Eating and Drinking in Lanzarote
Those who pass the boardwalks in the tourist centres of Lanzarote will find a big choice of restaurants and bars, whereby the local restaurants with typical Canarian food are continuously decreasing. But therefore there are more and more Chinese, Maxicans and Turks; Even Mc. Donald's and Burger King are already present. In the tourist centres, the menue cards are partly written in 6 languages. If one orders his food in spanish language, one often gets a weary smile from the waiter.
What a pity, as the Canarian and the Spanish cuisine offer some specialities for which I look forward any time I am on holiday in a Canarian island. Of course, one gets fresh fish that wasn't caught far away in most of the restaurants. But the cooks of the island can also roast and/or barbecue meat in an excellent way. One should always order Papas arrugadas with fish or meat. In the local restaurants, one gets these boiled potatoes with the respective mojo-sauces automatically served; unfortunately, in the tourists locals it is continuously getting more ususal to serve normal french fries.
The national dish Papas arrugadas
The typical national dish of Lanzarote and/or the Canarian Islands are the papas arrugadas (= wrinkly potatoes), that are served in the local restaurants to all fish or meat dishes. Papas arrugadas are little unpeeled potatoes with a salt-crust that are dipped in a mojo-sauce. Of course, either the skin as also the salt-crust is eaten too!
The preparation of the potatoes is very easy: first the potatoes are thoroughly washed but not peeled. Than they are boiled in sea water or very salted water as long as the water evaporates and a salt-crust is deposited on the skin. These salty potatoes are then further boiled without adding any additional water until the skin slightly wrinkles. That's it!
The typical Canarian mojo-sauces
What would be a Canarian dish without the mojo-sauces? A fish or a piece of meat without a choice of mojo-sauces is inimaginable, least of all if some Papas Arrugadas are served with it! Normaly, one gets two or three potties with different mojo-sauces, the red and green one always, sometimes also the white one.
The red sauce mojo picón is the hottest of all sauces; sometimes it is hellish hot, so that afterwards one has to extinguish strongly. The heat is obtained from red chilis or pepperonis. The green sauce mojo verde to the contrary is pleasantly mild and nutty. The sauce gets its green colour from the green peperoni or peppers. The white mojo is rather creamy than condimental; it is mainly made of mayonnaise and garlic.
Of course, each mojo has some more ingredients; And each cook thinks of course that his mojo with its individual mixture of ingredients is the best of the whole island.
Wine of Lanzarote
If one crosses the dry island by car will hardly believe at first that Lanzarote is the second wine producer of the Canarian Islands after Tenerife. In the wine growing area La Geria one sees some single, caringly planted grape vines on approximately 2000 hectares and passes numerous bodegas, where one can try and buy the local wine. Then, of course, one asks oneself if it is an economical wine cultivation or a tourist gag?
In fact, wine is cultivated here by dry field cultivation (Enarenado) and produced in big quantities (several millions per year). The dry field cultivation was invented by an to act from necessity in the years 1730-1736 after the big volcano eruptions, when the fertile ground had been covered with a thick lapilli and ash coat. The principle is quite simple: funnel-formed caverns are digged into the ground and at the deepest spot, a grape-wine is planted; Within a short period of time, its roots grow down to a real fertile ground . The little lapilli balls have the same function as the hydro or seramis culture we know: they save the humidity and slowly releas it. It does not play a role if this humidity is originated by the few rainfalls, by artificial irrigation or simply by the morning dew. In order to protect the grape-vines from the permanent north east wind, a little wall is built around each single vine.
This laborious procedure of cultivation is, of course, very time-consuming, but therefore it results in a very good wine which demand is continuously increasing. As many times, the production cannot follow the big demand, it is often adulterated and stretched. Only if on a bottle the certificate of origin of Consejo Regulador Denominación de Origen is printed, it is about the real pure wine of Lanzarote.
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Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz