When I first came to live in the south of Tenerife over 25 years ago, I had to drive for forty minutes, from near Los Cristianos to Los Gigantes, to indulge in my favourite cream cakes and afternoon tea. It wasn’t so much that I was in the habit of taking afternoon tea, as that the entire procedure was a wee adventure with a touch of nostalgia added.
The north of the island was a different matter, having for centuries been home to English ex pats, Puerto de la Cruz boasted a couple of places which were, perhaps, even more English than the Hollywood version of English-ness. In South Tenerife, however, the best we could do was those overly sweet concoctions; the sponges marinated ad nauseum in liqueur and over-generously filled with fake cream, so popular with the locals at that time.
It was a while before “cake as we know it” arrived, but gradually, confections resembling our beloved éclairs, Bavarian slices, and cream horns emerged, though you often have to search between the dulce de leche and squirty cream.
One of my favourite places is Aroma in the village of Arona. It says a lot for an establishment when you can see the gleaming kitchens beyond the interior, and staff sashay from kitchen to shop front with staggeringly mouth-watering cakes. This is no place to count calories!
Aroma is a one-off, not a part, even, of a local chain. My friends and I converge on Arona to enjoy afternoon tea or morning coffee. They come from Costa del Silencio and Costa Adeje and I arrive from El Médano, so delicious are the cakes. Here you will find Danish pastries, heavy on the fruit; Bakewell tarts (by another name) as light as air; dense brownies and fruit slices as well as savoury treats.
Although cake shops and cafés have sprung up around the south over the years, what they generally lack is somewhere attractive and enjoyable to sit whilst you indulge. The interior of Aroma is, well, colourful. It’s one of those quirky mixes of décor, which teams zebra stripes with bright orange and yet works. In this cheerful setting, you can people-watch locals, who come to sip the excellent coffee or buy their daily bread. The staff are always upbeat and helpful, and if you want to remember that you are metaphorically light years from Playa de las Americas, you can take a stroll around the tranquil village of Arona after indulging, to work off a few calories.
Aroma, owned by pastry chef Diego Álvarez perches on the edge of the village. It’s one of those places whose plain exterior opens into an ample space when you step inside, where you find comfy chairs and couches as well as chairs and tables. It’s all interior, and, unusual for this island in the sun, there is no terrace, which makes it a great choice at this time of year, when the weather can be unpredictable and many places aren’t equipped to cope with rain.
So then, I’m back to driving – a half hour from El Médano, but only 15 minutes or so from the main south coast resorts – to get my cake fix. All I can say is that it’s worth the effort!
Category : food and drink
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