The real Gran Canaria food
The Canarian version of the “tapas” is called “enyesque”. These are small portions of food that are served together with a drink (typically beer or wine); and that you can share with your friends. We explain what you have to try on your visit to Gran Canaria.
Papas con mojo
One of the best-known dishes of Canarian cuisine. Papas arrugadas (“wrinkled potatoes”) with mojo picón can be used as a side dish for a meat or fish dish or served as a starter. These are small potatoes (papas) that are cooked in a pot with water and lots of salt (ideally, they should be cooked with seawater). The water must be allowed to evaporate in its entirety; leaving a salt crust on the surface of the potato that gives it a “wrinkled” appearance. The best potatoes for this dish are the “papa bonita” or “papa negra”; although they are quite expensive and are often difficult to find.
About the mojo picón there are many varieties and ways of preparing it depending on each island; The fundamental ingredients are pepper “puta de la madre” (a very spicy variety of pepper), ground cumin, olive oil, garlic and salt. It is a spicy sauce that can be found packaged in all the grocery stores of the Canary Islands. Be careful, it’s addictive!
Did you know that Canarias is the community of Spain in which more cheese is consumed per inhabitant ?. Did you know that some of the best cheeses in the world are made in the Canary Islands? Any self-respecting Canarian will accompany his spoon dishes (stews, ranches, soups) with a good piece of cheese from the islands.
In Gran Canaria, there are hundreds of artisanal cheese factories where they are sold. You can find many of them in your routes in the interior of the island. The goat cheeses (natural, with gofio, with paprika …), the cheeses of the mixture and, especially, the cheeses with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Flor de Guía and Media Flor de Guía stand out.
The gofio is one of the oldest foods of the Canarian gastronomy. Berber origin, it is a flour (usually wheat or corn) roasted and sweetened that can be made in different ways: with milk, in “pella” (as a substitute for bread), for desserts, with banana “escachado”, etc. You can try gofio “escaldado” (“blanched”) in the traditional fish restaurants and in the Cofradías; it is a mixture of fish broth with this flour; served with red onion that is usually served before the main dish.
Although Gran Canaria is not one of the largest producers of olive in Spain, in the valley of Tirajana there are some centuries-old olive groves that produce olives of the Verdial de Huevar variety. Normally they are used for the production of handmade oil or they are consumed seasoned with mojo. They are dark in colour and have a somewhat bitter taste that softens according to the time of their maceration. They are ideal to eat together with a sweet wine.
The sausages of the island of Gran Canaria differ completely from those that can be consumed in the Peninsula. In the north of Gran Canaria, “chorizo de Teror” and “morcilla dulce” are regularly produced and consumed. “Chorizo de Teror” is made from the lean meats of the pig and can visually resemble “sobrasada”; but differs a lot in flavour since for its preparation it uses garlic and wine. It is eaten on a slice of bread, it is quite strong in flavour and it is recommended to consume in moderation. As for “morcilla dulce”, it is totally different from those consumed in the rest of Spain. Although the main ingredient is pig blood, in the Canary Islands almonds, ginger and sugar are added, which gives it a very different flavour.
And as a side: Bread
“Pan de puño”, “pan de papas”, “pan de matalahúva”, “pan de millo” … take advantage of your visit to any of the agricultural markets or traditional bakeries of Gran Canaria to taste the delicious handmade bread that is made on the island.
On our private excursions in Gran Canaria, you will be able to taste some of these products; as well as discover the most beautiful corners of the island accompanied by a friendly local team. Do you want to come with us?
Surely you have gone hungry after reading this article. If you want to know more, on this page you will find some recipes. Thank you very much, we await your comments!