Restaurant El Molino Blanco, New Management Focus on Food

Fronted by its eponymous, landmark windmill, El Molino Blanco has been one of Costa Adeje’s favourite restaurants for many years but in recent times, its reputation for food hasn’t been keeping par with its popularity as a live music venue. Now under new management, we popped along to see if fresh hands at the helm were steering an improved gastronomic course.

El Molino Blanco

Tucked away in a beautiful, mature garden with outside terrace, a covered dining room festooned with traditional Canarian agricultural implements and a stage and dance floor, El Molino Blanco is a taste of rustic Tenerife in the heart of Costa Adeje, with an ample side order of entertainment. For the thousands of people who come back year after year, this isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a dining night out.

After dark, soft lighting illuminates El Molino Blanco’s leafy courtyard setting to create a romantic ambience in which to enjoy live music and dancing along with the restaurant’s burgeoning culinary delights. But we opted for an indulgent lunchtime treat at celebrity table 32 housed in its rustic arbour in the garden.

The Main attraction, The Menu at El Molino Blanco

Featuring traditional Canarian and Spanish dishes such as paella, garlic chicken, garlic prawns and carne fiesta (marinated pork) alongside a handful of fish options and a mouthwatering choice of steaks, lamb and pork, the menu doesn’t challenge palates into uncharted territory, choosing instead to give traditional favourites like steaks and strogonoff a cooked-to-perfection makeover. Apart from vegetarian paella and some of the starter dishes, there’s little on the menu for veggies in the family but the restaurant assures us that, within reason, the kitchen is happy to cook meat-free requests.

El Molino Blanco

After our usual dithering over choices that would test the patience of any waiter, the smiling Pedro took our order. To start we chose prawns in garlic, garlic bread with tomato and, flying in the face of our instincts, prawn cocktail, a dish that would never normally make it onto our menu choices. For mains, I ordered Sea Bass with Green Sauce and King Prawns while Jack opted for Breast of Duck with Fruits of the Forest Compote.

El Molino Blanco

It’s fair to say the prices on El Molino Blanco’s menu are not for the faint hearted but when the opening dishes arrived it was clear to see that the new management aren’t scrimping on portion size or on the quality of ingredients. Happily, the beautifully presented prawn cocktail was a long way from the tired, swimming in thousand-island dressing specimens of the ’80s, offering instead a delicately flavoured mêlée of meaty prawns threaded with thin slivers of lettuce, dressed in a light mayonnaise sauce, topped with succulent king prawns and set on a pineapple ring surrounded by fresh mango, kiwi and orange. The prawns in garlic were big, fat and juicy in their sizzling saucer of olive oil flavoured with thin slices of garlic and the bread was a warm garlic ciabatta topped with sweet, diced tomatoes.

El Molino Blanco

Our taste buds now on full alert and the culinary bar set high, the main courses proved to be equally generously sized and creatively presented. My sea bass was cooked to melting perfection with firm flesh that was moist, lightly flavoured in paprika and drizzled in a pesto sauce. Jack’s duck was lean, tender and infused with a rich, gamy flavour which reached new heights with the fruits of the forest compote. Both dishes were served on a bed of boiled potatoes and fresh spring vegetables cooked to optimum, al dente texture. Although we both struggled to clean our plates, we battled on, refusing to leave a single tasty morsel.

El Molino Blanco

There was no question of us still having room for more which is why it was such a surprise when I heard myself agreeing to a ‘small selection” of desserts in the form of a tasty assortment of tiramisu, crêpes Molino, lemon cream cake and crème caramel. It was however no surprise that the dessert defeated us and we waved a white flag over the paltry remains.

El Molino Blanco

El Molino Blanco Summary
If you’ve tried El Molino Blanco and been disappointed by the food, now’s the time to give it another look. The new management have raised the standard of dining to a level that’s more in keeping with the restaurant’s glory days. As a venue for parties, weddings or just a great night out, it now has the culinary muscle to match its reputation for excellent entertainment and will have guests spilling out into the Adeje night air vowing to return before their holiday’s over.

Tenerife Magazine’s five star rating for El Molino Blanco
Décor – 4 stars. A fabulous garden and enclosed courtyard setting with mature trees and plants in the heart of Costa Adeje with a traditional, Canarian rustic feel which raises to sexy when the sun goes down and all the little lights come on.
Menu – 4 stars. A nice combo of traditional Canarian – a rare thing in Costa Adeje – and family favourites with a strong emphasis on quality over quantity of choice. New menus in the pipeline promise better descriptors and some exciting new additions.
Food – 4 stars. Ingredients are fresh, top notch quality, cooked with competence and presented with flair. Meat lovers will struggle to choose between prime cuts of beef, pork and lamb while fish and seafood addicts can look forward to some first rate culinary catches.
Service – 4 stars. We were served by as many different waiting staff as we had courses and each one was smiling and professional. There’s an unhurried atmosphere and no wait between courses but we have yet to test them on a busy Saturday night.

