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Gran Canaria is known worldwide  for its excellent climate, its magnificent beaches and its astonishing landscape. However in the inland it keeps some treasures yet undiscovered for the visitor, and are related to their inhabitants, their culture and their way of life.

Among them, its gastronomy has been elaborated along several centuries with excellent raw materials (meat, fish, fruits and vegetables) and laid out in original and tasty recipes.

Thus, we invite you to make a trip trying some of the traditional dishes of Gran Canaria, starting by the "Enyesques" (snacks) among which we can find famous "Papas Arrugadas" (small potatoes boiled in their jackets), "Ropa Vieja" (type of casserole) or "Carajacas" (filleted liver). This can be followed by first courses such as "Fish Soup" or "Watercress Soup". And the second courses can be composed of meat like "Salmorejo Rabbit", or fishes like "Sea Bream Casserole".

To end with we invite you sweeten your palate with any of the desserts like "Bienmesabe" (very sweet almond paste) or "Yolk Mass".

All this can go well accompanied with a good wine with O.D. "Gran Canaria" or "Monte Lentiscal".

With the recipes that we offer you here, you can try and cook some of these dishes at home, but really the best idea is to give yourself some holidays in Gran Canaria and enjoy our flavours in the restaurants that you will find in any spot of this island.

The traditional local cuisine is characterised for being a healthy and light diet. Goat meat, tollos en salsa, the ropa vieja or the delicious pork leg are served in any restaurant or "bar de tapas" (snack bar) for starters or snacks. But one of the most traditional dishes of the Canary cuisine is the "Sancocho Canario". The basic ingredients are the salty "cherne" (a type of fish), potatoes, sweet potatoes and "Gofio".

Local fruit and vegetables

The fruit and vegetables found in most shops, cafes and restaurants are grown locally using "normal" cultivation methods which often means that they have more flavour than visitors from Northern Europe would normally expect.
When buying fruit and vegetables in the supermarket it is usually easy to tell the difference between the local and imported produce.
The imported stuff looks "perfect" - identical shape, identical colour, no marks or blemishes, and is often labelled "import".
The local produce comes in cardboard or wooden boxes, is delivered directly to the shops and markets by local farmers. The fruit is often misshapen. It usually tastes wonderful so don't turn your nose up, try it!

Bananas (Platanos)
The main local variety of banana is shorter and straighter than "the usual" banana, and are delicious.

Oranges (Naranja)
Choose the loose oranges which are not perfectly shaped. Ideal for making juice.

Avocados (Aguacates)
The avocados sold in Northern Europe are kept in cold storage for travelling and are ripened artificially.
The local avocados here come straight from the trees .. and you can really taste the difference.

Cactus fruit
The fruit of the local cactus is eaten in large quantities here, it is very juicy and contains many edible seeds. When you buy it in the shops the spines have usually been removed, otherwise lay them on the (sand)  floor en brush them off with a stiff broom or hard brush. Keep it in the fridge for a few hours, then cut the ends off, slice the skin lengthways, peel the skin back and eat the centre.

Figs (Higos)
In the summer months fresh figs can be plucked directly from the trees - or bought in the shops. Don't eat the figs which hang in the sun, it may well give you 'tummy-trouble'. In the rest of the year dried figs can be bought either loose or plastic-wrapped.

Almonds (Almendras)
In the autumn, the almonds are harvested from the trees and kept in storage to be eaten throughout the year. They are often sold in small plastic bags in shops, or along the roadside. They are sometimes roasted, sometimes covered in salt or sugar.
Canaries make use of almonds in many things, desserts, biscuits, cakes, spreads, liquors etc. etc.

Tomatoes (Tomates)
When you taste the local tomatoes you will realise how much flavour is lost in the commercialisation of the growing process. If you grow your own tomatoes at home you will know what we mean.

Sweet Chestnuts (Castañe)
In season there is a good supply of sweet chestnuts which can be eaten fresh, or barbequed.
 

Meat

Meat is for the Canaries an important part of the daily menu. They eat mainly pork, and also lamb, goat, rabbit and chicken. You will also find it on the menus of restaurants serving local food.

Goat (Cabrito)
Young goat is often served deep fried (Cabrito Frito) or in a stew (Cabrito en salsa).
Goat meat has a strong flavour, similar to lamb. It is usually eaten off-the-bone and the Canaries find it normal that you use your fingers.

Rabbit (Conejo)
Rabbit is often served in a stew/sauce, or in paella or fried.

Spreading sausage
You may see this soft spicy sausage in the meat display counters in long strings which are an almost orange colour. The spicy meat inside is squeezed out of its skin and spread on bread.

Sausage (Salchichó/Chorizo)
There is a wide variety of Spanish sausage available. Smaller quantities are available pre-packed in plastic, or from the meat counter, or you can buy a whole sausage and slice it yourself. It is mostly fairly hard and with a high fat content, and lots and lots of flavour.

Ham (Jamon)
There is the usual assortment of sliced ham, but you can get that at home so why not try the smoked ham ......
The Serrano is an Spanish speciality. It is often hung in meat shops and restaurants and sliced very very thinly. It can be a bit chewy but has an excellent taste.

Fish
Canary Islands are surrounded by the Atlantic ocean which provides a good variety of fish. Strangely the price is a bit high. Lots of different fish is available in tins.
Well-known and delicious to eat are the paella and the zarzuela.
Some main fish are tuna, swordfish, sardines and octopus.

Cheese
On Gran Canaria the cheese is made from goats milk. There are very few cows on the island, largely due to the lack of pasture for grazing, so dairy products have to be imported. You can find all kinds of goat cheese in the shops.
Several of the islands have a typical cheese speciality of their own, best known are the smoked cheese of La Palma and Flor de Guía of Gran Canaria.

Potatoes, sauces and Gofio
Potatoes grow well in Gran Canaria. Potatoes and yams, or sweet potatoes, are part of the staple diet. Farmers get 3 to 4 crops per year of the small potatoes varieties. They are often eaten with one or more sauces.
Potatoes are also used in the tortilla, the Spanish omelette.
Another traditional "filler" is Gofio, a flour used in many ways.

Papas Arrugadas
Small, locally grown, potatoes cooked in their skins in water rich in sea salt. The salt residue can be seen on the crinkled skins. Usually eaten with mojo sauce.

Mojo verde
A sauce made of, among other things, green peppers, garlic and spices.

Mojo rojo
A sauce made of, among other things, red peppers, garlic and spices. There are soft and spicy versions.
You will notice differences in the taste of the mojos .... because each family has its own recipe.

Alioli
Garlic mayonnaise, also the taste of the Alioli is different in every restaurant.

Gofio
A kind of flour made from toasted and milled cereals. Used with milk for breakfast, in drinks, in meat dishes etc. Canaries say it is very healthy and many eat it every day!

Desserts

The most typical dessert is Bienmesabe, a mixture of honey, almond cream, eggs and rum. Besides that, you have a wide choice of tropical fruits, like papaya, avocado and mangoes. Platanos fritos (fried bananas) are also in great demand. Also, try the biscuits and meringues from Moya and the marzipan pralines from Tejeda.

 

 

Best choice, before, during and after the holiday!

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