Flavors of Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura Food
Lovely Fuerteventura is home to more than just pretty sights.

If you’d asked me two weeks ago to tell you about the typical foods of Fuerteventura, I wouldn’t have known where to begin. Small, sweet bananas rang a bell, and I knew that the slightly spicy mojo picón sauce was definitely from the Canary Islands. I figured that, being an island, fish would be a big source of nutrition but I had no idea which ones.

After only 48 hours in Fuerteventura I am far from an expert on Canarian cuisine, but I can tell you about the different Canarian specialties that I was able to try. Apart from my own research and restaurant hunting, we had an advantage as guests of the Hotel Elba Palace Golf. We were sampling their Gourmet & Volcanic Break, which includes wine tasting, cheese tasting, and an entire day trip dedicated to “The Flavors of Fuerteventura”. While I’m not generally one for organized excursions, this was a fantastic way to see a large part of the island in only a day, while not having to worry about driving up and down mountains. We also got to meet some very interesting local food producers and try some great local Fuerteventura food products!

Here are my Fuerteventura food highlights:

Fresh Produce

Fuerteventura and the rest of the Canary Islands grow some interesting produce that isn’t very common on the mainland. Apart from their excellent tomatoes, the island’s farms have more recently experimented with tropical fruits like papaya, pineapple, and avocados. Read about the project here (in Spanish).

Fuerteventura food tomatoes
Bright and delicious Fuerteventura tomatoes.
Fuerteventura gastronomy
One of the most delicious things I ate was this avocado, papaya, and shrimp tartar.

Majorero Cheese

The island’s local cheese is called queso Majorero, after the island locals who are called majos. A goat milk cheese, the wheels are often rubbed in olive oil, paprika, or a mix of corn meal and wheat meal called gofio. They also make a smoked version, which was quite delicious.

Majorero cheese Fuerteventura
Two types of Majorero Cheese to try.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I am a life long fan of Spanish olive oil, and Fuerteventura is home to a gorgeous native variety called Verdial that was quite different from the intense Picual variety I usually buy . It was so incredibly delicious I had to stop myself from buying bottles upon bottles, as I knew we couldn’t bring in on our carry on luggage.

Fuerteventura olive oil Verdial
The beautiful Verdial olive trees.

Mojo Picón

The Canarian people say that every mojo picón recipe is slightly different, and I definitely believe it. This addictive sauce was served at nearly every meal we enjoyed, but was always a different color, texture, and level of spiciness. The main ingredients in the red mojo picón (there is also a green version) are olive oil, vinegar, paprika (or a dried pepper), and garlic.

Get the recipes! Mojo picón and mojo verde

Mojo Picón sauce fuerteventura
The slightly spicy mojo picón sauce.

Papas Arrugás

The perfect compliment to a good mojo picón sauce are perfectly cooked papas arrugás (technically, papas arrugadas). The translation would be wrinkly potatoes, and that is essentially what they are. They were traditionally cooked in super salty seawater and then baked until wrinkly. The smaller the potatoes, the better the taste.

Papas Arrugadas wrinkly potatoes Fuerteventura Canary Islands
Our ever so yummy papas arrugás.

Fresh Fish

While goats and cattle were more important than any sort of fishing industry for most of the island’s history, that certainly doesn’t mean that people in Fuerteventura don’t eat fish! On the contrary, fresh fish is found throughout the island and it is typical for a restaurant to advertise their catch of the day at market price. I’d highly recommend the Parrot Fish (Vieja) and the Gilthead Bream (Dorada).

Fuerteventura fish
Delicious grilled fish with garlic.

Goat

For many years Fuerteventura’s main industry was goat and cattle farming, and many families throughout the island still raise goats. This has resulted in some of Fuerteventura’s most delicious and traditional dishes– rich goat stews and braised goat dishes. I love goat, and would seriously go back to Fuerteventura just to eat this dish all across the island!

Fuerteventura goat stew
Tender braised goat was among my favorite tastes of Fuerteventura.

