The neighbourhood of La Florida, located in the middle of La Orotava, celebrates its festivities in honour of San Antonio Abad and Virgen de La Esperanza, in the last week of January of each year. In addition to various religious and popular events, a unique gastronomic event is held: the traditional ‘Puchero Canario’ (Canarian Stew) preparation and tasting. This is the largest, most crowded and most exquisite and tasty stew preparation of the entire Canary Archipelago.
For this celebration more than 60 large stainless steel pots are needed, with a capacity of more than 100 kilos, producing about 7,000 kilos of stew. Hundreds of kilos of vegetables (cabbages, pumpkins, onions, courgettes, leeks, carrots ...) are used, together with potatoes, ‘gofio’ (roast and ground cereals), meats and firewood.
The viands are tasted by thousands of people who also enjoy, in this singular gastronomic event, the ‘Parranda del Puchero’ musical group performance. All this makes of it a consolidated tourist attraction that delights visitors.
The ‘Maninindra’ Elderly People Association, the ‘San Antonio Abad’ association and the ‘Jeito’ Youth association play a very important role in the organization of this event. They count with the collaboration of neighbours and other groups in the neighbourhood. Special public transportation services are organized to provide convenient access to the La Florida neighbourhood.
This is the ‘Puchero Canario’ celebration history:
A La Florida neighbour called Doña María, Don Cipriano’s wife, started this tradition some fifty years ago. She had a large family and, at that time, their house was located beside La Palmera, a plot of land that had been used for several years as the site for the celebration of the cattle fair. This fair attracted families and stockbreeders. From the early hours of the morning and among stands and ‘parrandas’ (spree bands), they spent an endearing day in good company until dusk. Doña Maria, coinciding with the festivities, would gather her family together and put a large pot of stew on the fire. Preparing abundant food was something she always did, as one of her children comments. In 1979 Doña Maria invited some of the stockbreeders who still had not eaten that day, to accompany her and her family, and they had a good time sharing that stew she prepared each year. Word spread among stockbreeders very quickly and in the following year festivities an extra pot was put on the fire to invite them again. And so it was that in the third year, the festivities organization committee and some neighbours decided to put five large pots full of stew on the fire in front of the old school. The stew was no longer distributed only among stockbreeders, but also among neighbours, friends and visitors, as it was clear all those who had tasted it in previous years had enjoyed the experience very much.
In those first years the stew was cooked in the surroundings of the cattle fair. Over time, it was moved to the estate where the La Florida school is nowadays located. As the construction of the new school began, the site for the stew preparation had to move to the sports centre area, where it remained for several years. In the late nineteen eighties and early nineteen nineties it was transferred again to a plot of land next to Don Cristóbal Martín’s house, an area that was not urbanized even in those years. As the neighbourhood grew and due to the media repercussion that year after year the stew was gaining because of its unique flavour, the way it was elaborated and the increase in the amount of visitors, it was moved to other private plots of land. Nowadays it counts with a permanent location at the Jesús Luis Perez street. Since the inauguration of the Neighbourhood Association, the preparation of the stew takes place in its premises.