether you are into food or not. It´s good to enjoy an interactive experience rather than just observing. There are so many things to do in Tenerife, its not all about the beach.
Where to eat in Tenerife
- Bodegón Viana – A typical place to enjoy Tenerife food in La Laguna. Here I enjoyed baked cheese with green mojo, Carne fiesta, fried pork with herbs and papas arrugadas. Calle Viana, 35, San Cristóbal de La Laguna
- La Huella Café-Bistro– A smart restaurant in the centre of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The menu del dia (Midweek set menu) cost 11 euros and was well presented. Calle Pérez Galdós 3, Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
- Palmelita – The sweetest café serving cakes, ice creams, coffee and more. Located in an old building with vintage tile adverts on the façcade, it´s been operating since 1968. On the main street Calle Castillo in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
- Strasse Park – A smart chilled out place, located next to the municipal park in Santa Cruz. This new restaurant offers brunch, cocktails and great food. A smart stylish setting surrounded by lush vegatation, you certainly feel like you are in the tropics when you are here. Find them at Parque García Sanabria, Rambla de Santa Cruz.
- Bar Concepción – This quaint little bar has outdoor seating and is next to the Concepcion Church tower in Santa Cruz. They offer a Midweek menu and is also a nice spot for wine and sharing plates in the evening. I enjoyed the honey drizzled aubergines topped with Manchego cheese. They are at Calle Antonio Dominguez Alfonso, 4, Santa Cruz de Tenerife
While you are visiting Tenerife don´t miss some of the best attractions and experiences.
- Book your Siam Park Tickets
- Enjoy a day a sea. Book a Whale & Dolphin Watching aboard Catamaran
- Visit La Gomera from Tenerife
- Book Tickets for Aqualand Costa Adeje
- Reserve your visit to The Pyramids of Guimar
- Head up the Teide Sunset & Stargazing Tour with Cava
- Book your tickets for Loro Parque – Tenerife