Tasty Christmas Traditions on Tenerife

Fri, December 4th, 2015 - By Andrea Montgomery

Now that Black Friday has passed and it’s December I feel it’s okay to mention Christmas, not the consumerism frenzy of it all, but some of the tasty little traditions that you’ll encounter if you choose to swap snow for sunshine this festive season.




Traditional Treats
Christmas is a time for over indulgence and Tenerife is no exception when it comes to wheeling out the Christmas goodies.

Check out any supermarket on Tenerife now and you’ll find a healthy stock of turrón on prominent display. In our local supermarket the fruit and veg has been confined to a small corner while the turrón and sweeties aisles take over. A traditional nougat cake which comes in more varieties than I can list, it’s a real Christmas favourite.




Truchas, or small pasties, are another sweet tradition on the island and again, you’ll find trays of them in supermarkets and bakeries across the island. Puff pastry filled with sweet potatoes or ‘cabello de angél‘ (angel hair) which is a rather nice name for mashed pumpkin, almond and anise, they’re the Tenerife equivalent of mince pies. Equally popular are Pastel Canario Cabello which are part cake, part biscuit made by sandwiching ‘cabello de angél‘ and almond paste between layers of puff pastry.


Pasteles Canario Cabello


Eaten at the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th, Roscón is a round cake made from sour dough, candied peel, almonds and sugar, and hidden in the cake are a porcelain figurine and a dried bean. Tradition dictates that the youngest member of the party sits under the table while the Roscón is cut into equal pieces, then he/she dictates whose turn it is to receive the next piece, themselves included. Whoever gets the figurine will be wealthy the following year, whoever gets the bean has to pay for the cake.




Musical treats
In places like Puerto de la Cruz, La Laguna and Santa Cruz, you’ll see groups of students singing Christmas hymns and carols in the streets and plazas. Known as Los Divinos, the students traditionally go from door to door, singing for their neighbours who, in return, supply them with hot chocolate, sweets, arepas and even the occasional chupito (a shot of spirit, rum usually). It’s a sort of trick or treat for adults.

Finally, some essential bits of advice if this is your first Christmas on Tenerife and/or New Year on Tenerife:

  • If you’re booking a table for dinner on Christmas Eve, make sure you refer to it as Nochebuena or they may not realise you mean December 24th. Ditto for New Year’s Eve which should be expressly requested as Nochevieja.
  • If you’re hoping to have a meal at your favourite restaurant on Xmas Eve, make sure they’re going to be open and book ahead. Many restaurants close early or don’t open at all as they’re at home with their families for the traditional Nochebuena meal.


Grapes for New Year's Eve


  • Twelve grapes at New Year are an essential accompaniment to parties, fireworks and celebrations. If you haven’t experienced New Year in Spain before, don’t be complacent about the grapes, they take a bit of eating! One grape has to be consumed for every stroke of midnight to ensure health, wealth and happiness in the year ahead. Make sure you either buy seedless or else de-seed them yourself or you’re doomed to failure.
Posted : Friday, December 4th, 2015 at 4:05 pm
Category : about tenerife
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