I am the first to admit the Canary islands off the coast of Africa were pretty much off my radar until my Producer at ITV suggested we go and make a film about the seven islands’ attractions and of course, their food.
We chose Tenerife because it’s got the lot; arid African beaches, green, green Mediterranean forests, mountains and lunar landscapes. Most of us go to Tenerife for the beaches and sunshine but a trip inland to the heart of the island took us through monstrous fields of lava, so recent you can almost smell the sulphur. At the heart of this impressive National Park is Mount Teide. You can walk up to it, but at 18 thousand feet my film-crew and I opted for the 10-minute cable-car option. The views are amazing but it gave me my first taste of altitude sickness. In truth, I was glad to get back down to earth and head for the fantastic restaurant of chef Mariano Rodriguez Forte.
If you forego the universal burger, chips and pizza offered everywhere in Playa De Las Americas then you are almost certain to encounter the local speciality, mojo (pron. ‘mock-oh’).
THE sauce of the Canaries is used to accompany everything from fish to veg. Mojo is made from raw, cold uncooked ingredients and chef Mariano has almost forty years of experience making it. Using little more than a few lovely, fresh ingredients and a blender, Mariano knocked up this wonderfully zingy sauce for the camera in minutes. Watch and wonder!
Keep an eye out on menus for ‘Papas Negras’ – the Canaries’ bizarre wrinkly black-skinned new potatoes, with waxy yellow flesh. Delicious dipped in mojo and eaten as a snack or side dish.