Tenerife Food: Best Typical Dishes and Wines

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Tenerife Food and Drink

Visiting Tenerife and Canary Islands has everything to do with tasting its fantastic food.

Tenerife food is known as a tasty, healthy and fresh menu.  The more authentic the place is, the better you will eat and at the best prices you will get!

There are so many stories about gastronomy and tradition that I could even write a book! I would like to share some bit of information so that you can discover special spots.

Tenerife Food
Typical Canarian food: Papas Arrugadas with Mojo sauce!

Authentic canarian food in Tenerife

Which are the best Typical dishes? Probably you have never listened about some of them. Others are more common to you as cheese, wine or fish. But what you have to know is that this is the real Tenerife food and drink, the food and drink that identify us and that you will taste when you visit Tenerife.

Food in Tenerife

PAPAS ARRUGADAS

The ultra famous papas – patatoes – are key in Tenerife food menu.  The potatoes arrived to Europe from South America through Tenerife.  The first potato was planted in a finca – farm – called “Icod el Alto” in the North of Tenerife island in the city of Icod where you can find the great Drago Milenario.

Papas are boiled in water with a lot of sal gorda – thick salt – and because of the type of papas and the way they are dried after boiling together with the salt, they become arrugadas – wrinkled – and they look…wrinkled! Types and varieties of potatoes make the difference.  You have la papa antigua, papa bonita, papa kinegua (King Eduard´s), borralla….

Not only the colourthe size and the flavour matters, also the texture in very important! My grandmother never let me cut a potato with a knife, because you miss texture if you do so!!

MOJO

The mojo is a typical sauce that you can eat together with papas arrugadas and many meat or fish main courses.  It is incredibly yummy and is the staple sauce for any Canarian dish. It is either made from red pepper for the mojo rojo – the red version – or with garlic and coriander for the mojo verde – green version.  It’s a must in Canarian and Tenerife food!

POTAJE DE VERDURAS

All year long Tenerife has vegetables growing on its land: sweet pepper, zucchinis, pumpkin, chickpeas… The potaje de verduras is basically a mix of all the seasonal vegetables put in a blender. Hence, the winter potaje will be different from the summer potaje.

GOFIO

Gofio is a highly nutritive mix of cereal that was the main food in the worst economic times in the islands specially in the rural areas.  Its flavour is quite strong but once you get used to it, it is fantastic together with potaje de verduras and fresh goat cheese, with smashed bananas and cooked as escaldón. Every guachinche – see below – offers escaldón, otherwise, it is not a guachinche!

The south side of the island is made mostly from sandy sea floors conforms beautiful underwater scenery, but of the most experienced diver the north side of the island which is more influenced by the volcanic origin is a excellent place to practice this water sport. The most exposed rocky north side with his tunnels and caves are excellent places for the development of the marine reefs and a really breathtaking place to visit.

Tenerife Food Escaldon
The infamous escaldón de gofio con mojo / Source: Tenerifelicidad

FISH

La Vieja or El Cherne are two species that are endemic in our ocean.  Boiled and together with papas arrugadas and Mojo are a surprise to the senses. I recommend any of the nice restaurants in the South in the areas of Tajao or Los Abrigos, always a good idea for eating fish. If you are an adventurer, don’t hesitate to take you car and go to Anaga, straight to Taganana and try all the fish in Casa Africa.  They will (almost) literally jump from the water to your plate

LAPAS

The lapas are endemic sea snails from the Canary Islands. They are prized by both locals and visitors for their delicious taste, which is even better when prepared with mojo verdeFun fact: their teeth are the strongest natural material known to human – even stronger than spider silk!

PAPAS CON COSTILLAS Y PIÑAS

Papas con costillas y piñas is an authentic Canarian grandmother recipe! If you speak Spanish, then you know that piña is pineapple right? Well, in Tenerife, it can mean ear of maize too, so don’t be surprise if you don’t find any pineapple in this dish!

Potatoes and ribs with corn, an unmissable Canarian meal! / Source: Hogarmania

CHEESE

Tenerife cheeses is one of the big must. Cheese lovers will be surprised as they discover an incredible variety of very tasty cheeses.  Goat cheese is the best known cheese in the island without a doubt and exists in different types of ripening: fresh, ahumado – smoked – dry or semidry. There always will be a cheese matching your personal preferences in Tenerife!

QUESO ASADO CON MOJO Y MIEL

There is a saying here in Canary Islands that you cannot be Canarian if you don’t know how to cook queso asado con mojo y miel. It is a very simple dish yet very tasty: a few slices of smoked cheese with mojo verde and palm honey. A delicious way to start a meal!

TENERIFE WINE

There is much to say about Tenerife wine. History is surprising when we come to wine and Tenerife.  Since the 1700 commerce between England and Tenerife put together the export of Tenerife wine.  Even Shakespeare mentioned Tenerife wine! Not forgetting that one Canarian wine was opened during the toast for the Independence of the United States.

For more than 500 years Tenerife produces high quality wines / Source: Guiarepsol

There are many historical connections between the Canary Islands and the financing of the American Independence. The historical truth is still subject to debate but there are no doubts that Canary Islands had an influence on that process. How? Through the commerce of wine. At that time the Canaries exported big pipes of wine from the north of Tenerife through Madeira and, with the successful management of Franklin and Morris were sold in Philadelphia and all throughout New England. In fact, we can almost confirm the fact that the toast on that historical day of 1776 was made with that “wine from Madeira,” which was likely to be wine from our valley of La Orotava.On the Tenerife Wine official webpage you’ll find interesting information about the different wines of the island and their Denominación de Origen – designation of origin. Also, I recommend a visit to the Casa del Vino de Tenerife where you can do an interesting wine tasting program and discover in a beautiful ancient Canarian house everything about Tenerife Wine.

Food prices in Tenerife

Tenerife food prices are incredibly reasonable if you get to find the right spot in Tenerife. This places are known as guachinches!

Tenerife-Food
This is not a restaurant, this is a guachinche / Source: Guiarepsol

GUACHINCHES

The history about guachinches is fantastic to discover and great to experience. Local people that live in medianías grow grapes for their own consumption. When they have their own wine, they are allowed, in order to sell the wine, to open a small local family “restaurant”.  These places are extremely simple and the menus stick to Canarian typical dishes.  Sometime you have no more than a couple of choices!! It is highly recommended to visit at least one guachinche during your stay if you want to try authentic Canarian food in Tenerife and real local Tenerife Wine. List of some guachinches in the North area:

Even though the guachinches are typical from the North of the island, there are a few that worth a try in the South:

SOPHISTICATED RESTAURANTS

If you are looking for something more sophisticated, you can find incredible Tenerife Food in great restaurants all over the island.  There is a Michelin Star “Rincon de Juan Carlos” which offers an incredible fusion menu of Canarian typical food and international flavours. Another must of the Canarian sophisticated offer is La Sandunga. Sorry web page only in Spanish! (Google translator can always help!) I think the highest tips are already given, but of course… there is so much to say about Tenerife food and drink that there will be Chapter 2!

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