Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is quite an extraordinary place. That’s because the average temperature of 23°C plus 340 days of sunshine will provide for spring weather all year round. Putting aside the most impressive ecological treasures of Tenerife – the National Park of Las Cañadas del Teide, the dormant volcano Mount Teide at 3.718 meters and the Dragon Tree of Icod, which is between 600 and 800 years old – there’s also the great Canarian cuisine.

Characteristically, the island’s diet is based around fresh vegetables and fish as well as sophisticated meat dishes refined with herbs and spices. Gastronomy today is a balancing act between respecting the rich culinary heritage of the past and a desire to keep abreast of the new techniques and trends of the industry. The result is a modern cuisine with its own unique characteristics.

Among the numerous tapas, entrees and appetizers is seafood such as shrimp, fried limpets, octopus with oil, vinegar and pepper and fried moray eel. From the countryside, try the very original sweet blood sausages, peas with eggs, bacon crackling and the exquisite fried ham. If you have ever set foot in Tenerife you will be familiar with Tenerife’s famouspapas arrugadas, the wrinkly salt potatoes. These are boiled with about a quarter kilo of coarse sea salt for each kilo of potatoes for 20 minutes. Water evaporates and the salt remains. After a short drying process over the fire in the hot pan, the salt will form a white residue on the skin, giving them a slightly shrivelled look. These potatoes are typically enjoyed with red or green mojo sauces, with pepperoni or coriander respectively, which are an integral part of the cuisine of the entire Canary Islands.Queso fresco, fresh goat’s cheese, is the most popular among the traditional varieties. It is ripened for only a few days, barely pressed and drips out almost by itself. Its taste is pleasantly mild, slightly salty with a lovely fresh milk flavour. Other varieties of fresh cheeses are smoked with special woods like almond shells. Many restaurants will serve cheese as an appetizer but also to accompany the typical vegetable soups. It used to be very common to eat cheese with fruits such as grapes, figs, bananas or with the excellent Tenerife honey or sweet tomato compote.

The capital city of Tenerife, Santa Cruz in the north of the island, houses a very old market called “Mercado Nuestra Señora de África” that lures visitors with its seductive smells of fresh bread, mountains of fruit, vegetables, wine and all kinds of fresh and salted fish, olives, meat and cheese. And the best thing is, you will be invited to taste all of them!

But for a more intimate knowledge of Tenerife’s wine, why not visit one of Tenerife’s many vineyards. Bodegas Monje is one of the most famous, situated 620 metres above the sea. They produce six types of grapes in the rocky volcanic soil, reared by hand. After a visit to the cool and flavoursome cellars and walking past rows of massive chestnut wood barrels, modern tanks and a local art exhibition, you are invited to relax in the restaurant or on the terrace with an impressive 180° sea view. Here you can settle down and taste the excellent wines and the specialties of the kitchen.

Coriander Mojo

6 cloves of garlic

1 green pepper, de-seeded

1 green pepper, with seeds

One teaspoon of sea salt

½ bunch of fresh coriander

2 teaspoons of wine vinegar

2 small glasses of olive oil

Mild Red Mojo

3 cloves of garlic

1 red pepper, de-seeded

1 red pepper, with seeds

1 slice of toasted bread

1 teaspoon of sweet paprika

One teaspoon of sea salt

2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar

2 small glasses of olive oil