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10 things to buy in a Tenerife or Canary Islands supermarket

Updated on January 7, 2013

Food and drink to buy in Tenerife

Most people do their shopping at supermarkets here in Tenerife in the Canary Islands and I am no exception to this. I have got used to the range of what is on offer here and in any case, I like to eat local and regional foods.

Some British people on the island insist on British foods and in the resorts down south the shops and restaurants cater for them but this is not the case in the parts where the majority of the people are Spanish.

I thought I would put together a list of ten items you might like to buy at a supermarket here.

Tenerife supermarkets

Hiperdino supermarket
Hiperdino supermarket
Doughnut peaches or Paraguayos
Doughnut peaches or Paraguayos
Papas arrugadas. Image by Fer on Flickr
Papas arrugadas. Image by Fer on Flickr
Gofio with milk by Pamela Heywood.
Gofio with milk by Pamela Heywood.

Shopping for food and drink in Tenerife

There are villages on Tenerife, such as Teno Alto, that are known for the cheeses they produce made from goat's milk. There are many types of goat's milk cheese on sale on the island including semi-cured and cured cheeses. Some of the cheeses are a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk.

All these cheeses are very tasty and are often served as "tapas" snacks or are used in salads or in cooked dishes. You can also buy yogurt made from the milk of goats in some supermarkets.

At the fruit and vegetable counter there is always a range of melons for sale and watermelons are grown here and a very popular fruit. I love to eat the juicy pink flesh.

Another fruit that gets sold a lot here and I often buy is the Chinese Flat Peach, Doughnut Peach, or "Paraguayos" as they are called here on Tenerife. These unusual-shaped peaches have a great flavour and are easy to eat.

Potatoes are a crop that is widely cultivated on the island and are a very popular food. You can buy bags of small new potatoes that are locally grown and are used to make "papas arrugadas", which are wrinkly potatoes cooked in brine until the water has boiled away.

Papas arrugadas are a traditional Canary Islands dish and are served with "mojo verde" and "mojo rojo", which are green and red sauces. The first is made with coriander and parsley and the latter red sauce is made with red peppers and chillis.

Restaurants and cafés usually give you two little bowls of both types of sauce so you can take your pick or use both. "Mojo" is also good with goat's cheese.

Another traditional Canary Islands food that actually dates back to the time of the Guanches who were the people who lived on the islands before the Spanish conquest, is "gofio." This is roast cereals ground into flour.

Wheat, barley and maize flour are the usual ingredients. It gets used to thicken soups and stews and put into cakes and puddings. It can also be served as simple cereal and I like gofio mixed with yogurt and mashed banana.

Crustless sliced wholemeal bread is very popular on Tenerife and the Canary Islands where it is called "Pan integral sin corteza". I am not sure what they do with the crusts here but I am sure they get used for something.

I buy bread without crusts because it hasn't got soya flour in it. Most of the brown and wholemeal bread here does and I am trying to avoid soya. The crust-less bread slices are very big too so are great for making sandwiches.

Fish is a main source of food for many people who live on the Canary Islands, and although I don't eat meat, I do eat fish. Anchovies that are sold in tins and glass jars are a fish I buy. I love anchovies on pizza and also with pasta dishes.

A popular savoury snack that get served as tapas in bars and cafés is lupin or lupini beans. These large yellow beans are sold pickled in brine and come in glass jars or plastic sachets.

I have to admit I wondered what on Earth they were when I first saw them. I am more used to seeing lupins growing a a pretty garden flower and haven't thought of them as a food.

For those people, who are not worried about piling on the pounds and have a sweet tooth, there are a wonderful and tempting range of sweet ("dulce") pastries and cakes. Many of these have chocolate on them or in them. I sometimes get tempted to treat myself to little buns you can buy here that have chocolate chips instead of dried fruit.

Plenty of people like to drink wine with their meals and there are some wonderful locally-produced red and white wines. I prefer beer and two of the best ones available here are Reina and Dorada. Make mine a Dorada Especial, por favor!

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.


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