El Molino Blanco

Where, when and how
Avenida de Austria, 5, San Eugenio Alta (alongside Aqualand), Costa Adeje; +34 922 79 62 82; open daily 1pm to midnight.
Prices
Tapas average €3.80; starters average €12 – €14; main courses average €20. Our selection of desserts was €18. Lunchtime dining (table must be vacated by 5pm) is discounted by 20% and early evening ((table must be vacated by 7pm) by 15%. Our bill for three courses and drinks came to €103.87 discounted to €83.11.

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Finding Shopping Paradise in Icod de Los Vinos

Ask your average visitor to Tenerife or ex-pat resident what they know about Icod de los Vinos and they’ll tell you it’s the home of the Millenium Drago Tree. Those more familiar with the area might well add that it has the picturesque cove and tranquil beach of San Marcos. But ask a Canario what they know about Icod de los Vinos and they’ll tell you it’s the best place on Tenerife for shopping.

With the Three Kings safely returned to the East and shopkeepers all over the island taking a red marker pen to their price labels, Tenerife Magazine heads off to the picturesque town of Icod de los Vinos to find out why Tinerfeños believe there’s a whole lot more to Icod than just a drago tree.

Shopping in Icod de los Vinos
Strolling down the busy pavement of Calle Key Muñoz in Icod de los Vinos, my eye is drawn by a sign which tells me I can buy clothes imported from Miami and New York from just €9.95. Popping inside, my fingers are itching to reach for the credit card as tailored dresses and skirts, so different from the usual, mass produced merchandise that fills the racks of major chain stores, yearn to be tried on.

My shopping senses awakened, I decide to take a look down Calle San Sebastián where I”M stopped in my tracks by the sight of exquisitely tailored Italian imported dresses wearing the sort of price label they would presumably not be seen dead in, were they still to be in Italy. Further investigation reveals an entire shop dedicated to French and Italian couture at prices that were eyebrow raising before the sales and are now just too good to ignore.

The trouble with buying fashionable little Italian numbers is that you simply have to have shoes and a handbag to match, and naturally some new earrings, maybe a necklace…

To those in the know, Icod de los Vinos is the place to come when you want to refresh your wardrobe, step into this season’s shoes, stock up on some fine wines or find the perfect gift for special occasions without busting the budget. In other words, Icod is a shopper’s paradise.

One of the oldest settlements on Tenerife, after the conquest Icod was quickly recognised for its fertile valleys. From 1496 sugar plantations were planted across the area attracting wealth and settlers to make it their home. But in the 17th century the sugar trade collapsed and the first vines that came to lend their names to the area were planted. Today the municipality of Icod de los Vinos produces excellent wines, predominantly cultivating the listan grape variety, under the Ycoden-Daute-Isora denomination label where, across eight municipalities, almost a million kilos of grapes are processed.

The wealth generated by the wine industry distilled a culture of commercialism in Icod de los Vinos which is evident in the 200 or more shops that make up one of the oldest shopping centres on Tenerife. Beneath the benign gaze of Mount Teide and the traditional balconies, family businesses have thrived here for decades. Keeping their prices low and their stock constantly changing, the shopkeepers of Icod aim to ensure their customers will return and, judging by the crowds who are enjoying the winter sunshine as they gather carrier bags by the armful, it’s a strategy that’s working.

Time for Tea
Having toured the main shopping streets of San Agustá­n, San Sebastián, Key Muñoz, Infanta Isabel and De la Cruz, it’s time for a sit down and a nice cup of tea. Turning the corner onto Calle San Sebastián at the Town Hall, I spot tables and chairs outside a quaint little tea shop and spotting the sign on the window, I have to do a double take as the words ‘rosy Lee’ jump out at me. Inside, Rosy Lee looks for all the world like Miss Marple might be sitting in the window with a pot of tea and a fairy cake, musing on her latest murder mystery.

Flower wallpaper and wooden shelves stacked with Twinings tea and pots of relish form the backdrop to elegant tables on which China cups, antique tea pots and dainty milk jugs sit. Ordering a pot of breakfast tea, I notice English cake trays with home made cream buns and the display cabinet which is filled with scrumptious looking cakes, its counter adorned with rows of marzipan mice and pastel coloured fairy cakes.

“Are you British?” I ask the owner, Nátalie Delgado, as she places my pot of tea before me.
“No. I was born in Puerto de la Cruz,” she replies in an accent that would have you swear in court that she was born and bred somewhere south of Bristol. “But I spent 10 years working in England and I have a lot of English friends who constantly pick me up on my accent.”
All I can say is, Nátalie didn’t just learn how to speak like a native while she was in England, she perfected the art of making a grand cup of tea too.

Malvasía Wine
Sated of shopping for the day, I head back to the car and find myself looking into the doorway of the Museo de Malvasí­a where the walls are covered with framed quotations from Shakespeare, Keats, Ben Johnson and Herman Melville and the shelves are filled with the subject of those quotations Malvasí­a wine, the Canary Islands” most famous tipple.

