Islanders of Lanzarote take pride in the excellence of the basic ingredients from which the rich gastronomy of the island is produced. From the delicious vegetables grown in the immaculate fields of black volcanic gravel, to the wide variety of both fish and shell fish caught in the seas off the island, the quality of Lanzarote’s cuisine comes as a surprise to many visitors. The vital staple of any meal on Lanzarote are papas arrugadas – literally wrinkled potatoes – which are always served with mojo – a rich sauce of garlic, olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and a selection of spices. The potatoes, which have a very distinct almost nutty flavour, are grown in the neat fields of black gravel, the volcanic picón, which retains vital moisture in the semi desert climate. Two kinds of sauces are always served with the papas arrugadas, the spicy red mojo which is based on chillies and peppers, and the green mojo which flavoured with parsley or coriander and which is served to complement fish dishes.
The most common fish served in Lanzarote are dorada, (sea bream), vieja (parrot fish) and cherne (sea bass). Usually grilled (a la plancha), the fish will have been caught not far from the restaurant and could hardly be fresher. Gofio is another vital staple of the island’s cuisine. Made from toasted corn and maize flour, in the past it would have been ground in the many windmills which once dotted the landscape of the island. Until the end of the 19th century when bread was a luxury eaten only at special occasions, gofio would have been an important part of every meal. Today it is used to thicken and flavour soups, stocks and stews.
The “El Diablo” Restaurant in the view point of the Timanfaya National Park has stunning views over the Montañas del Fuego. Here guests can try their meat, fish or vegetables grilled over a natural vent where superheated air at a temperature of 300 degrees centigrade rises from deep within the volcano.
The Castillo De San José (lunch 13 to 15.30 – dinner 19.30 to 23.00) in Arrecife is one of the best restaurants on the island which serves excellent fish dishes (supplied by the fishermen’s cooperative just around the corner). A speciality of the house is shellfish soup with azafranillo (local grown saffron). The glass fronted restaurant has wonderful views over the port where the interisland ferries and large cruise ships dock just metres from the ramparts of the 18th century castle.
The Manrique inspired Casa-Museo El Campesino (open for lunch only, from 12.30 to 16.00) in Mozaga has a wide range of typical Lanzarote cuisine on the menu and guests can eat in the large cool restaurant set in a vast Jameo – a dome shaped space in the black lava rocks formed during the volcanic eruptions. Sancocho – a rich dish of salted fish and sweet potatoes – is a speciality here.
At the Jameos del Agua (lunch every day, and dinner served from 19:30 – 23:00 Tuesday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s) there are both set and a la carte menus within the extraordinary complex formed within the lava tube.
With more than 2,500 hours of strong sunlight per year, plus mineral rich layers of soil below the picón, the grapes produced are of excellent quality and flavour. Wine is grown throughout the island and can be found in most restaurants, hotels, village shops and supermarkets. Lanzarote wines – white, red and rose – a revelation for many visitors who wouldn´t expect to find internationally awarded wines in the island in the Atlantic.
- The local markets which take place in the villages of Haría and Tías on Saturday and Mancha Blanca, Arrecife and Teguise on Sunday. The markets are bustling events providing a great array of locally produced vegetables, wines, cheese, pastries and a variety of craftwork and souvenirs. Normal opening times are 9am-2pm.
- The folkloric festival Los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows), takes place every mid September and is when the islanders pay homage to their patron. There’s a religious procession from all points in the island, taking the devotees to a village in the Mountains of Fire. There is a huge craft fair and folkloric music and dance.
- High-energy sport competitions take place in the island every month of the year. The calendar of sport events designed by sport clubs and resorts in the island is a complete guide to high-octane activities from world champion cycling competitions to open water swimming competitions, duathlons and triathlons.
- Gastronomy festivals which showcase Lanzarote wines & traditional cuisine.
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