Along with tourism, which is responsible for around 80% of the gross income generated by the Canary Islands, the food industry is vital to the overall economy of the archipelago. In a previous blog post, we talked about the various dishes that can be found in La Gomera, but in this post we will look at those individual food products that are produced on these perennially warm islands.
Here are four foods which are exported to the UK, Spain and other countries from the Canaries.
Miel de palma, known as palm syrup or palm honey in English, is one of the La Gomera’s most important food exports. It is made using the sap of the Date Palm, which is abundant in many places across the island, and features in local desserts such as ice cream and Bienmesabe. It is also used a lot in Asian cooking to balance the flavours of rich curries, but the people of La Gomera often drink it straight from the glass.
The sap from the palm tree has to be harvest during the night, as it spoils very quickly when left in sunlight.
Bananas are definitely not something that you would find growing on mainland Spain, but the Canary Islands’ proximity to Africa means they have the ideal climate for growing the popular fruit. There are banana plantations on Tenerife, Gran Canaria and even onsite at the Hotel Jardín Tecina.
They have been grown here since the 1400s and are mainly exported to Spain and Portugal. However, in 2013, Asda made the decision to start selling Canarian bananas in order to cut down on the carbon footprint created when flying them over from South America. The bananas from the Canary Islands are said to be sweeter and slightly firmer than those from other countries.
When you think of goat’s cheese, places such as Greece and France immediately come to mind and you would be forgiven for not considering the Canary Islands as a possibility. However, there are cheese dairies and speciality shops all over the archipelago, especially on the island of Fuerteventura. Goats are much more suited to the terrain here and so their milk has been used to produce cheese since the Middle Ages. The most popular variety is called Majorero and is said to taste similar to Manchego. The word stems from the old name for Fuerteventura, Maxorata.
The small island of El Hierro is also famous for its cheesy productions. Little cheesecakes, known as quesadillas, have become a speciality and have mainly been produced by one particular family since 1900. Unlike the quesadillas you find in Mexican cuisine, they are small, daisy-shaped cheesecakes made with goat’s cheese.
The chances are that your fridge or wine rack doesn’t feature a vintage from the Canary Islands, but there was a point in time when these wines were very popular with the British upper classes. Since then, tipples from this part of the world have reduced in popularity, but Canarian wine is on the rise again. There is now a market for it right across the world, from the US to Korea, and the taste is a very distinct one.
There are a total of 10 official wine-growing regions across the Canary Islands, with five of them being located on the island of Tenerife. In fact, the highest vineyard in the whole of Europe can be found on the side of the active volcano Mount Teide. Lesser-known grape varieties such as Malvasia and Listán Negro have helped towards the resurgence and you may well see wine from the Canaries in a restaurant or shop near you soon.
If you would like to taste some of these authentic products in the places they are produced, a Canary Island holiday is perfect. Call our friendly team today to book your stay at the Hotel Jardín Tecina.
© Fred. Olsen Travel.
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