Depending on the time of year and the date, Tenerife has a distinctive and delicious aroma as street food vendors ply their trade. Each food brings its own sights, smells and tastes to annually remind us of the season and the occasion. Here are just a few of my personal favourite street foods and the times I get to indulge in them.
As the fiesta of San Andrés approaches we can already see chestnuts for sale in supermarkets and farmer’s markets across the island. When November arrives, the harbour area around Puerto de la Cruz will nightly fire up its cooking pots sending clouds of fragrant smoke to passing nostrils. Served with a plastic cup of the year’s newest harvest of vino del país, the chestnuts are a hot and savoury delight and one of my favourite Tenerife street foods.
For me, the smell and taste of toasted almonds is perpetually associated with flowers because the only time I eat them is at the Corpus Christi flower carpets in La Orotava. The almond trees come into blossom from mid January to early February depending on the weather and you can join organised walks along the Ruta Del Almendra in Santiago Del Teide to enjoy them at their best. The nuts are then harvested in late September or early October and in orchards above Vilaflor you can join the harvest or apañada de la almendra. Toasted in big, copper pans of boiling sugar and water, the almonds are sweet and delicious.
Available any time of year and across the island, I always associate churros with the July Fiestas in Puerto when their sweet deliciousness provides a much needed sugar boost after a long day in the sun. Deep fried, finger doughnuts made from butter and flour, these sweet treats are popular right across Spain and are usually either sprinkled in sugar or dipped into hot chocolate. There are churreria vans almost permanently parked up in Puerto and Santa Cruz and if you’re in Los Cristianos, head to the famous Churreria Marcos.
Small, savoury kebabs of marinated pork, pinchos (or pintxos as they’re spelled in the Basque Country where they’re also very popular) always make me think of processions of oxen, bulls and horses. In January, at the fiesta of San Abad in the hills above La Matanza is where I indulge in pinchos along with lashings of country wine, propping up the bar of a small guachinche alongside the farmers.
Although far too sugary for my taste, the sickly sweet smell of candy floss in the air used to remind me of seaside holidays in Blackpool. Now it makes me think of Christmas in Puerto’s Plaza Charco where children wait, wide-eyed, as vendors spin their multi-coloured sugar into a giant, gossamer treat.
Category : festivals & carnivals
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