THE DINING CLUB • December 2022
Often regarded simply as a fly-and-flop spot, Tenerife has much more to offer as a holiday destination, from history and culture to food and wine. And with double Tier Points on offer when booking a package deal with British Airways Holidays, there’s never been a better time to explore the island’s culinary credentials
Eat with the locals
Canarian food is all about nourishment and fresh, locally sourced produce. The island’s climate means that you can grow pretty much any fruit and vegetables here – including avocados and coffee. Many of Tenerife’s best restaurants have focused on this zero-kilometre ethos and are now using typical Canarian products such as gofio (toasted corn or wheat flour) in innovative ways. Take Haydée near the popular resort of Puerto de La Cruz. Chefs Víctor Suárez and Alejandro Garrido take local ingredients and apply different techniques for their tasting menus, so you can expect the likes of banana kimchi and black potato stuffed with cheese and red mojo (spicy Canarian sauce).
El Calderito de la Abuela
Just up the road, you’ll find El Calderito de la Abuela, where brothers Fabián and Mario Torres serve up Canarian classics using ingredients from their garden and farm – all with spectacular views over the north coast. Order the conejo al salmorejo (rabbit in a red pepper sauce) and its famous huevos al estampida (fried potatoes with chorizo – or Canarian sweet black pudding – and broken fried eggs).
Vineyards and bodegas
“O knight, thou lack’st a cup of canary,” says Sir Toby Belch in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. What he refers to is wine from the Canary Islands, which was hugely popular in Tudor Britain. It fell out of favour for a few centuries, but local wines are firmly back on the map. This is in no small part due to innovative vineyards using long-lost grape varieties. To try some of the best (and some quirky) local wines, take a tour at Bodegas Viñátigo – its Listán Negro red wine is a spectacular expression of the grape variety.
Alternatively, head to Bodegas Ferrera, one of the few vineyards on the southern side of the Teide volcano. This family-run vineyard is 1,000m above sea level, so you’ll get awe-inspiring views as you sip on ice-cold Malvasía Aromatica white wine. If you’re not sure where to start, venture north to the Casa del Vino. Part wine museum, part tasting room, part shop, this historic farmhouse will serve you up a selection of local food and tipples.
Food and drink markets
Many towns and resorts on the island have regular markets but, for a truly gastronomic taste of Tenerife, make your way to the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where you’ll find La Recova market – or Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África to give it its full name. This two-storey market has been here since the 1940s and is the place locals go to buy fresh fruit and veg, fish, meat and more. Upstairs you’ll find a selection of stalls selling jamón and other cured meats, spices and herbs, chocolate, craft beer and flowers. The best time to come is Sunday mornings, when the fish stalls downstairs serve up their catches to hungry punters along with glasses of cava and beer. You can try everything from moray eel and parrotfish, to oysters and scallops. Suitably sated, wander around the Rastro outdoor flea market right outside, or cross the road for the solace of the TEA library and arts space and the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology.
Ecotourism and bananas
The UK has imported bananas from the Canary Islands for more than a century. In fact, the fruit ships that came into London from the islands were so prolific that No. 32 berth of the West Wood Quay of the Import Dock was renamed after the islands – we know it today as Canary Wharf. Bananas are still cultivated on the islands and, if you take any journey around by car or bus, you’ll see huge banana plantations. If you’re in the south of the island, book onto a guided tour of ecological farm Finca La Calabacera. You’ll be guided through the banana plants – don’t call them trees – and told all about how bananas grow and what makes Canarian bananas different. Plus, you’ll get to taste juices and products made with the fruit and veg from the finca. Staying up north? Pop along to Banana Eco Plantation for a stroll among the racimos (bunches).
Tenerife has long been a place of fusions: cultures, continents and cuisines. This becomes delightfully evident at Michelin-starred Nub in the stylish Bahia del Duque resort in Costa Adeje. The husband-and-wife team of Italy-born Andrea Bernardi and Chile-born Fernanda Fuentes Cárdenas combine their native cuisines to create unique tasting menus. On the vegetarian option, you’ll be offered items such as corn crème brûlée and aged onion and herb ceviche while, on the omnivore version, you’ll be treated to the likes of poularde cannelloni with almond and lemon béchamel.
If you’re staying in the resort, don’t miss Kensei from chef Víctor Planas. With views over the Atlantic from the Japanese-Canarian-style restaurant, you’ll be served innovative cocktails and 48-hour slow-cooked Wagyu beef shank and tapioca salmon eggs royale from the mesmerising open kitchen.
Book a holiday (flights + hotel or flights + car) of at least five nights for travel before 30 September 2023 with British Airways Holidays to qualify for double Tier Points.