The uniqueness of the Canaries, seen in the contrasting landscapes, can be tasted also in the Islands’ gastronomy. An endless range of traditional recipes survives to this day alongside new culinary trends that use local products to produce dishes with different and unique textures and tastes.
The essence of traditional Canarian cuisine can be found in so-called “guachinches”, eateries that date back to the 17th century, when winemakers would take up positions on roads and offer up their wine for tasting, in the hope of exporting it. The tasting would be accompanied by some goats’ cheese and other fresh home-made foods.
In days of old, a guachinche would open for a few months every year, depending on the harvests, and would often be located in the winemaker’s garage at home.
Nowadays, guachinches are premises that can sell their own wines as well as those of other winemakers. They also have a much wider offering of dishes and drinks than previously. They tend to offer typical dishes such as carne fiesta, tender chunks of pork with a unique flavour stemming from being marinated in -among other things- garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and white wine, and usually served with chips.
In guachinches you will also find the well-known papas con mojo, one of the most traditional features of Canarian cuisine and an absolute must if you are visiting the islands. These small potatoes are boiled with huge amounts of salt, which impregnates the skin. This combination and the spicy red or green mojo sauces they are served with makes for a delicious dish.
Other options include the traditional potaje de berros (watercress broth), which is based on watercress and a host of other tasty ingredients: carrots, pumpkin, spices and pork rib. If you like, you can order it with the famous gofio escaldado, a tasty puré made of roasted Canarian flour.
Any mention of Canary food must include the typical sweets, such as quesillo (a Canarian-style flan), gofio mousse, and the rich, almond-based bienmesabe. These dishes encapsulate the sweet side of the islands’ age-old gastronomic tradition. So, what are you waiting for? If you see a sign that says guachinche, get ready to try authentic Canarian cooking.