When making cheese is part of your gastronomy tour.

The best way to understand how hard is to make homemade cheese, you have to put the gloves on and press the rennet. Something so simple as pressing cheese it can turn in bad pain in your wrist and back.

Cheese maker pressing rennet to

As you are not trained as our wonderful cheese makers, you are going to feel pain after a few minutes pressing. These amazing cheese makers have been helping their families since they are kids. Cheese making have been in their families since they can remember and it goes back to four generation and some cases even more.

Joana is using knees and hands to press two cheeses at the time. She’s making cheese since she was 8 years old

Gran Canaria has 80 different artisans cheese maker and a lot of international recognition. Last November 2018 Gran Canaria sent 21 different cheeses samples to participate at the World Cheese Awards and won 15 medals. We didn’t need anyone to let us know we have the best cheeses but it’s good to be appreciate and promoted 😉

We know our cheeses and that is why Canary Islands population are the largest cheeses consumer in Spain and we have the largest goat cheese production in our country too. It’s no joke we have the best cheeses… 🙂

So again, leave the sun for a few hours and get lost in our amazing country side and gastronomy. Don’t you dare to leave Gran Canaria without tasting it a bit before. Buen provecho!!

Making homemade cheese

And remember, by visiting local productions and business, you are collaborating to diversify mass tourism located in touristic areas towards local areas and you are also helping our local economy. Among others you are being responsible with the impact of your visit. Thank you! Sustainable tourism is an option.

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When bottling is part of your wine tour experience

At small business you have giants probabilities to meet the maker. For me meeting the producers is always the best experience of food traveling.

Swedish couple at Marcelo’s amazing winery

Canary Islands people are well known for their charisma and welcoming manners. That is believe to have the origin of hundreds years of isolation from mainland Spain. People were expecting anyone to come to the islands to bring any news. That is probably why we are so curious and easy with foreigners too. Also our amazing weather is also believe to be another big reason of our open personality.

Farmer in Tenerife island

So now transfer all that information to our local businesses. People who truly love our traditions and are more than happy to make your day the best of you holidays. So you won’t only meet the producer, you will have many possibilities to bottle or cork your wine too.

Red wine bottling

Take a walk out of your hotel or apartment and find out about an island full of flavours and amazing landscapes, all paired with our amazing gastronomy and artisans productions. I promise you won’t forget it.

Corking tool from the 70’s

And remember, by visiting local productions and business, you are collaborating to diversify mass tourism located in touristic areas towards local areas and you are also helping our local economy. Among others you are being responsible with the impact of your visit. Thank you! Sustainable tourism is an option.

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WINE MAKING: CRAZY ROMANTICISM

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After a few years learning about wine making, I’m certainly sure winemakers are crazy. More I learn, stronger I believe it. If you would briefly know how much effort is involved in your bottle of wine, we would all make a ceremony before we open them. Do not take me wrong, I’m fascinated by winemakers. What I like most about this craziness Is that It’s absolutely bonded with romanticism. All related to winemaking is love. They talk about the vines, the grapes, their vineyards and even the bottles with pure feelings, as they were all human beings, as they were alive… Well, they are! 🙂

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Vines after pruning

It is already winter and this is the time pruning takes place. Pruning is the most important in winemaking. Why? Simple, they are preparing their babies for next harvest. Each variety, every territory or climate are some of the things they have in mind when making their vines a new cut. Yes, as they were at the hairdresser. Do not think they just cut and go? NO NO NO! Each variety is different and they have different necessities, as all of us. We should know which haircut fits us better, right? 

Getting the vines ready to be pruned

Pre pruning: Getting the vines ready for pruning

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Grown vines

 

When cutting a brunch they are making a stronger, wealthier, healthier and richer quality future vine among others. As a summary a better wine.

 

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Gran Canaria Vine sprouted back in winter

 

 

 

In the Canary Islands at some regions, the weather is warmer and that confuse our vines. In response the plants start growing and they don’t “fall asleep”, as the winemakers refer to the autumn season. You see? the vines fall asleep, isn’t that romantic? And that is also why winemakers wait until winter to prune it.

 

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Vines in Winter

 

During autumn the vines “fall asleep”, that means the salvia goes back to the trunk and routes. So the brunches are getting ready to be cut and they won’t suffer or lose energy. That is why in our archipelago our vines “cry” more. Again, they say their vines cry when the brunches tear salvia, RO.MAN.TIC!

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Loving leaf

 

 

Once I watched in a wine documentary, a winemaker who said, that he had been involved in wine making for 50 years, and he knew he would die not knowing all about it. And that got under my skin! And after six years of my amazing wine tours I understand what he meant and also their romanticism. I also hope they are as romantic in their life as they are in the field!! 😉 

 

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Re sprout vine, my wine & I

 

So I hope to keep entertaining you all with all these stories about the Canary Islands wine and make you as addicted to them as I am. So do not forget to be conscious when opening and drinking your wine and please, keep drinking local wine wherever you are! 