Housed in one of the beautiful, historic houses that line Plaza de la Pila, the Museo is a mine of information on the historic grape and its famous advocates. Stocking a wide selection of malvasia wines from across the Canary Islands, the museum also offers wine tastings so you can try before you buy. It’s all the excuse I need to indulge in a little more quality assurance of the products on offer in Icod de los Vinos.

“Oh Knight, thou lackest a cup of canary; when did I see thee so put down?” asked Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night.

Quite right, Sir Toby, it will never do. Adding a bottle of the Bard’s favourite tipple to the day’s haul, I bid adios to Icod…until next time.

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Top Ten-erife Fountains

With heatwave after heatwave hitting the island this summer, there’s nothing quite like the sight and sound of a fresh, bubbling fountain to give you the illusion of cool, and Tenerife just happens to have a penchant for the elaborate wet stuff. From traffic roundabouts to shopping centres and city parks to pavements, here’s Tenerife Magazine’s pick of some of the island’s most eye-catching fountains.

The Bathers ““ Costa del Silencio

The Bathers Fountain, Costa del Silencio

You’ve got to love something as quirky and surreal as these bathers in their swimming pool in a location as mundane as a Costa del Silencio shopping centre. Sporting their eclectic head and eye wear while twirling and scanning the sky for, who knows what ““ UFOs I suspect, they’re quite possibly the coolest fountain on Tenerife.

Fecundidad ““ Santa Cruz

Fecundidad fountain, Parque Garcia Sanabria, Santa Cruz

Idly bathing her feet while rainbows dance around her plump knees, the voluptuous Fecundidad in Parque Garcia Sanabria seems oblivious to the public gaze of her private ritual. Unassuming and serene, she’s an enduring icon of the city.

Plaza España ““ Santa Cruz

Plaza España, Santa Cruz

From the centre of a placid lake of deepest blue, a single perpendicular needle of water shoots heavenwards; it’s a geometric work of water art. We just wish they’d keep the damn thing filled because when it’s empty, it’s nothing more than a concrete bowl.

Lago Martiánez ““ Puerto de la Cruz

Fountain, Lago Martianez, Puerto de la Cruz

Turning illusion of cool into reality, this fountain in its César Manrique-designed home of Lago Martiánez provides a stylish and invigorating exfoliant to bathers by day and morphs into a burning island in a pirate lagoon by night.

Los Cristianos

Fountain, Los Cristianos

The Cristiano Ronaldo in our decorative outpourings is the elaborately, show-off centrepiece of the busy roundabout that heralds your arrival in Los Cristianos. Unfortunately, due to the current water shortage, it was hiding its watery light under a dry bushel when we captured this image so if anyone has a photo of it in action that they’d like to share…

Safari Centre ““ Playa de Las Américas

Dancing Fountain, Safari Centre, Playa de Las Américas

The Vegas-style performance of the coloured dancing fountain which graces the designer labels and bistro bars of the Safari Centre has become something of a tourist attraction. I don’t think Siam Park really needs to worry but, hey, it’s nice.

Parque Santiago IV ““ Costa Adeje

Fountain, Parque Santiago IV, Playa de Las Américas

The Johnny-come-lately of our gushing collection is this rather elegant and understated piece of fountain art outside the Parque Santiago IV. Having it at ground zero makes it all the more accessible for everyone, although signs make it very clear you’re not allowed to play in it. Spoilsports.

Plaza Adelantado ““ La Laguna

Fountain, Plaza Adelantado, La Laguna

Time to introduce a bit of class to this motley spouting selection, with the marble fountain from Plaza Adelantado in La Laguna. Dating from 1870, the marble reflects the sunlight off the water in mesmerizing patterns and the detail in the carving is superb, but best of all, it tinkles just like a fountain should.

Princesa Dacíl ““ La Orotava

Princesa Dacíl fountain/fuente, La Orotava

Say hello to the ethnic addition to our eclectic ten. Sited at the entrance to Tenerife’s most aristocratic town, this is the Guanche Princess Dacíl and at her feet is the Guanche symbol of fertility, Tara.

Fuente La Alhóndiga ““ Tacoronte

Fuente La Alhóndiga, Tacoronte

A bit like Plaza España, this beauty is unfortunately often left dry but when the hoses have been in action and the water rises, it brings a whole new aspect to the 17th century, former grain store of Casa La Alhóndiga. Loving its contemporary simplicity.

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Walk this Way, El Palmar

One of the joys of walking on Tenerife is that, provided you stay clear of the hiker highways of Barranco del Infierno, Masca Barranco and La Caldera, you can enjoy many of its best trails all to yourself.
This month we apply the high factor sun cream, don our caps, stock up on water and head to one of the island’s least known rural locations ““ the El Palmar Valley.

Why this way?
Millions of visitors annually make the trip to Masca, many of them to test their stamina against nature’s assault course in the Masca Barranco, but very few of them ever emerge on the other side of the Teno Mountain Range to discover a corner of Tenerife that is still very much a secret.

