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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Magma Arts & Congress – Fernando Menis

Magma Arts & Congress in South Tenerife welcomes visitors since 2005. Semi-desert landscape with the proximity of sea embraces its contemporary design. Thirteen geometrically shaped blocks, emerge out of the building, creating sense of the flowing roof. The Magma becomes one of the most recognisable buildings in the island.
Based near the airport, motorway and several hotel complexes, right in the middle of tourist activity, Magma Arts & Congress becomes an easy accessible site.

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Fernando Menis, multi-award winner, a reputable Spanish architect of this immaculate structure, is well known worldwide. Magma Art & Congress sole, is proud with 8 major awards.

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“In reality, it wasn’t a traditional project, but a research project to develop materials and new forms. My first objective was to develop how the cement could best be produced using the dry Chasna rocks, never before used for this purpose. It was a daily objective to ensure that those immense and arid rocks fitted between the frames without leaving gaps, attaching the castings with a drop of up to 20%, while the liquid cement hardened. It was a great geological success to see those rocks of cement dispersed throughout the arid ground of southern Tenerife, perfectly integrated as if they had always been there.” Says architect Menis.

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In 2008, Fernando Menis, established Menis Arquitectos Company with its headquarters in Tenerife. Menis Arquitectos reuse natural, environmental resources in each project, demonstrating great environmental awareness. The construction of Magma Arts & Congress employed plant fibre panels with a finish that blends in with the surrounding colours for both, interior and exterior. The Magma evolved throughout the construction aiming to achieve its organic result.
Menis Arquitectos hold on-going projects on an international level. Current projects include a multifunctional concert hall Jordanki in Poland, which will be inaugurated at the end of 2015, The Three Villas, a luxury property in China, and a Winery in the Rodnoe Village, Balaklava, Crimea.

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Links: Magma Arts & Congress – Facebook  – Twitter

Fernando MenisFacebookTwittterYoutube

 

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Bricks and Mortar in a Hot Latin Quarter

With over 30 years’ experience of living in Tenerife and being involved in the Tenerife real estate industry, David Wood has the knowledge and the contacts to not only help you find your ideal property in Tenerife, but to negotiate the best deal for you and to lead and support you through a seamless buying process.

Everyone at Woods the Estate Agents recognises that not only are you searching for your ideal property in the sun, you are investing in your future and a new lifestyle. You can rest assured that here at Woods, we will support you through the entire search and purchase process of your new property in the Canary Islands and continue to give you on-going support to help you find your feet around the island. We will inform you of everything you need to know about living in the Canary Islands. From schooling and banking… to eating out and shopping!

Having been born and raised in Tenerife, Chris Wood (David Wood’s son and Director of Woods the Estate Agents) left the island to further his education in the UK. Here he explains why he decided to make the move back to his home of Tenerife and hopes you may be able to relate to how he feels.

“After completing my A-levels and gaining a degree in Hospitality Management at Leeds Metropolitan University, my father and I went in to business together and opened a small chain of fish and chip shops in response to the financial crash of 2008. Over the course of four years we had opened four takeaways and a restaurant in Yorkshire. Business is going very well and we have a great reputation locally.

However, Tenerife has always had its place in my heart and for me; to put it simply… you only live once! England is a great country but personally, it’s not for me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see the appeal in looking forward to a few days of sunshine every 6 months and have to put up with all the rushing around while outside it’s dull, grey, cold and wet AND having to pay excessive taxes and extortionate prices on just about everything just to stay alive and pay bills.

So having said that, what makes Tenerife so great? Tenerife has all the ingredients you need for a happy, social, active lifestyle. There’s the year-round sun, activities, the food, the landscape, the places to socialise and the great people. All this… and it’s cheaper to enjoy it all than in the UK!

The Property Market in the Canary Islands is showing strong signs of recovery. This has given us the perfect opportunity to get back to what we do best – sell properties in the Canary Islands.

I’m sincerely looking forward to helping my clients find their ideal home in Tenerife and supporting them through the whole buying and settling in process.”

Woods’ Tenerife Bucket List

Whether you have lived in Tenerife for years or you’re looking forward to making the most out of your new life in Tenerife, here’s a quick bucket list of things which we think every resident in Tenerife should do! You can visit our Tenerife Bucket List blog post to find out more information on each one.

