If you’re on your toes (not literally) around the globe, you know how important food is for every region. Food connects people, and one of the best ways to fully enjoy a place is to join locals for their food. Like every tourist spot in the world, Canary Islands, or the Canaries, also have cuisine specific to this piece of land only.
The biggest reason behind unique food in the islands is the local flora that comes from the land of volcanoes. The plantation causes the flora to develop earthy flavors that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. To ease this out for you, here’s a list of the top seven must-try foods in the Canary Islands.
Top 7 Must-Try Foods in the Canaries
1. Papas Arrugadas
Chances are thin that you’re visiting the Canaries and don’t get to taste this Canarian cuisine. Papas is the Canarian name of potatoes while arrugadas mean ‘wrinkled’. The potatoes are boiled in salted water until they are tender and after throwing almost all the water, the remaining water is dried up in the pan to give the potatoes a film of salt on them (causing them to look wrinkled).
The potatoes of the Islands taste different than our normal potatoes since the produce comes from volcanic lands. Papas are served either individually with a sauce called Mojo Rojo or with other dishes such as Conejo al Salmorejo.
2. Conejo al Salmorejo
Conejo al Salmorejo is a rabbit stew that is made by a marinated rabbit. In addition to the rabbit meat, the liver is often used as well. The meat is usually marinated in white wine (usually dry), olive oil, and sometimes vinegar, all mixed with bay leaf, garlic, bell peppers, and thyme.
As a side dish, you may be served vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and celery or rice, bread, and French fries. Conejo en Salmorejo is named a signature dish of Canarian cuisine and is, therefore, a must-try when on the islands. There’s another variant of the soup that the locals prepare with chicken (process remains the same)
3. Mojo Picón
Mojo Picón is the name of a spicy sauce used on the Canary Islands, so if you are keen on spices then you should definitely give it a try.
This specific sauce is prepared with garlic, olive oil red or green peppers, vinegar, salt, and cumin. And, if you are looking for something even spicier, just add a little hot chili for that extra touch.
The sauce is usually available to accompany all the main dishes that use meat of any kind. You can actually notice that restaurants typically serve mojo sauce with nearly every dish on the island. Plus, you can find handmade Mojo Picón on just about every market in the Canaries at an inexpensive price.
4. Rancho Canario
On the Canaries, you will have to try a number of soups before your main course. This is one of those staple soups that almost every Canarian island serves, only with a slight taste difference across all regions.
The soup is usually prepared with beef or chicken meat, although there are lots of variations of the recipe with chorizo or smoked pork ribs for those who want to try a different flavor. The traditional recipe calls for a special type of thick pasta which is available in most supermarkets. Also, there are noodles in the soup that gives it a thick consistency (and of course rich flavor).
Gofio is a traditional Canarian dessert that is made with roasted grain flour, mainly wheat, and some varieties of maize.
Additionally, the chefs add almonds and honey. A popular saying from the Canary Islands says “A glass of milk with gofio will improve your health”.
The locals have an acquired taste for this highly versatile food used in many forms, but the tourists may find it hard to adjust with their taste buds. Namely, gofio may be served with sauces, soups, and even as ice cream.
This unique flour became extremely important for the locals’ diet during the Spanish Civil War. It abounds in essential vitamins, fiber, and proteins. In other words, gofio isn’t just tasty, but also nutritious.
Here’s yet another flavorsome recipe authentic to the Canary Islands, especially on the small island of La Gomera. Almogrote is a dip, also referred to as a soft paste, made with leftovers of hard-cured cheese, paprika, and hot pepper blended together with olive oil and garlic. This amazing mix of flavors, adds a strong and spicy feel to the Almogrote dip.
It is always made using a mortar and pestle made of wood typical of La Gomera. Restaurants commonly serve it in the way locals like it, i.e. buttered onto slices of bread or a toast in thick layers to enjoy fully the tastes it offers. And, it makes an excellent aperitif with a glass of wine.
Last on the Canarian cuisine list is a sweet coffee liqueur typically available on Tenerife and is also known as zaperoco.
The coffee has multi-layers which normally include coffee, Licor 42, frothed milk, and condensed milk. Other ingredients used to prepare barraquito include lemon peel and cinnamon.
This multi-layered coffee liqueur is usually served in a transparent glass so that the consumer can easily see the different layers. Also, there are non-liqueur versions available for those who don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol.
However, it doesn’t really matter whether or not it has alcohol in it if you have a sweet tooth. The truth is that because of the sweet flavor people believe that it should be served as a dessert.
Don’t forget to try these Canarian delicacies on your next visit to the Canary Islands. This unique blend of flavors offers a one-of-a-kind gastronomy experience.