Like Tenerife’s version of The Archers, the folks of El Palmar are predominantly a farming community whose daily lives revolve around working the land and tending the livestock in their green corner of the north west of Tenerife. Sandwiched between the Monte del Agua and Teno Mountain ranges, the valley once provided building materials for local housing, a legacy which has left its mark in the form of deep slices carved out of the landscape like missing portions of a pie.

Perched astride the Teno Mountains, the sleepy hamlet of Teno Alto goes about its business much as it has done for the past century, producing some of the island’s best loved queso de cabra (goats” cheese) and sustaining a small community who’s priorities are clear as they have no less than two village bar/restaurants to serve the handful of residents.

As far from the tourist trail as you can get, both physically and metaphorically, walking around El Palmar will open up a world where osprey circle overhead, the air is filled with the tinkle of goat bells and you can buy the most pungent of cheeses in the sort of village shop that you see in old episodes of Miss Marple.

Hike this way.
Starting out from El Palmar a narrow path winds its way through pines and prickly pear groves up the side of the valley, flanked by fields of potatoes and vines. The higher you climb the more spectacular the views become until finally you reach the crest, rewarded for your efforts with views over the entire valley with, if you’ve chosen a clear day, the peak of Mount Teide just visible above the Monte del Agua.

Through the cool of the forest and along the ridge of emerald hills and you’ll arrive at the hamlet of Teno Alto. In the village are two bar/restaurants, well, one’s more of a bar/shop where you can also get something to eat and one shop which stocks all sorts of locally produced goodies including their award winning cheeses. Rising in texture from soft to rock hard and in flavour from mild to pungent, you can buy fresco, semi curado or curado (only for the brave) to stash in the rucksack.

The return journey back the way you came has two distinct advantages ““ firstly it’s almost all downhill and secondly you’ve got that cheese to keep your strength up.

Stroll this way.
Leave the hill climbing to the goats and take the car instead. Drive from El Palmar to Teno Alto and park the car in the village. Beyond the scattering of houses, paths run across the cliff tops all the way to the edge where you can look down over the lighthouse at Buenavista. You can still pick up some cheese and just pretend you did the hike, we won’t tell.

My way
Peaks: There are two highlights for me: the views over the El Palmar valley from the ridge and the path that skirts the barranco covered in tree heath, passing the goats in the farmyard on the hillside. Oh, and did I mention the cheese?

Troughs: El Palmar is prone to low cloud more often than not and your views of the valley can be spoiled. Also, it’s a long way to drive from just about anywhere on the island to get to El Palmar.

My view: 4 Stars ““ Although it’s only a linear walk, it’s one of my absolute favourites and I defy anyone not to enjoy its embroidered landscape and absolute serenity.

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Dorada/Ingane Yami Golf Tournament 2013

On Saturday 27th April 2013, Pearly Grey are once again organising their Dorada/Ingani Yami Golf Tournament at Golf Costa Adeje. Sponsored by Dorada and organised by Pearly Grey Ocean Club and Golf Costa Adeje, this is the fourth year the golf tournament has been held and is a hugely popular annual event where everyone has a brilliant time while helping to raise funds to give children a new life.

Ingani Yami
When Yvonne and Roger Greig travelled to iXopo in the KwaZulu Natal region of South Africa to visit their friend Jayne who had lost three children and a grandchild to AIDS, they wept at the sight of the mounds of earth that surrounded the communities of the hills and valleys. HIV/Aids was devastating communities and creating millions of orphans for whom the future held nothing but bleakness and hopelessness.

From those visits, the idea and then the project of Ingane Yami was born.

Giving orphaned children a real home, with a mother, in a village with the support of the community is the aim of the Ingane Yami project.

To date, the project has built its first cluster of five homes within the village and the first ‘family’ are now resident – Ruth, the house mother, her two biological sons and three foster children. Rescued from abject poverty, the three orphans are now part of a loving family home and are thriving under the care of their mother and their new big brothers. The rest of the completed houses are about to be furnished and the project is recruiting more house mothers to take up residence in the village.

For the past five years, Pearly Grey Ocean Club has been supporting Ingane Yami to realise their aim of giving hope to those born with none. Committing to helping with the building of homes, to date they have raised enough funds to complete one home and are half way to building a second.

The Dorada/Ingani Yami Golf Tournament 2013

Get involved
There are lots of ways in which you can get involved with the Dorada/Ingane Yami Golf Tournament 2013:

Participate as a player – entry fee is €70 which includes green fees, buggy hire and lunch. There will be raffles and great prizes on the day and a hole in one wins a car. Tee off is at 10am and players need to be at the course 45 mins before.
Sponsor one of the holes – for as little as €200 your company can sponsor the event which will get you a 2 metre by 1 metre banner at your sponsored hole.
Support – pop along to Golf Costa Adeje and lend your support by buying raffle tickets, participating in the auction and enjoying the buffet and live entertainment.

This is a project which is very close to the hearts of those involved in bringing new hope to KwaZulu’s orphans because ‘everybody deserves to be recognized and loved, to feel accepted and secure‘.