Climb Mount Teide

Mount Teide

Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted the everyday view we have of the 3,718 meter tall “Pico Del Teide”. It peers over us on a daily basis and appears to be so still it sometimes appears to be painted on a canvas! Well, it really is there and it’s only a 45 minute drive to “Las Cañadas Caldera” – the large crater in which the Peak of Teide’s base sits. The entire area around Teide’s Peak is a National Park and was pronounced as a World Heritage Site in 2007. Therefore, to climb to the very top of Teide, you must obtain a permit. Visit our blog post to read everything you need to know and to view Woods very own video and stunning aerial photography taken high above the peak not seen anywhere else!

Trek down Masca’s Barranco

Masca Village In Tenerife

This fantastic walk from the town of Masca down to Masca Bay is a continuous decline and usually takes 3 hours to hike down at a leisurely pace.
You start the trek in Masca – a small picturesque town which is worth a stroll around itself before heading off on your expedition! There’s plenty to see in Masca, the traditional buildings, the Ethnographic Museum, the Church of the Immaculate Conception (constructed in the 18th Century) and there’s also a good choice of restaurants to choose from.

Barranco del Infierno

Hell's Gorge On Tenerife

This 4 hour long trek (6.5km round trip) is a favourite amongst hikers as it is reasonably safe and there is only a shallow gradient. The walk takes you through the lush green Barranco (valley) del Infierno which starts at Calle Los Molinos in Adeje. At the end of the walk you reach a spectacular natural pool with waterfall originating from high up in the cliffs. Upon your return, why not have lunch or dinner at Otelo’s! They do fantastic garlic chicken…

Try an Extreme Sport

Hiking Success, Woman On Trail In Mountains

It may be the norm to come to Tenerife for a nice relaxing holiday but Tenerife’s landscape lends itself to a wide variety of extreme sports which are all guaranteed to get the adrenaline flowing!

Surfing – There’s a surf school on the beach opposite “The Patch” in Las Americas. Hourly rates are quite reasonable and the waves are more forgiving to beginners.

  • Windsurfing and Kite surfing – There are a number of surf schools to choose from in El Medano.
  • Scuba Diving – Tenerife’s coastline is host to numerous world-renowned dive sites with a selection of wrecks, underwater cliff faces and even a downed DC10! The waters off the coast of Tenerife make for a comfortably warm and clear dive all year round.
  • Rock Climbing – One exhilerating way to explore the rugged volcanic terrain of Tenerife is to go rock climbing. Teide’s National Park draws climbers from all over the world with challenging climbes like “El Capricho”. But if you just want to try it out, Martianez and Valle Tabares, both in the north, offer easier routes for the beginners.

Go Wine tasting

Runnung Red Wine

There are numerous Vineyards around the Canary Islands which are open to visitors and provide guided tours… and of course, the all-important sampling!

Find Tenerife’s Secret Traditional Canarian Restaurants

Are you a fan of those little restaurants which are “off the beaten track” and offer the best traditional, local food around? Note down these places now and add them to your list! You can find out where each one is by visiting Woods the Estate Agents’ blog.

  • El Cordero
  • El Deposito
  • Amigos del Norte
  • Tasca de Nino
  • Irache Gara
  • Oasis in Adeje
  • Otelo (there is a new one in Puerto Santiago but the original is in Adeje which is found at the start of the Barranco del Infierno Trek)
  • Las Gangarass in Buzenada
  • Los Goteras

BBQ’s on Teide

The National Park around Teide has several barbecue and camping sites to choose from. The atmosphere is great as you tend to find locals up here who visit the barbecue sites for family get togethers.

If you decide to try any of the above, please let us know what you though by contacting us on Facebook! We’d love to see your photos. If you think we’ve missed anything out, we want to hear your additions to Tenerife’s Bucket List so you’re welcome to visit our Facebook page and send us a message.

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RDO4 2013 Conference

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If you are looking for some inspiration or direction in the field of shared ownership, then come along to hear what the key players predict for the next few years as they share their top tips and forecast growing trends and consumer behaviour. With revelations about what we all need to do to ensure more sales and a better ways to market timeshare-related products and services over the next few years, you won´t want to miss this great opportunity!

