Cuisine of Tenerife
- Enjoy the vast array of unique local cuisine that Tenerife has to offer From wine and cheeses to seafood dishes, all with a traditional Canarian flavour.
Fish & Seafood
Fish naturally has an important role in the island's cuisine and wide variety of fish are typically eaten by the islanders and visitors alike. These include, gilt-head bream (Dorada), Combtooth blennies (viejas), sea bream (sama), red porgy (bocinegro), gold lined bream (salema), grouper (mero), Tuna (atún) Atlantic mackerel (caballa), and sardine (sardinas). Fish is typically baked or grilled and dressed simply with sea-salt, garlic and/or lemon.
Seafood such as prawns (gambas), langostines (langostinas), mussels (mejillones) and octopus (pulpo) are also popular. Large Canadian Green Mussels are typically steamed or cooked with a garlic or white wine dressing, whilst octopus is served Gallegan Style (Pulpo Gallego) bolied and sprinkled with paprika, or served cold with an onion and pepper salad in a vinaigrette.
Canarians eat a variety of meat dishes though most livestock is imported rather than reared locally. The exception to this is goat (cabra) and rabbits (conejo). Rabbit in Salmorejo sauce (Conejo al salmorejo) is a local favourite.
The town of Adeje has made a name for itself for the number of restaurants specialising in spicy canarian style chicken.
Pork, particularly ribs (costillas) are widely consumed, as is beef. Most meat dishes are cooked on the grill (plancha), or barbecued (a la brasa) with salt and dressed simply with lemon, which you add to taste.
Canarian Potatoes / Wrinkly Potatoes (Papas Arugadas)
The classic accompaniment to any Canarian meal are wrinkly potatoes (papas arugadas) referring simply to the appearance of the skins of these small potatoes which are boiled with sea-salt to leave a fine crust of of salt on the skins.
Papas Arugadas are often served with Mojo sauce (see below) which you add as a condiment.
An authentic Canarian salad comprises of a simple base of lettuce, tomato and onion, dressed in vinegar and olive oil. However many restaurants build on this adding, peppers, cucumber, sweetcorn, grated carrot, beetroot, hard boiled eggs, asparagus, tuna and olives. Often the salad is served as a starter before the main meal.
Mojo is a sauce served in a separate side dish to be added at the dinner's taste. It typically accompanies bread and wrinkly potatoes. The red mojo is made with sweet and hot peppers and has a spicy flavour whereas the green mojo is made with parsley, coriander and garlic and has a smooth mild flavour.
Gofio is a traditional dish from Tenerife, it is made from grain cereals (usually wheat) which are roasted, then ground. It was a popular dish with the native Guanches and became a stable food during times of famine even after the Spanish Conquest. Today it is often served as a main dish, mixed with meat stock and served with sliced onions, known as Escaldón.
Chickpeas (Garbanzos) are a stable of a lot of Canarian Cooking and are used in soups and stews. A common and flavoursome dish however, is a chickpea stew, which is typically what you get if you order garbanzos as a dish in Tenerife.
Tenerife exports around 3,400 tones of cheese each year, most local cheese is made from goats milk, there are many varieties including soft cheese, cured and smoked cheeses. Goats cheese is often served as a starter dish. Probably the best cheese on the island is produced in the town of Arico in the south-east of the island.
Tenerife has five wine producing regions, Abona, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de La Orotava, Valle de Guimar and Yconden Daute Isora. Each of which has its own Demoninacion de Origen (Mark of Origin) status. Vines are grown at altitudes of 200-1600m and due to the variety of grapes grown, the rich volcanic soil, mild-climate and trade winds, Tenerife produces many distinctive and attractive wines many of which you can sample at vineyards or purchase in the local supermarkets.