Gastronomy is the best way to discover local culture. The fresh, simple and truly hearty food of La Palma is a great mixture of Latin American and Spanish tastes.
La Palma as one of the seven Canary Islands is located off the west cost of northern Africa. By 1500 the Spanish explorers conquered the Canarias that were inhabited by natives called Guanches. Even though the race of the Guanches was quickly wiped out after the Spanish conquest, a hint of the culinary culture of the aboriginal inhabitants is still present in the unique cuisine of the Canary Islands. During the next centuries the islands became overpopulated as a central hub of trade between Europe and America. Thus the locals were motivated to go overseas and settle down there. The main destinations were Cuba, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. This dynamics have resulted in a constant cultural exchange.
Gastronomy of the Canary Islands
The gastronomy of the islands mainly has been influenced by the Spanish cuisine, but as we said the impact of the native inhabitants and several Latin American cultures are also significant. In addition to those, northern African tastes are also present in the rich cuisine of the Canary Islands. The traditional Canarian food can be described simply in three words: fresh, simply, and delicious. The local dishes comprise grilled fish (such as tuna, parrot fish, vieja, swordfish, and sea bass) or meat (such as pork, chicken, rabbit and goat), soups, stews, cheeses, vegetables and fruits and great wines of course.
Mojos: The mojo sauces are served with potatoes, meat or fish. The two most common types are the mojo rojo (from red pepper) served with meat and the mojo verde (from coriander, cilantro or parsley) served with fish. The spicy version of red mojo is called mojo picón.
Papas arrugadas: The so called wrinkly potatoes are the most well-known side dish. The high quality local potatoes which gain their texture and taste from the volcanic climate make that simple dish amazing. The potatoes are boiled in water with a lot of salt for half an hour after then the locals add more salt over the potatoes until they dry. The wrinkly potatoes are served with mojos.
Gofio: Gofio is a type of flour made from roasted grains of wheat, maize or corn. The uses of gofio seem infinite: it’s used to make many foods from dumplings for soups to ice cream or drinks. The taste of gofio could be strange at the first time for foreigners but it is truly loved by locals.
Sancocho canario: This popular fish dish is made with parna, a type of bass, boiled with plain or sweet potatoes and served with a spicy sauce, normally mojo picón or mojo verde.
Puchero canario: This is a meat-rich soup which is the Canarian equivalent to Spanish cocidos. It contains meat (chicken, beef and pork) and chick peas, corn cobs, sweet potatoes, potatoes and other vegetables such as carrots or cabbages.
Queso palmero: One of the most important products of La Palma is its well-known, awards-winning cheese. The queso palmero is a slightly smoked goat cheese from unpasteurised milk of the native goat breed. This soft and shiny white cheese is eaten fresh or grilled with the beloved mojo sauce as a tapa or added to other dishes such as stews or other specialities from the Canarias.
Charming restaurants in the island
- If you are looking for a lovely quite place with traditional Canarian food try Restaurant Enriclai, Santa Cruz de la Palma. The restaurant has an extraordinary 200-year-old building that undoubtedly adds to its charm.„This is one of the few restaurants where you enter as a stranger and leave as a friend!”
- Every meat-lover should try Restaurant Chipi-Chipi, Santa Cruz de la Palma that serves mostly BBQ dishes with the typical Canarian papas arrugadas The restaurant has a beautiful garden and plenty of outside table that is perfect for a bigger group of friends.„Delicious, simple, fun dining experience!”
„The restaurant is surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants and little cages with parrots and birds for the kids, love love love love!”
- Located in the mountains overlooking the sea, Restaurant Tasca Catalina, El Paso offers a wide variety of tapas made with fresh products of La Palma.
„If there’s a food paradise on earth, then it’s in Tasca Catalina!”
„Tasca Catalina is a romantic restaurant with an amazing view!”