John Beckley will be attending the RDO4 2013 Conference to be held at the 5-star deluxe Lopesan Baobab Resort in Gran Canaria on 15 to 17 September 2013, so why not come along and glean some insights at this year´s theme of “Standing Together”.

Also attending will be James Beckley, Justine Bannister and Dennis Markham representating Pearly Grey.

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The Beatles on Tenerife

Beatles on Tenerife

It was not until 15th October 1963 that the Daily Mirror introduced us to the word Beatlemania.

Accordingly there was no Beatlemania in evidence when three of the boys, Paul, George and Ringo, holidayed in Puerto de la Cruz between 28th April and 9th May of that same year.

In fact there was no reaction whatsoever.

 

That was then – but now is now and Tenerife historian Nicolas G. Lemus with a little help from his friends organised a 12 day Beatle bash to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this inconspicuous visit from three members of the group which was to become probably the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed act in the history of popular music.

The guest of honour at the opening ceremony was Klaus Voormann (below, right), one of a batch of people who can claim the title of the 5th Beatle. He had met the group during their stay in Hamburg. More importantly for this article, his father was having a villa built in La Montañeta on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz. After recording their first LP, Please Please Me, the boys needed a break and as Klaus was in Tenerife for the purpose of furnishing the villa the three Beatles thought it would be a good idea to join him.

During the opening ceremony both Klaus and Nicolas touched on the episode where the boys offered their services free of charge to perform a gig at the San Telmo Lido Night Club on the sea front. The British owner, David Gilbert, apparently refused, saying that he didn’t want a group of long haired youngsters at his exclusive venue. I spoke to David’s daughter, Melissa. She laughed. Refuse them he did – but not because of their appearance – he had no choice. This was Franco’s Spain and it would have been impossible to get the necessary permission in time, if at all. To take the risk would have been stupid. Police informers and the dreaded “work inspectors” were here, there and everywhere. The club could have been closed down.

 

Adrian McGrath and Klaus Voorman

 

We also had a guest speaker from Liverpool who is a guide on the famous Magical Mystery Tour Bus which shuttles visitors around the city pausing at birthplaces and venues, finally finishing at the Cavern Club. His name is Adrian McGrath (above, left), a lecturer with a difference – he’s fluent in Spanish, English and Scouse. The theme of his lecture was The Beatles – from Liverpool to Hamburg. But this was no ordinary lecture. Adrian added a little seasoning to his fayre which was the question – “What if”. There are many coincidences which occur during the early lives of the boys. Adrian pointed them out. Here’s an example: – What if George’s family hadn’t moved to Speke, where Paul was living, in 1950. What if George hadn’t won a place at the Liverpool Institute for Boys, which Paul was already attending, in 1954 causing them to travel on the same bus every day? They might never have met. The talk was littered with examples of synchronicity. A line from “All you need is love” – Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.

In Puerto we had our own “What if” to add. What if Paul had drowned off our notorious Martianez beach? This is a terrifying experience for anyone who’s been there and brings Stevie Smith’s poem, I’m not waving, I’m drowning, to mind. (No it wasn’t Sylvia Plath who, incidentally, had committed suicide in the previous February).

This is how Paul described the incident – I got washed out further and further away. I yelled for help but those blighters on the beach just didn’t seem to hear anything at all. Sure, it seems quite funny now, especially when I tell you that I nearly came to blows with George and Ringo when I did finally get myself back on shore. Truth is, though, I really did feel I’d had my lot out there. It’s pretty scary when you think you’re in serious danger of drowning.

One of the final acts in the celebrations occurred on a beautiful Sunday lunchtime at the Dinamico Bar, Plaza de Charco when an appreciative gathering, including some day trippers, was entertained by the Puerto de la Cruz Municipal Band playing Beatle’s hits. The band was superb. At our table there were a few moist eyes when favourites were played. Nostalgia ruled for a while but we pulled ourselves together for Hey Jude and performed our na-na’s in various keys.

