World Tapas Day: A taste of the Canary Islands’ culinary delights

World Tapas Day this Sunday in the Canary Islands showcases the archipelago's diverse and rich culinary tapas traditions, featuring unique local ingredients and recipes that are much more than just an appetizer.

This Sunday, 16th June, marks the celebration of World Tapas Day, an event that shines a spotlight on Spain’s beloved culinary tradition. While tapas are a staple across Spain, the Canary Islands offer a unique twist on these small dishes, reflecting the archipelago’s rich culinary heritage. Though ‘tapeo’—the art of eating tapas—is not as embedded in the culture here as it is in regions like Andalusia, the Canary Islands still boast an impressive array of tapas, each telling its own story of local flavors and traditions.

A Culinary Journey Through Canarian Tapas

A taste of the Canary Islands culinary delights

The Canary Islands’ tapas scene is a vibrant mix of indigenous ingredients and traditional Spanish influences, creating a diverse culinary landscape. Here are some of the most beloved tapas from the islands, perfect for those looking to explore the flavors of this unique region:

Celebrating World Tapas Day: A taste of the Canary Islands' culinary delights

  1. Papas arrugadas con mojo picón: Often hailed as the quintessential Canarian tapa, these “wrinkled potatoes” are boiled in heavily salted water and served with mojo picón, a piquant sauce made from blended red or green peppers, garlic, cumin, and olive oil. This dish is a simple yet profound representation of Canarian cooking.
  2. Gofio amasado: Gofio, a toasted flour made traditionally from corn or wheat, is a staple in Canarian pantries. Gofio amasado involves kneading gofio with water and salt, occasionally enhanced with almonds, sultanas, or onions. This versatile mixture can be found in both sweet and savory forms across the islands.
  3. Grilled cheese with mojo: The Canary Islands are renowned for their cheeses, particularly those made from goat’s milk. This tapa features locally produced cheese, either roasted or grilled, and served with a side of mojo sauce. The creamy cheese paired with the tangy mojo makes for a delightful snack.
Celebrating World Tapas Day: A taste of the Canary Islands' culinary delights

  1. Cherne: A type of grouper, cherne is cured in salt and then sun-dried, often served as an appetizer alongside almogrote, a spicy spread made from aged cheese, peppers, garlic, and oil. This fish tapa showcases the island’s excellent seafood and its traditional preservation techniques.
  2. Carne fiesta: As its name suggests, this “party meat” tapa is popular at celebrations, consisting of pork marinated in garlic, paprika, salt, oregano, and vinegar, then fried until crispy. It’s a flavorful dish that captures the festive spirit of the islands.
  3. Ropa vieja canaria: Despite its less-than-appetizing name meaning “old clothes,” this dish is a beloved staple, made with shredded meat, chickpeas, potatoes, and vegetables, all stewed together with local spices. It’s a hearty and comforting dish that speaks to the islands’ history and culture.
  4. Morcilla dulce: A sweet version of the traditional Spanish blood sausage, this tapa includes almonds, sultanas, and sugar, offering a sweet-and-spicy flavor profile that stands out from its mainland counterparts.

How to Celebrate World Tapas Day in the Canary Islands

Celebrating World Tapas Day: A taste of the Canary Islands' culinary delights

For those in the Canary Islands this Sunday, or for anyone planning to visit, embracing the local tapas scene offers a delicious way to connect with the islands’ culture. Whether you’re sampling papas arrugadas at a seaside café, enjoying carne fiesta at a local fiesta, or preparing your own tapas at home, the diverse flavors of Canarian tapas are sure to delight and inspire.

As World Tapas Day approaches, locals and visitors alike are encouraged to dive into the vibrant world of Canarian tapas, exploring the rich culinary landscape that makes the Canary Islands a unique and unforgettable gastronomic destination.

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