Dessert Liquors

Goat milk liquor or honey rum? A tough choice indeed, as both options are perfect for an after dinner drink.

Ron miel honey rum fuerteventura
The liquors of Fuerteventura– dangerous!

Gofio

Gofio is a mix of toasted cornmeal and wheatmeal that was once a staple of the Canarian diet. Back when bread was a luxury, a bit of gofio mixed with water went a long way. Nowadays, gofio is used as a thickening agent in some of the island’s famous stews, and is also the start ingredient in the popular gofio mousse, a very sweet dessert found in local restaurants.

Mousse de gofio
Mousse de gofio

Aloe Vera

While not exactly common, I might as well mention my first experience with eating aloe vera. Fuerteventura is home to the largest aloe vera factory in Europe, and apart from making some of the best skin creams in the world, some aloe vera is also destined for our  stomachs! We tried it confitado, basically covered in sugar like the fruit in most trail mixes.

Aloe Fuerteventura
Aloe vera confit

We may have only spent 48 hours in Fuerteventura, but we were eating or drinking for most of it. These were the highlights, but we sampled much more, and left plenty of room for our next visit . If you visit the island looking for authentic and local Fuerteventura food, it is fairly easy to find. But be careful, as the beach areas are filled with international restaurants and tourist traps!

What flavor of Fuerteventura would you like to try?

 

We were guests of the Hotel Elba Palace Golf, but all opinions of Fuerteventura food are our own. 

Comments

  1. You have me dribbling over my keyboard here.

    Am heading back in the spring, and will be eating my bodyweight each day whilst there. Oh, and imbibing large quantities of ron miel too!

    Fab photos Lauren!!

    Elle xx

  2. i really love reading all about the food you eat all over spain! this all looks delish! i’m a long-time follower, but first-time commenter. cheers!

  3. All that looks excellent! If I had to choose one, I’d go with the goal milk liquor as I’ve never heard of anything similar! Can you find foods from the Canary Islands on the mainland?

    1. Hi Jenna,

      It isn’t easy when dining out, but Ron Miel (honey rum) is easy to find in any supermarket. You could likely find the cheese at a local cheese shop and mojo picón is sold in lots of specialty shops and even butcher shops. But finding good papas arrugadas in a restaurant has been nearly impossible here in Madrid!

  4. Good lord! that’s quite a selection of treats you have put together. Ive been living here a while and haven’t heard of quite a few of them.

      1. Hi,
        I was there a couple of weeks back and our hotel director (Marina Playa Suites) recommended that we go for dinner in Morro Jable to a small restaurant on the outskirts. He told us that Gofio is used for all kinds of stuff, in particular as a “pick me up” when small children are not well (don’t know how that works… but hey, different countries, different remedies).

        Anyway, he made us a reservation at a small fish restaurant, where he also preordered the fish soup speciality for us – a Canarian version of bouillabaisse. It was certainly different.

        The soup came in a huge tureen, gofio (unsweetened) and pickled onions. He explained that one takes a slice of the onion, dips it in the gofio and then eats it with the soup… It was different, but so filling.
        One lives and learns….

        A couple of days later we were told about a small restaurant attached to a petrol station where you could get a portion of the islands best goat stew. I have never had goat before and had no idea what to expect.

        It was such a tender meat – not terribly dissimilar to lamb – absolutely delicious, done in red wine, shallots, garlic and thyme. A fantastic, simple mix of flavours.

        The “restaurant” was not the best looking, and definitely not the easiest to reach, but 4 beverages, 2 average tasting coffees, and some fantastic goat stew weighed in at just 16 Euros (!) for two people…

        Needless to say, I am now on the lookout for fresh goat meat here and a mega recipe to rekindle the visit!

  5. Great to see an article on Fuerteventuran produce from a foodie! Nice images too. The prawn tartar looks delicious – I bet that’d go down well with a crisp cold glass of Beronia Malvasia Seco 🙂

  6. Great post! Could you please tell where can I buy aloe vera confit at Fuerteventura? I could not really find it on the web 🙂 Thanks!

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