Banana Products in Tenerife

Fri, August 15th, 2014 - By Linda

If you’re as ancient as I, you’ll remember Frank Sinatra crooning, “There’s an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.” I’ve wondered, driving around the Canary Islands, if I couldn’t somehow fit the words, “They’ve an awful lot of bananas in Tenerife” to the tune, but the syllables are all wrong. Still the sentiment works.

 

Banana plantations, Tenerife

 

In common with Gran Canaria and La Palma, after tourism, bananas are Tenerife’s most famous product. The island’s northern slopes, from Buenavista to Puerto de la Cruz, are lush with plantations, as is the area around Los Gigantes in the west. Although in the south they are mostly under plastic, they still cover a big part of the landscape. The view from the Mirador de la Centinela in Valle San Lorenzo reveals acres of  invernaderos (greenhouses), stretching to Costa del Silencio and Las Galletas.

Andy described the origins, growth and nutritional value a while back. It turns out that these days that most of the production goes to the Spanish mainland, so much for the days in the early 20th century, when the UK imported so many that Canary Wharf in London was named for the archipelago.

 

Banana products

 

Sinatra sang of coffee ketchup and coffee pickles, but so far I as I know we don’t yet have banana versions! However, I have seen banana liqueur, bananas in chocolate, banana cake, dried bananas, jewellery and books made from the leaves, and I’ve seen those shady leaves used as terrace coverings. Last night I enjoyed banana ice cream, and a glass of the beverage which began this musing, the island’s latest offering – banana wine!

 

Banana wine

 

Banana liqueur has long been around, but banana wine is a new venture. Called Platé, apparently it isn’t a wine, strictly speaking. It is an alcoholic drink made in the same way as wine, but using bananas instead of grapes. It might be an acquired taste, and it certainly doesn’t go with everything, but I noted that local cake shop chain, Pastelería Diaz stock it, and it struck me that, well-chilled, it would be delightful with cakes! I found it in the little greengrocer/deli in Calle Atlantico in El Médano and in La Cafeteria la Paz in Vilaflor, and I noted on their website that they also supply prestigious Restaurante Lucas Maes in the north. Far less sweet than banana liqueur, I would definitely give it another go with dessert – banana split maybe.

So far I haven’t found Platé in a supermarket, in fact, where to buy genuine Canarian banana products isn’t, perhaps, that easy. Small specialist shops and local markets are your best bet. Banana jam usually turns up at farmers’ markets and craft fairs, like Pinolere; jewellery and notebooks on market stalls (though not always local). Even those yummy chocolate-covered banana treats aren’t to be found everywhere, though they do have them at Reina Sofia airport, so you can always stock up on your way home!

 

Bananas

 

Recently, on visits to UK, I’ve been doing just that, because at the airport they also have banana cakes and gift boxes of fresh bananas too. My old dad loves Tenerife bananas, and though I’ve taken him chocolate ones and liqueurs over the years, these fresh ones are a special treat now that he can’t get Canarian bananas in England. So that other song, “Yes, we have no bananas,” isn’t true – we do, and many ways to use them!

Posted : Friday, August 15th, 2014 at 1:08 pm
Category : about tenerife
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One Response to “Banana Products in Tenerife”

  1. Linda says:

    And talk about bad timing? Just yesterday I walked into my local supermarket and they now have banana crisps! They are very tasty, savory, not sweet, must be less calories than normal potato chips, surely!

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