For more information or to register to play in the tournament please contact info@pearlygrey.com or telephone 922 743 903

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Tenerife After The Winter Tourists Have Gone

When it comes to winter sun destinations, few places can top the magnetism of Tenerife and the Canary Islands – sub-tropical islands basking all winter long in endless sunshine and the sort of temperatures that a British summer can only dream of. Throw into the mix a heady choice of cost effective hotels and apartments and cheap flights from Northern Europe and it’s easy to see why Canary Island beaches throng with British winter sun seekers.

But what happens once Easter has faded into the wings, the so-called swallows (the elderly and retired who fly south for the winter) have returned to their native homes for summer, and Europe’s eyes have turned towards the Spanish mainland for their summer holidays? Is Tenerife left with sun loungers stacked and tropical tumble-weed blowing across her empty beaches? Are hotels shuttered up and bars closed down? Do youths hang around street corners, bored with the inactivity and yearning for winter to return and bring back the tourists?

July fiestas, Puerto de la Cruz

The truth is Tenerife actually bursts into life once summer arrives, casting off its mantel of winter retreat for the thin blooded and taking on its true identity of Spanish sunshine island. All life takes to the streets day and night; towns, villages and resorts launch into their summer fiestas; bars move their fridges of chilled beers up to the rooftops; clubs take their dance floors to the open terraces and restaurants spill out onto pavements to revel in the endless sultry nights.

Where, in winter, predominantly British and German voices are heard along promenades and in plazas, in summer the Spanish and Italians arrive in their droves, fleeing the summer heat of their homelands for the idyllic temperatures of the Canary Islands, enjoying the low season hotel prices and bringing a younger, more extrovert personality to Tenerife.

Playa Jardin, Puerto de la Cruz

While millions of Britons flock to broil on the overcrowded beaches of Benidorm, Costa Del Sol and the Balearics, Tenerife’s sun loungers spread themselves out nicely, the Spanish and Italians preferring to occupy the sand at the water’s edge. Summer is the consummate beach weather on Tenerife with no rain, daytime temperatures regulated by the trade winds and warm nights in which to sip wine on open terraces beneath the moonlight or walk barefoot along the sand.

Romeria, La Orotava

For the Tinerfeños, Easter also marks the end of Lent and time to cast off the solemnity of abstinence, throw open the shutters and welcome the summer once more. Plazas and streets are festooned in bunting as villagers prepare for their summer fiestas. Decorated wagons are dusted off and bedecked in flowers, ready to light the barbecues and open the wine vats as romeria after romaria takes to the streets.

In the traditional towns of the north of the island, entire months are dedicated to partying with sports events, rallies, open air exhibitions, craft fairs and concerts taking place every day. Wherever you are on the island there’s something happening all summer long and the vast majority of events are free to attend.

Windsurfer, El Medano

With the trade winds come summer’s surfers. Kite boarders, surfers and windsurfers take to the seas of El Médano for the annual round of competitions, filling the skyline with their rainbow kites and sails and the resort with their surf dude tans and Quicksilver shorts. Golfers enjoy perfect weather and lower fees during the summer months with hotels offering discounted packages and preferential tee times on fabulous courses devoid of crowds.

Playa de Las Americas Golf Course

Lower hotel prices, perfect weather, quieter beaches and a non-stop round of events and entertainment are all waiting to be enjoyed over the long, hot summer but shhh, don’t tell anyone, after all, Tenerife is just a winter sun destination isn’t it?

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Life Through the Lens of Tenerife Landscape Photographer, Raico Rosenberg

 

For a special Christmas and New Year treat, Tenerife Magazine caught up with Raico Rosenberg, Tenerife’s gifted landscape photographer whose sensational images have occasionally graced our Facebook page, leaving us all open-mouthed in wonder.
Not only did Raico share his passion for photography and let us showcase some of his amazing photos, but he also gave us some priceless tips for capturing Tenerife’s extraordinary landscapes AND is giving TM readers a 10% discount on his 2013 calendar if you quote TM2013. We think that would make a rather splendid Christmas present for anybody’s stocking ““ don’t you?

TM: Hi Raico. Firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to Tenerife Magazine, we have been huge fans of your work for some time now. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, first of all allow me to thank you for this great opportunity.
I was born and raised in Tenerife and went to Wingate School in Cabo Blanco where I picked up my English and then furthered my education in the UK at University. Whilst growing up in Tenerife I learnt to Speak fluent English, Spanish and German. I also became very proficient at French and Italian during my time at University. When I was younger my parents had refused to buy a TV for our home so I always spent most of my free time outdoors spear fishing, hiking around and doing plenty of surfing. I”M thankful now because I believe it has enhanced my experience with nature which I attempt to reflect in my images. Outdoors in the wild I feel completely adept and agile.
I currently work as a telecoms technician for PH Electronic in Costa del Silencio. I enjoy it quite a lot since it means I”M mostly outdoors where I feel most comfortable. It also helps me finance my very expensive photography hobby.

TM: When and why did your passion for photography begin?

