Canary Islands gastronomy

The rise of the Canary Islands gastronomy

The first edition of the Congress of Gastronomic Tourism in the Canary Islands – Tenerife Culinary 2016 – closed its doors last month and still we are savoring its success: the Canarian gastronomy is in style and that is reflected in many aspects, as for example, the fact that only the restaurant industry leaves in this touristic destination more than 700 million euros each year. An amount that has grown significantly in recent years, with the help of a food sector that has been able to see the opportunity to open to the world and has done so with an astonishing success.

Mojo, potatoes, wine, majorero cheese, fried banana … The exoticism and artisanal workmanship of their best dishes are two of the keys to its success: great chefs from around the world agree, highlighting the Canarian gastronomy as one of the kitchens that has preserved its traditions and influences from its roots, including European, African and Latin American.

For these reasons and many more, the Canarian cuisine has always sold brilliantly outside and within the borders of the community, but the big push came only two years ago, when in 2014 the Association of Chefs and Confectioners of the Canary Islands was created (ACYRE Canary Islands), in just 24 months, it has more than 2,000 associates. This nonprofit organization has sought out since its inception to promote the gastronomy of the archipelago in all its varieties and local differences, always promoting the use of locally sourced ingredients and local products. To do this, its work has been present in international fairs and gastronomic congresses organizing similar events in the islands, as well as innovative training to its members.

In the last meeting of Tenerife Culinary 2016, Paul Pastor, current president of ACYRE Canarias, wanted to redound in the need to continue along this path well and with a firm spoon, uniting more chefs under its acronym, providing more training to young hopefuls and fighting inside and outside its borders to convert Tenerife into one of the great gastronomic capitals of Europe. Tenerife, in his opinion, should be a place to go not only to enjoy its flavors, but also for those who come to learn and understand them and make them. “We have products, we have cooks, we have wines, we have the desire, and we have a lot of hope,” assured Pastor during the conference held from 21 to 23 September in Costa Adeje.

A destination to learn about gastronomy

The Canaries work to be a reference to which all can look for pointers and culinary ideas. And there is no doubt that there are many efforts behind this idea. Efforts not only come from ACYRE associations or institutions such as the Cabildo of Tenerife, but also is to be seen coming from among the largest private companies in the island.

An interesting example is, in fact, the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Mencey and it’s Kitchen of Mencey, created to be a reference as a gastronomic hotel in Tenerife, where the Canarian cuisine could reach everyone, fans, experts and beginners. Even children because, in fact, they offer special cooking courses for children.

Its popularity has also reached local guests who reserve their hotel accommodation, with Mencey kitchen classroom as one of the most popular attractions during the holidays. The courses offered change every month and among the most celebrated are the Canarian cheeses, wine tastings and dishes of Canarian cuisine for gourmets: rabbit mojo, rice limpets, fish fry, the juice, the gofio, cherne with caramelized onion, assorted seafood spatters…

The basic products of the Canarian cuisine

The rise of the Canarian gastronomy has also meant a boom for its more traditional products. All produced and grown on their land, they are being promoted with more emphasis, but all the elements found in typical Canarian pantry, whether or not from the land, is being enhanced in all the culinary cathedrals of islands: hotels with 5 star restaurants, taverns and tapas bars in select areas of tourism, markets and centres of cuisine.

Many of them already have the protection of a Denomination of Origin, as in the case of wine, bananas and cheese, but there are many other products that are grown in the islands that are still to be valued as they really deserve : canary olive oil, the juice or palm honey, gofio cured cheese or Arucas cheese.

The sale of these products online is opening their borders and carrying them to the rest of the world, making it so their international appraisal rises to par with its price, the grand majority is artisan produced and are considered gourmet products.

A promising future

The large amount of support and the good results of the different associations that are being carried out in recent years predict that the style of the Canarian cuisine is not just a fad. Internet and new distribution channels have facilitated the marketing of products between the islands and outside them, opening new palates to its exquisite flavors.

The tradition goes out to conquer the world and Canary thirsts for the future with its own name, with the local aroma and flavors of life.

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