World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Canarian cuisine

Article Id: WHEBN0003790818
Reproduction Date:

Title: Canarian cuisine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Canary Islands, Did you know nominations/Bienmesabe, Canarian culture, Achuhucanac, Maxios
Collection: Canarian Culture, Canary Islands Cuisine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Canarian cuisine

Canarian cuisine refers to the typical dishes and ingredients in the cuisine of the Canary Islands, and it constitutes an important element in the culture of its inhabitants. Its main features are its freshness, variety, simplicity, and the richness of its ingredients (which may be a result of the long geographical isolation the islands suffered), the mix of seafood and meat dishes, its cultural influences and the low knowledge of it by the rest of the world. Canarian cuisine is influenced by other cultures, specially the (disappeared) aboriginal inhabitants of the islands and Latin American cuisine (specially after the 20th-century Canarian migration to Latin America). Some African influences still prevail as well.


  • Sauces and appetizers 1
  • First courses 2
  • Fish 3
  • Meats 4
  • Sweets and desserts 5
  • Wines and liquors 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8

Sauces and appetizers

Many small dishes are presented in the Canary Islands as appetizers, or snacks (tapas), which are known locally as enyesques.

Mojo (pronounced mO-ho) is a sauce served with many dishes, which is made mainly of oil, garlic, vinegar, salt, red pepper, thyme, oregano, coriander and several other spices. The two main kinds of mojo are rojo (red, often served with meat) and verde (green, often served with fish), even if both can be served with potatoes. Spicy red mojo is called mojo picón. This recipe is the base of the mojos of Latin America, especially Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, due to heavy Canarian emigration, and have also influenced the cuisines of the non-Hispanic Caribbean islands.

Papas arrugadas (literally, wrinkly potatoes, as a reference to the look of their cooked skin) are small unskined potatoes which have been boiled in salt water and served with mojo.

One very typical Canarian product is gofio, a flour created by grinding roasted sweetcorn, which used to be the staple food for the local population for centuries.[1] Gofio is produced locally and is added to many foods. For instance, it can be mixed with warm milk to be drank in the morning, as well as made into a dough-like food called pella that can be eaten alongside meals. Gofio can also be stirred with fish broth and onions to create a dish called gofio ensalsado or gofio en salsa.

Local varieties of cheese are popular and numerous, specially goat cheese. Both cheese from La Palma and Fuerteventura are protected by the Denominación de Origen label. Other notable cheeses are the Flor de Guía cheese and the queso tierno (tender cheese). Hard cheese is made into a paste called Almogrote in La Gomera island. Grilled cheese with mojo is sometimes served as a starter.

First courses

Traditional canarian meals usually start with a soup, in order to prepare the stomach for the meal. Among the most known soups we find:

  • Potajes are chunky vegetable soups with potatoes, and they're one of the main ways Canarian people consume vegetables. Their ingredients can vary largely, depending on the island. One of the most popular is the potage de berros (watercress soup). They can be machine blended into purees, more suitable for children.
  • Caldo de papas (potatoes soup) is a humble soup made mainly of potatoes and coriander.
  • Caldo de pescado (fish soup) usually features popular fish of the islands, like the mero (grouper), sama (common dentex) and cherne (wreckfish).
  • Rancho canario is a soup with chick peas, lard, thick noodles, potatoes and meat.


Sancocho canario with dried and cooked wreckfish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mojo and gofio.

Waters around the Canary Islands are rich with a great variety of autochthonous fish. These can be prepared in many ways, including oven roasted (sometimes covered in a salt bed), fried, marinated in various sauces, etc. Some preparations include:

  • Sancocho canario, which is a meal consisting in boiled fish with potatoes, sweet potatoes, gofio and mojo. In Tenerife, it's served in a pot.
  • Pescado seco (dry fish), that can include tollos (school shark strips served with sauce) and jareas (open and dried fish, similar to bacalhau, that are often eaten roasted).


Most widely consumed meats are pork, chicken, rabbit and goat.

  • Puchero canario is a meat-rich soup which is the Canarian equivalent to Spanish cocidos. In it; chicken, beef and pork meat are combined with chick peas, corn cobs, sweet potatoes, potatoes and other vegetables (carrot, cabbage).
  • Goat meat has been eaten in the islands since pre-Spanish times.
  • Ropa vieja (literally, old clothes), is a dish consisting of chicken and beef mixed with potatoes and garbanzos (chickpeas). Canarian ropa vieja is the father to Cuban ropa vieja through Canarian emigration.
  • Conejo en salmorejo is a traditional rabbit stew marinated in coriander sauce (not to be confused with mainland Spain's salmorejo).
  • Pork is the main ingredient of dishes such as Carne fiesta (literally, party meat), costillas con piña (ribs with corn cobs), etc.

Sweets and desserts

Canarian desserts often use simple ingredients, such as cane sugar, honey, matalahuga or matalauva (anise), almonds and traditional miel de palma (specially in the island of La Palma). Among the desserts we find bienmesabe (literally, a contraction of the Spanish phrase that means tastes good to me), which is a paste of almonds, honey and sugar often served with ice cream or cream. Frangollo is a mix of corn flour, sugar, almonds and raisins, while truchas are pastries (filled with sweet potatoes paste or cabell d'angel, for instance) that are cooked specially at Christmas time. Bienmesabe is a popular dessert in Canarian cuisine, and is served with cat's tongue cookies.[2]

In El Hierro there is a cake named quesadilla which is made with cheese. Other specialities include rosquetes (ring-shaped fried pastries), quesillo (tender cheese cake), rapaduras (cane sugar candy), Príncipe Alberto (chocolate cake from La Palma) and leche asada (milk cake). Gofio is also employed in some desserts such as huevos mole, pella de gofio (milk and gofio patty) and mousse de gofio (gofio cream).

Tropical fruits, specially bananas, are widely grown and consumed in the islands, even if they are not native species.

Wines and liquors

The wine from the malvasia grape was a product of Canarian export since the 17th century, immediately after the decline of sugar plantations and until its commerce was blocked by the British Navy in the late 18th century. Nowadays the islands produce ten protected geographical indications. Canarian Denominación de Origen wines are:

Canarian Denominación de Origen wines.


  1. ^ Juan Carlos, Rosario Molina (2007). ]Food, the invisible domain of Canarian women in Cuba [La alimentación: el dominio invisible de las mujeres canarias en Cuba (in Spanish). Ediciones IDEA. Retrieved March 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ Daft, R. (2008). Menu Del Dia: More Than 100 Classic, Authentic Recipes From Across Spain. Simon & Schuster. p. 140.  

Further reading

  • Vera, Felisa; Sosa, Remedios; Leal, Ana; Díaz, Yurena (1987 - 2004 [seventh edition]). Lo mejor de la Cocina Canaria. Centro de la Cultura Popular Canaria (CCPC). ISBN 978-8479263621.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.