It started at a very early age from the moment I picked up a camera and became mesmerized by the creative possibilities. Growing up I had become frustrated at the lack of decent imagery of Tenerife, most came in the form of simple postcard shots. Unfortunately my peers deemed it an overall expensive hobby so it wasn’t till about 2008 when digital photography became so much more affordable that I purchased my first DSLR (digital single-lens-reflex). I had never done a photography course in my life and the learning curve was very steep but taking digital pictures is free and fortunately my endless passion fuelled my drive to excel. I would spend hours reading magazines, researching on the internet and bought many books on the subject. It wasn’t till 2010 that I met Michael Bolognesi (a veteran concert photographer from the late 80s) and my photography took a great leap forward. Michael was now a successful restaurateur with a passion for landscape photography so together we undertook many photographic projects and trips abroad. This resulted in perfecting our knowledge and techniques dramatically, taking our photographic skills to levels we had only dreamed of and even further.

TM: What is it about Tenerife that makes it such a special place to photograph?

Apart from Tenerife having an incredible climate it has possibly some of the most diverse and photogenic landscapes all packed in a relatively small 2000 km2 (785 sq mi). It also has more than just sunny beaches where the sand varies in colour. There’s the Las Cañadas natural reserve that takes my breath away each time I”M up there as it looks like it’s from another planet. Up there we have the unique tajinaste flowers at the end of May, vast fields of colourful flowers in spring, snow in winter, pine forests and endless volcanic shapes. In the northern tip in the Anaga Massif we have a lush laurisilva forest, volcanic pumice shores in the south, the mighty cliffs of Los Gigantes and the list goes on endlessly. The good thing is that is all within a very affordable 4 hour flight from Europe.
Sadly I must add that I’ve met quite a few people from abroad who have lived here for decades and have never really explored the full beauty of the island.

TM: Many photographers seem to favour early morning for their landscapes. is there a time of day or season on Tenerife that you particularly enjoy capturing?

Absolutely, photography is all about capturing light. The best times are sunrise and sunset. The light at those hours transforms dramatically. This “golden light” not only makes everything much more visually pleasing but is also a very exciting experience to watch how some of nature’s most dramatic spectacles of light unfold in the sky. I love getting up early in the morning to chase light.

TM: What camera(s) and equipment do you use and why?

I use a Nikon D300s with 12megapixels which is an absolute gem. The D300s is classed as a semi-professional camera and becoming a bit out of date in digital terms. Despite this its image quality and capabilities are more than enough. It’s all down to image quality and most of all the person behind the lens. Cameras don’t take pictures, people do.

I also use a good selection of lenses that allow me to achieve maximum image quality. For my landscapes I have a healthy selection of LEE filters, handmade in the UK and ridiculously expensive! Although in the digital age many landscape photographers blend exposures in Photoshop to produce a final image I prefer to use my filters for many reasons, its a bigger challenge and a much purer process in my eyes.

 

TM: Do you have any tips on techniques to use when photographing landscapes?

Certainly, landscape photography is all about patience and having lots of free time! Investing in some neutral density filters is definitely worth it to balance the exposure between the sky and foreground. I would recommend a set of Cokin filters to start off with. Another filter that is imperative for shooting landscapes is a polarizer that will come to good use in Tenerife. A polarizer will not only saturate colours but also eliminate haze and unwanted reflections. A sturdy tripod is a must. Overall try not to invest in cheap gear, it will only weigh your progress down and be heavy on your wallet as you will have to shell out again later on.

 

TM: What’s your view of photo apps such as Instagram, and trending techniques like HDR photography?

It all depends on the person. These different apps/techniques are simply different ways to be creative. I have done some natural looking HDR photos for many commercial architecture shoots with great success. HDR means high-dynamic range, a process where many different shots at different exposures are fused to create one single image with greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. The typical HDR look is often associated with a very dramatic, saturated and grungy look.

TM: Where else in the world would you like to photograph and why?

There are so many places to photograph in the world, too many to mention. In summer 2012 I did a trip to the west coast of USA with Michael and had a real blast photographing the wilderness there. Sadly most iconic locations were jam packed with photographers of all groups but fortunately we went off the beaten track and captured some images to die for.

TM: If you could only capture one Tenerife shot, what would it be?

I´d hate to say this but it would be Teide erupting!

TM: Where can people see/buy your landscapes?

At the moment I have a selection of my work at the Magma Centre in Las Americas which is part of the Ten-Diez.com project.
People can also visit my website where I have all my photos online with a 2013 Tenerife Landscapes calendar. I can give a 10% discount to Tenerife Magazine readers for the calendar with the following discount code: TM2013

TM: Muchisimas gracias, Raico y ¡Feliz Navidad! 🙂

Images of Raico courtesy of Michael Bolognesi – another excellent Tenerife landscape photographer

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Destination Lanzarote

In the third of our series of holiday destinations that are easily accessible from Tenerife, we take flight to the Eastern Canary Island of Lanzarote. Fourth largest of the seven main Canary Islands, a 50 minute flight from North Tenerife will take you to a landscape which is worlds apart from its mountainous neighbour. Lanzarote owes its looks to its violently explosive past, its wind kissed meteorological conditions and the vision of its most famous son, César Manrique.

