One of the things I pride myself on the most is my willingness to try new things. I’m always up for visiting new places, trying new skills, meeting new people and most importantly, sampling new food. My recent trip to Fuerteventura exposed me to a cuisine I had not yet been introduced to – that of Canarian food. Naturally I was eager to delve in and acquaint my adventurous tastebuds to a range of new textures and tastes.
I am far from an expert, but after filling my face with all sorts of wonderful things over the duration of a fortnight, here is my guide to Canarian cuisine. As they say in Fuerteventura, buen provecho!
Almost every meal we had on the island featured some variety of mojo sauce. The delicious and highly addictive sauce is made of olive oil, salt, water, local pepper varieties, garlic and a combination of herbs and spices. Most of the time the mojo sauce was served in its red form, although we also tried a green and a yellow version which were equally tasty!
When my boyfriend Jack told me about the traditional Canarian potatoes before our trip, I wasn’t convinced that they were going to be anything special to tell you the truth. How wrong I was – they were great! Papas arrugás translates as wrinkly potatoes, which is quite accurate really. New potatoes are cooked in super salty seawater and then baked in the oven until they start to wrinkle. If you order these in a restaurant, the potatoes will be served along with mojo sauce, which is the perfect condiment!
Something we didn’t sample, but that was on the menu everywhere we went was gofio, a mix of toasted cornmeal and wheatmeal which was once a staple food item of the Canarian people. Nowadays, it is often used as a thickening agent in some of the island’s famous stews, and a little surprisingly, as a popular dessert ingredient. Gofio is used to flavor ice cream and also sweet dessert mousses. Definitely something to try next time I visit!
Made from the milk of Fuerteventura’s goats, the semi-hard and firm cheese has a nutty and slightly milky flavour. The rolls of cheese are often rubbed with pimenta, roasted gofio, or with oil giving it different textures and tastes. Whilst we enjoyed a platter of varying majorero cheese, it is often served alongside pasta, fruits and vegetables.
Possibly my favourite dish of the holiday was lightly fried aubergines, served with cubes of goat’s cheese and drizzled with palm honey. It sounds simple, and it is, but it tastes amazing! We must have ordered this dish multiple times across a range of restaurants, all of which produced slightly different versions, but we decided our favourite was served in El Horno in Villaverde.
I was thoroughly impressed with the range of fresh produce available in supermarkets and served in restaurants on the island. I was expecting plenty of fresh fish and seafood, but what surprised me was the range of fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables. The land is so dry and sandy that it came as a shock that the island is famed for its tomatoes, figs and tropical fruits. They sure were delicious though!
After pretty much every meal we ate out, on the island. (bar breakfast) we were offered a shot of island liquor along with the bill (perhaps, to treat us for shock!). I’m not usually one to drink liquor, but in the name of travelling and adventure, I decided to be brave and down a shot of the local chupito – a honey rum, topped with cream and cinnamon.
As you can tell, I thoroughly indulged myself on food throughout the holiday and made the most of the different dishes that were on offer. Now that I’m back on home turf, I am determined to try and replicate some of the delicacies (especially the aubergine) in my own kitchen. Have you ever tried any of the Canarian food dishes? What was your favourite? Victoria x
PS. Have you watched my Fuerteventura Highlights video yet? I’d love to hear what you think!