La Orotava Flavours
The fact that you can find so many different microclimates on one single island, and considering that La Orotava is the most extensive municipality in Tenerife, explains the diversity of typical dishes that we can find. From the soft fish of our coast to the stews, full of calories, of our mid-elevations, there is only a fifteen minute drive. This is a rich gastronomy that stands out for its simplicity, for the wisdom of its combinations, for the tasty products of the land and the sea that surrounds us, which are ready to satisfy the most demanding taste. Undoubtedly, in any proper Canary Islands table, you cannot miss any of the following three delicacies: gofio (roast and ground cereals), mojo (traditional sauce) and the good wine of our Valley, which retains the artisan grape harvest and the traditional braided cord technique, unique in the world.
There is no doubt that Guanches (aboriginal inhabitants of the island) were familiar with gofio before the arrival of the first settlers to the island. Gofio is a type of flour that is obtained by grinding the previously roasted grain of a cereal (corn, wheat, barley or even a combination of two of them), indispensable ingredient eaten with broth, milk, honey, almonds ... which continues surprising us today for its high nutritional value.
Mojo is a sauce with two main varieties: ‘mojo verde’ (green mojo) made of coriander, and ‘mojo rojo’ (red mojo) or ‘mojo picón’ (spicy mojo). There are several variants of the second one, but it is usually made of garlic, sea salt, cumin, pepper, breadcrumbs, olive oil and vinegar. The first one usually accompanies fish and the second one is used with meats, always accompanied by the potatoes from La Orotava highlands, which are of unparalleled quality. The most appreciated potatoes are the ones known as ‘bonitas’ (pretty), also the black potatoes (with an ash-grey skin, and yellow and buttery on the inside). And of course, all of it served with a good wine from the Valley, volcanic flavours on your palate.
Our cheeses are usually consumed fresh, their rind is smooth and white and they have a soft and pleasant taste, and are commonly presented as an entree to the main meal. The most famous ones are white Pinolere and Benijos cheeses.
And what about fish? ‘Viejas sancochadas’ (boiled parrot fish) are an exquisite delicacy. Their preparation is simple, but it needs a special touch. The white seabream, roasted on the grill; The moray fish, fried and crisp; The famous casserole, made of wreckfish or grouper, usually accompanied by gofio mixed with the broth from a stew; The mackerel, fried; Tuna prepared with creative cuisine recipes; the limpets, grilled, baby squid, in sauce; red sea bream, comber, sea bream, megrin, octopus, saddled sea bream, forkbeard. As you can see, there is an unimaginable variety, each fish with its precise elaboration and served fresh directly from the Atlantic Ocean. Although salted fish and sun-dried fish should not be neglected.
Among meat dishes, rabbit in ‘salmorejo’ is the main protagonist of our gastronomy, with a sauce that is made with the personal touch of each cook and which is specially rooted in our town. But we can also enjoy many other dishes like: Canarian stew, succulent beef and pork stew, chickpeas, chorizo, corn hobs, potatoes, courgettes ... Worth trying! Kid meat in its different modalities, meat stew, festive meat (marinated pork) and corn hobs and ribs. And of course, now is the time to enjoy the delicious desserts from La Orotava, ‘huevos moles’ (egg yolks beaten with syrup and cinnamon), ‘frangollo’ (milk, raisins, ground almonds, egg yolks-optional-, butter, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest) , ‘leche asada’ (baked mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest) and ‘quesillo’ (rich cream caramel), homemade pastries and desserts or fruits from our Valley.
But if you do not feel adventurous, in addition to Canarian cuisine restaurants, La Orotava also counts with magnificent international cuisine restaurants: Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish or creative cuisine restaurants. You can find more details about them and their specialties in the following section, so that you can choose to your liking.