Tenerife Magazine’s Guide to Lanzarote
First impressions of Lanzarote are that it seems empty and barren. Lacking any great height, forested or mountainous zones, the arid land undulates in a myriad shades of brown and gold, across endless fields of lava and volcanic ash, studded by volcanic cones and splashed with green vines set into neat circles.

Life moves at a much slower pace on Lanzarote where the tourism has to fit in with the culture rather than vice versa. Outside of the city and the main resorts, roads are largely devoid of cars, two wheels being the preferred mode of transport on an island which is rapidly becoming Europe’s biggest winter sports destination. Here, the wind governs everything, from the ‘toys” fashioned by César Manrique which turn and play in the breeze, reflecting the sunlight across the landscape, to the boards and sails of the surf dudes and the yachting sets who come to play off Lanzarote’s coast.

An altogether quieter alternative to Tenerife where high rise hotels are conspicuous by their absence, the golden beaches are natural, outside of the main resorts entertainment is largely of your own making and everywhere you look, someone is clad in sports gear and pitching their skills and stamina against the elements, Lanzarote has a surprising diversity of attractions to offer holidaymakers.

A quick guide to Lanzarote’s resorts:

Puerto del Carmen
Lanzarote’s original and most densely populated resort, nestled into the headland beneath the Femes Mountains on the south east coast, Puerto Del Carmen has sun, sea, sand and everything a holidaymaker could possibly want within flip flop distance of their hotel or apartment. Lively and bustling, this is the resort for clubbers, singles and families with a huge selection of bars, shops, clubs and restaurants, many of them geared specifically towards British tastes.

The Playa Grande beach stretches endlessly and provides an ideal spot to soak up the resort’s default setting sunshine while the old harbour has some nice fish restaurants and is a great place to chill with a glass of Malvasía and watch the steady stream of holidaymakers pass by.

Costa Teguise
A quieter and more sophisticated resort then Puerto del Carmen, Costa Teguise is popular with families and with sports enthusiasts, particularly windsurfers who enjoy riding the waves at Playa Las Cucharas where international competitions are staged. Restaurants and cafés have more of a Canarian feel to them here but there are still plenty of bars geared towards the British market and a good variety of shops.

A pretty promenade runs the length of the resort for strollers to enjoy, there are some excellent tapas bars and restaurants to be enjoyed and the Manrique-styled Pueblo Marinero houses characterful bars and restaurants where you can easily while away an afternoon.

Playa Blanca
Move down the coast and upmarket to the resort of Playa Blanca where you’ll find a quieter pace altogether and the island’s yachting set in nearby El Rubicon. Blessed with the beautiful Papagayo beaches nearby and a lovely promenade which stretches all the way to the lighthouse at Pechiguera, Playa Blanca is favoured by the more discerning holidaymaker.

You’ll find some nice tapas bars and less designer-inclined shops around the seafront in the centre of the resort and if the fancy takes you, you can hop on a ferry to Fuerteventura whose white sand beaches shimmer in a heat haze on the horizon.

What to see in Lanzarote:
Timanfaya National Park. Lanzarote’s most popular day destination, Timanfaya National Park is the scene of the world’s longest recorded volcanic eruptive incidence which lasted for six years from 1730 to 1736. You can watch as the still-fiery ground consumes a dry branch in flames, turns water to steam in a split second and cooks your lunch over a volcano oven.

Jameos del Agua. The underground lake which César Manrique turned into a magic grotto of sculpted volcanic rock and tropical landscaping which plays with the reflected sunlight and acts as the surreal venue for a restaurant, a coffee bar and a night club.

Cueva de los Verdes. A six kilometre long volcanic lava tube of low, rock passageways opening into vast underground caverns where one kilometre has been opened to the public for you to play out episodes of Scooby Doo in the spooky darkness. Doubles as a venue for classical music concerts where you can hear Baroque in a rock.

Alegranza and La Graciosa. Lanzarote’s stunning castaway islands which lie off its north coast. Alegranza is off limits to humans and is a nesting ground for rare sea birds on their migratory route whereas La Graciosa is a traffic-free(ish) paradise where shoes and clothes are optional and the buildings are of the Robinson Crusoe school of architecture.

The Cactus Garden. Another César Manrique wonderworld where a thousand varieties of the spikey ones flourish amongst black, volcanic beds weaving their way past a waterfall and beneath a windmill.

Villa de Teguise. The lovely former capital of Lanzarote which sits inland above the Costa Teguise resort. Cobbled streets, traditional restaurants, artisan shops, a huge Sunday morning market and a Piracy Museum in a castle on the hill await swarthy dogs, culture seekers and bargain hunters. Avoid Sunday mornings to have the place to yourself.

