Tea and scones Tenerife style in the sunny Canary Islands

Mazar Ribah photos

Tree Tomato
Tree Tomato
Mazar Ribah window
Mazar Ribah window
Wild flowers
Wild flowers
Emily
Emily
Honeysuckle
Honeysuckle
Jam scones and cakes
Jam scones and cakes
Mazar Ribah garden
Mazar Ribah garden
Cape gooseberry
Cape gooseberry

A very English experience on a Canary Islands hilltop in Tenerife

Last time I went to the Agua Garcia area to visit my friends Emily and Fernando it was, aptly for a village with water in its name, a very wet day but not so on this occasion when the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was hot. I had been invited to a tea party at the Mazah Ribah cultural centre and the weather was ideal for such an event - balmy and warm.

Tacoronte

I get off the bus at the turn off for Tacoronte and walk uphill to Agua Garcia and then on to Baranco las Lajas where my friends live. Because the road is very steep and it was a hot day I thought I would try an alternative approach and took another road leading that way that looked more on a level. I was wrong though, because this way also went steeply uphill and I was sweating profusely and grateful for any breaks along the way that presented themselves.

Wild Flowers

I saw lots of pretty wild flowers growing alongside the road and so took a breather to admire them. There were masses of red poppies just like you used to get in British cornfields, there was the everlasting pea rambling wherever it could and all sorts of other blooms making a positive blaze of colour. In one spot there was a huge clump of the gorgeous Red Valerian growing in a crack at the side of the pavement.

Eventually I arrived at the road that takes you up into Barranco de las Lajas to the house where my friends live, which is painted green. The whole area is full of lush greenery and I even spotted a big patch of dock leaves at the roadside, just like the ones in Britain that are a good remedy for stinging nettles. Honeysuckle was in bloom in a hedge looking just like it does back in the UK.

Tree Tomato

I saw a very large bush of the Tamarillo or Tree Tomato (Cyphomandra betacea) growing in a garden and it had fruit and new blooms at the same time. I must admit I felt tempted to pick one of the juicy red fruit but instead of doing so I am making my confession to you.

At last I arrived at my friends' house, which is at the top of yet another hill and rather than have a hot cup of tea I quenched my thirst with a cold can of Dorada. Emily took me to see the garden behind the house and it was definitely my sort of garden! I would give it Tenerife garden of the year award and top marks, I said.

Chickweed

What I so loved about her patch of land was the way it was all so wild and and full of vegetation. I could see useful weeds I know from the UK, like Chickweed (Stellaria media) that makes a great addition to salads and the dainty and also edible little Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris ) with its tiny heart-shaped seedpods.

Emily showed me a large bush of Cape Gooseberries (Physalis peruviana) and we enjoyed eating some of the tangy fresh fruit shrouded in their Chinese lantern-like outer husks.

Fennel

A plum tree was covered in young green fruit ripening in the Tenerife sunshine and in the corner there was a homegrown Avocado tree. There was a huge clump of fragrant Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) flourishing against the wall and it put to shame any of the other examples of this herb I have seen anywhere else on the island.

Chayote

Emily gave me a vegetable I had not seen before, which is called a Chayote (Sechium edule). It is a rambling vine and a cousin of the marrow and cucumber but is a bit prickly and also has the unusual habit of sprouting from the fruit. My friend suggested I might like try growing one and I would, but when I got it home later on and planted it my cat Little Boy thought it was some sort of animal or a toy and kept hooking it out of the pot and throwing it about on my balcony!

By now the guests had started arriving for the tea party, which was held out on the patio in the shade of yet another plum tree. People sat chatting on the steps in the dappled sunlight or at the little tables, which had cakes and scones with jam and cream.

There were all sorts of types of tea to choose from with herb teas and green teas and iced teas and teas I had never heard of. But I was feeling peckish and ignoring my waistline I tucked into some cake and a very yummy chocolate mousse.

I thought to myself how unusual it was to be doing something so very genteel and British. With the plum trees and the honeysuckle in bloom in the hedge it was like an English country garden but this was in a village in the mountains of Tenerife. Anyone for another cuppa?

Footnote: First published in the Tenerife Sun

© 2008 Steve Andrews

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Comments 8 comments

Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 8 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

The first time I had scones was in the countryside of England, when my wife and I were on our honeymoon. We stopped into the small cottage that looked like something out of Shakespeare's time and sat at a table for two inside the hollow of a huge fireplace!

The proprietor made her own jams as well, marmelades and jellies, some of them from fruit trees in the yard behind the cottage. Naturally we loved the brief moment of pure joy and the marvelous experience of eating warm scones made just previously in the kitchen that sat behind the small diningroom, and the memory still is with me.

I can almost smell the fresh aroma of the scones, and taste the sweetness of the marmelades!


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thanks for your happy memories, Chef Jeff!


pgrundy 8 years ago

I had scones once in Cornwall. I took a day trip there with a friend and we had scones with clotted cream and jam. We don't have clotted cream in the US and I will never forget it. I'm sure it's very bad for us but oh my god it was heaven.

Thanks for another cool Tenerife hub!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Pam, we do have clotted cream in the U.S. Look for shops that sell Brit goods and foodstuffs. The clotted cream will be in sealed jars in their fridge, but it'll be real. And EXPENSIVE. The workaround (which I got from a transplanted Brit) is take a stick of REAL butter, not margarine, let it soften a bit, then add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and whip with mixer until the sugar is no longer "grainy". Of course it won't be white like the real stuff in Devon and Cornwall, but will taste close enough that you won't care!


Karen Ellis profile image

Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

Sounds like it was a lovely visit - love scones ( a real comfort food).


Bard of Ely profile image

Bard of Ely 8 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal Author

Thank you, pgrundy, JamaGenee and Karen, for your feedback here! And JamaGenee, thank you in particular, for the info on clotted cream in the US!


pgrundy 8 years ago

Hey JamaGenee, I'll check that out! Not like at this age I need to be eating any clotted cream... but wow, it sure was good. Yum.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 8 years ago from Central Oklahoma

CAUTION: Probably a good idea to start with just one TBSP of sugar and then add a little at a time until you find the sweetness that suits YOU.

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