Long live to such a craziness.
Salud amigos!

 

And remember, by visiting local productions and business, you are collaborating to diversify mass tourism located in touristic areas towards local areas and you are also helping our local economy. Among others you are being responsible with the impact of your visit. Thank you!

Sustainable tourism is an option.

 

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WHAT ARE THOSE WASTES AT THE BOTTOM OF MY GLASS OF WINE?

There’s no better way to end a day than with a wine tasting. Where there is wine, there is a lot of joy. Always!

WINE TASTING

 

We were a party of five at a winery at South East Gran Canaria towards the mountains.At a 1000m above the sea level. As I said, our day was finishing with a wine tasting at Bodega Las Tirajanas. Having our third wine, a glass of dry rose, one of my guest pointed the sediments at the bottom of the glass. Debate on the table had been served: What are those minerals in our glass? Is this ok? Is the wine good? Some guests already knew about them and some did not.

NATURAL SEDIMENTS

You might probably have seen the same while drinking a wine before. Any white, red or even rose wine. We can’t forget that wine comes from grapes, and it is absolutely normal to find these solid remains at the bottom of our glass.

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While making wine, the winemaker transfers the wine from tank to tank in order to filter it. Some of those rests are hard to leave behind and in some cases some winemakers like to leave them there. These sediments help to keep good state of preservation. At some cases these sediments naturally develop in the bottle after certain time. They are natural solid remains from the grapes, nothing more.

rubíOnce I was back home, I looked at the picture of my glass of rose and it came to my mind the precious stone Ruby. Was it red/orange ish? I thought to myself. And I did a quick research: Mr Google! show me Ruby!. I asked my laptop as I was talking to the magic mirrow of Snow White’s step mother, the Black Witch. And there it was, and yes! it is red/orange like the sediments of my rose. And as I’m a bit curious, I couldn’t help to keep finding out a bit more about the meaning of this treasure and its colour.

Apparently orange stones that nature offers us are usually associate with happiness, energy and creativity… Stones with orange colour represents joy and sociability, gathering together its yellow colour with happiness and its red colour with passion. Wouldn’t that be another great description of “wine tasting”? On the other hand, red colour is related with passion, love, prosperity, emotions and strong feelings. Red stones are used to make your body strong and to have corauge, one of the reason they are used to get rid of insecurity and weakness. Isn’t that what winemakers do when making a better wine year after year?

Either way and after sharing my crazy thoughts with you all, I believe those sediments look pretty much as precious stones. Another reason to love wine.

 

Take the time to visit our wineries and let our winemakers and territory make you fall in love once again with your holiday’s feeling.

And remember, by visiting local productions and business, you are collaborating to diversify mass tourism located in touristic areas towards local areas and you are also helping our local economy. Among others you are being responsible with the impact of your visit. Thank you! Sustainable tourism is an option.

Follow US! 

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THE CANARY ISLANDS BANANAS

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Did I ever tell you I once got locked in a banana plantation? Well, there I was, practicing one of my favourite hobbies, finding new producers and amazing plantations such as the one I just mentioned. I had seen this plantation while driving the island with my guests and it was perfect for one of my tours.

 

BANANA PLANTATION

 

So I took my car and without hesitating, and after arriving to this amazing landscape, I walked in the field looking for someone to introduce me to the owner.

Banana tree

Banana bunch

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Exotic flowers

 

I didn’t find anyone but as soon as I step among hundreds of this peculiar plants I forgot why I was there. Have you ever seen the flower of this plant? It remains me the flower from the movie “The little shop of horror” (1960) but this one won’t eat you. It is sublime and very exotic. Among its petals grow our little bananas with a tiny flower at the end that it has to be prune one by one and by hand.

 

 

 

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Banana flower

 

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Bananas tres

 

I felt I was in a jungle and I don’t know how long I spent looking at them and taking pictures. After a long while I decided to leave as no one seemed to be there. Well, I was wrong. There I was, because the plantation door was close, and I mean locked. I started laughing, of course this was happening to me. It wasn’t hard to climb and jump out the walls though and I actually felt that I was escaping from a wild jungle.

 

 

 

Anyway, do not forget the Canary Islands bananas are sweet with a touch of citrus flavour. You can eat them raw or you can cook them. One of favourite paired are banana with local cheese. Can’t be described!

Allow yourself to visit a banana plantation and do not dare to leave the island without trying this delightful fruit that represents one of our favourite flavours, please!!