How to get to Lanzarote from Tenerife:
Binter Canarias fly five times a day from Tenerife North airport to Lanzarote. The flight takes just 50 minutes and gets you to within easy taxi or bus reach of all the main resorts. Flights average €150 return for non-residents, €80 return for Canary Islands residents.

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Checking Into Tenerife’s Hotels, Jardín Tropical

It was Easter last year when Tenerife Magazine headed to the Hotel Jardín Tropical to find out what keeps 40% of guests returning year after year and what one lucky winner of our competition can expect.

Strolling past the elegant palm trees and soft, white turrets that guard the entrance to the Hotel Jardín Tropical, I pass beneath the straw thatched roof and leave the glare of sunlight to enter the portal to a dream world. Combining the principles of Feng Shui with shades of North African, Moorish and Colonial design, the architect Melvin Villaroel has created a space filled with hidden, tranquil corners where light, air and nature combine in perfect harmony.

Velvety white corridors weave below mirrored ceilings to shady courtyards at the foot of tiered minarets and bougainvillea draped terraces. Falling in gentle tiers from the hotel’s reception, brick paved terraces embedded with turquoise and ruby ceramic tiles lead past carved pine settees and over wooden foot bridges to water cascades and a sapphire pool that meanders around scented garden jungles.

The check-in welcome is accompanied by a chilled glass of cava while Joaquín explains the Alice in Wonderland principle of a ground floor which is in fact on the fifth floor and points me towards my room. Minus the aid of a White Rabbit, I follow the warren of corridors, my eyes wide at the eclectic beauty of my surroundings, until I arrive at room 457.

Don’t you just love it when you walk into your hotel room and the first thing that comes out of your mouth is “Wow”? A corridor of fitted wardrobes with wooden latticed doors leads to a cavernous room where crimson, colour washed walls lend a rich warmth to the beautifully cool interior. Centre stage, a bed the size of a small land mass is draped in the same rich, flower print drapes that cover the windows. French impressionist paintings join forces with the period furniture to give the room a classic, timeless elegance. I open the curtains and step onto the intimate balcony which peeks out through Kentia palm fronds at the giant strelitzias and towering palm trees that lend the gardens and pools the environment so richly deserving of the name Jardín Tropical.

I relax into one of the cane chairs, savouring the short time I have before my dinner reservation at the hotel’s award winning restaurant of Las Rocas. Birds are chatting noisily as they make last minute preparations for their sundown bed time, the last of the day’s sunbathers are heading back to their rooms while other couples are already dressed for the evening, strolling hand in hand towards a sunset cocktail at the Beach Club before dinner.
Three words are foremost in my mind ““ symmetry, serenity, serendipity.

The Essentials
Location: One of the first hotels to be built in Tenerife’s newest resort of Costa Adeje, the Hotel Jardín Tropical has seen many bigger and more flashy hotels springing up all around it while this tropical paradise has quietly taken root and flourished. Sited on a picturesque headland of Costa Adeje with Playa Bobo a few minutes stroll to the south and Puerto Colón to the west.

Rooms: Completely refurbished in 2010 and featuring LCD satellite TV, mini bar and safe, rooms are beautifully designed and appointed to maximise the quality of light, coupling the hotel’s trademark white with rich turquoise soft furnishings. Suites raise the floor space quota from generous to oodles and the decor to individually styled. The walk-in shower was powerful enough to double as an aqua massage and the bath was big enough to lie full length in. 26 interconnecting family rooms offer microwave, baby alarm and Playstation – essential ingredients of a family holiday.

Service: From the moment I arrived at reception, I was made to feel welcome by multi-lingual, professional staff. Service in the buffet restaurant and the bars was exceptionally good while at restaurant Las Rocas, the delightful Julio fussed over my every whim with a warm smile, professionalism and buckets of personality.

Food: Hotel Jardín Tropical has a deserved reputation for excellence in dining. The El Patio restaurant is reputed to serve the best steak tartare in Tenerife from its heavenly garden setting, while the romantic headland setting of Las Rocas is the venue for excellent gourmet cuisine. Breakfast in the Las Mimosas restaurant was a sumptuous choice of fresh fruit, continental and cooked dishes, all prepared and presented with aplomb in the stylish dining room and garden patio.

Entertainment: I followed the sound of laughter and applause to the bar lounge where families were being entertained by contemporary clowns, acrobats and breakdancers until it was time for the youngest of drooping eyelids to be carried to their beds. Night people will find themselves within sandal strolling distance of the iconic Faro Chill Art at Puerto Colón.

Overall: A fabulously stylish and chic four star hotel with five star design and aspirations where the good things in life ““ consummate service, fine dining, luxurious comfort and impeccable taste – are placed at the top of the agenda. Perfect for couples, honeymooners, families and anyone with an eye for quality and selectivity. As official host to players at golf tournaments like the Tenerife Ladies Match Play, it’s also the perfect year-round base for Tenerife golfers.

Hotel Jardín Tropical; 4 Star; Calle Gran Bretagña, Costa Adeje; (0034) 902 25 02 51; email: hotel@jardin-tropical.com

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