And remember, by visiting local productions and business, you are collaborating to diversify mass tourism located in touristic areas to local areas and you are also helping our local economy. Among others you are being responsible with the impact of your visit. Thank you, Sustainable tourism is an option.

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Santa Brígida, Wine and Dutch Pirates

Santa Brígida

Santa Brígida has its place in my family memories. In the Canary Islands is just like that, every family has its places, a geography of its own. The municipality of Santa Brígida is the third smallest town in Gran Canaria and it stretches mostly on the stream of the gorge Barranco Guiniguada. Santa Brígida flourishes as a bunch of pictures in my memories… its old town, warm and tiny, me and my cousins playing around the small church, the first teenager talks about love, the volcanic landscape of lapilli (picón in the Canary Islands Spanish dialect), the living silence of La Caldera de Bandama (volcanic crater), and the panoramic view of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from the Mirador del Pico de Bandama (Bandama Natual Monument).

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Bandama

Bandama takes its name from Daniel Van Dame, a Flemish trader of the XVII century, a pioneer that dare to raise grapevines in this volcanic area. Nowadays, vineyards are a characteristic symbol of Santa Brígida so that stopping by Bodegas Marcelo-Plaza Perdida, Viña La Vica y Bodega Los Lirios (Ask for their raisins!), surrounded by a volcanic landscape, is a must.

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A bit of history

However, Santa Brígida is much more than wine. Santa Brígida is pure History. Taking a look from the Mirador del Pico de Bandama to Las Isletas bay is imagine the Dutch pirate Van der Does fleet of 74 ships exchanging canyon shots with the Castillo de la Luz (La Luz castle or Las Isletas fortress), clearing out the old sand dune field between Las Canteras beach and Las Alcaravaneras by sweeping fire: a hell of fire and gunpowder.

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The Dutch pirates and the Canarian militia

The Dutch pirates found in Santa Brígida a fierce opponent: the Canarian militia. They paid a high price until they entered into the city, stole the bell of the chapel of San Telmo (Parque San Telmo) and burnt down the old city of Vegueta. Then they ran after the Canarian militia to Santa Brígida, tracking the stream of the Barranco Guiniguada; there, the militia placed in an ambush and defeated the pirates. This battle is known as La Gesta del Batán. Since then, the motto of Santa Brígida is “By Spain and Faith We Defeated the Dutch”.

 

Links:

About La Vica and Plaza Perdida wines (Spanish)

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A LAND OF CHEESE

Just a bit of history

The Canary Islands is a land of cheese. In 1341, the excellent quality of our cheese was already mentioned in the Boccaccio manuscript, an ancient historical proof about the very first settlers of the Canary Islands. Later, during the XVII and XVIII centuries, Canary cheese was exported to Europe with the wine we made here. Today we produce cheese on every single island and have 5 Protected Designation of Origin cheeses: Queso Majorero, of the island of Fuerteventura; Queso Palmero, of the island of La Palma, and Quesos Flor de Guía, de Quesos Media Flor and Quesos de Guía of the Northeast of Gran Canaria.

Canary cheese is well known by all canarians, specially these ones:

  • Queso Fresco de Valsequillo: fresh cheese.
  • Queso Ahumado de La Palma: smoked cheese.
  • Queso Ahumado de El Hierro: half-creamy smoked cheese also known as queso herreño.
  • Queso Majorero al Pimentón: semi-hard or hard cheese from Fuerteventura with paprika cover.
  • Queso Duro al Gofio: hard or cured cheese with gofio cover.
  • Queso de Flor de Guía: semi-hard cheese from vegetable curdling.

What makes special the Canary cheese is the geographical variety, the unique genetic of our goats and what and how the livestock feed.

In the Canary Islands, cheese is made in a quesería (cheese-maker), a family business traditionally connected to livestock farming where goats are the most common animals. However, cheese made only from cow or sheep milk is rare. We use to make cheese from a combination of goat, cow and sheep milk.

Cheese: which and when

The Canary fresh cheese is a perfect starter, but you can also have it for breakfast with a slice of dulce de guayaba (guava paste) on it. Yummy! You can easly find queso fresco in any supermarket, for example: Queso Fresco de Valsequillo, Queso Fresco de San Mateo or Queso Fresco Lomo Gallego.

For lunch or dinner or as an enyesque (canary word for tapa) you can taste a queso semi-duro (semi-hard), a queso duro (hard-cheese) or a queso ahumado (smoked cheese). The queso ahumado is often fried and served with marmelade or mojo verde. These cheeses can be also easly found in any supermarket: Quesos Maxorata (semi-ard, hard cheese from Fuerteventura), Quesos El Pastor Isleño (cured cheese), Quesos El Herreño (smoked cheese from El Hierro),

Remember, Canary Islands is a land of cheese and our cheeses are world class 2018.

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