Was the Beatle’s Celebration a success? Personally I thought that it could have been supported better by the ex-pat community, but the festival had not been pitched in that direction. It was a Spanish occasion and the organizers are to be congratulated for their enthusiasm. Nicolas G. Lemus, supported by the vice president of the Association of Hotels for the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Enrique Talg, has proposed to the island Government that Paul McCartney be declared an Illustrious Visitor to Tenerife.

My friend, local artist, José Desamers made the pencil on paper drawing (top) to celebrate the visit, with the Beatles leaning over the sea wall with the famous old church in the background. He acknowledges that he has included John Lennon but insists that it’s his tribute and he can do what he likes. José presented the original to Klaus Voorman.

And therein lies the rub. The Beatles didn’t visit Puerto de la Cruz, 50 years ago. They were one short.

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César Manrique, The Awareness Of Landscape

Painter, sculptor, architect, and environmental crusader, Cesar Manrique is regarded as the father of modern Lanzarote but his influence touched all corners of the Canary Islands. As I learnt more about the man and his legacy at a new exhibition in Santa Cruz my mind wandered to the Parque Maritimo swimming complex a short walk across the Tenerife capital. The functional and stylish design was inspired by the great man and the park is adorned with samples of his work. I could have just as easily stretched my recall to the south of Tenerife and Plaza Cesar Manrique in Adeje and many points in between.

“Atlantic Ocean, my master, supreme and constant lesson of enthusiasm, passion, and freedom. My capacity of observation was tenacious in those summertimes.”

Observation was the key to Cesar’s work, he had a great love of his island and its people, early sketches, paintings, and photos showed locals working the vineyards, the salt pans, and the sea. The first of two floors reflected the rich colours and textures of a volcanic landscape that was born from eruptions between 1730 and 1736. Each alcove included a centre piece such as a model of the island, a video of the moving clouds, or a 3D frame of fishing nets. Where many would have seen destruction and burning, Cesar rejoiced in the creation of new shapes and rich colours left in the wake of fire and lava.

In the early 1960’s Cesar’s hunger for knowledge took him to New York and the Avant Garde movement, this phase of his work takes over on the second floor. Many of the paintings are abstract and surreal but his love of life and people still shines through. Travel added a new focus to Cesar’s life, he was determined to help Lanzarote develop sustainable tourism, years before it became a mantra for the industry. Returning home he worked closely with government to lay down basic laws and guidelines but first he made in depth studies of his island to assess traditional accommodation and to find out what new infrastructure was needed. Water supplies, communications, and even the airport featured in his plans to ensure the pieces all fitted together.

“My absolute worry was to defend the landscape and the environment, I believed habitat considered as a whole was an important factor since landscape and architecture can be perfectly integrated and adapted to the land.”

The exhibition includes sketches and plans for his building projects and there is even a recreation of one of his surreal designs, used here to link two of the display areas. Not everything Cesar created was purely functional, there is a sense of fun in much of his quirky landscape architecture. Each stage of his life and work is accompanied in the exhibition by background information and the published thoughts and teachings of Cesar Manrique in Spanish and English. The scope and diversity of the works here strike the right balance between the different mediums that Cesar worked in and give a great insight into the motivation of the man. On my visit there was a school party doing the rounds, it’s good to see his legacy carried on not only through his foundation but also in a new generation sharing his affinity with the diverse environments of the Canary Islands.

Cesar Manrique, La Conciencia del Paisaje; Espacio Cultural Caja Canarias, Plaza del Patriotismo, Santa Cruz; open Monday to Saturday 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 8pm

Entrance €3 (free for clients of Caja Canarias, €1 residents)

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Mrs Thatcher on Tenerife

Mrs Thatcher on Tenerife

On this historic day, our correspondent Ken Fisher gives an account of The Iron Lady’s visit to Tenerife shores. – Ed

On 28th December 2002, Baroness Thatcher and her husband Denis paid a visit to the English Library in Puerto de la Cruz. The Thatchers were staying in Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque in the South and were in the hands of the Guardia Civil for any journey they made, although they had a Scotland Yard protection officer accompanying them. Due to my festive season arrangements, I was unable to attend. However, in the wake of her recent passing and in the light of the subject matter of my articles, I have pieced together details of the visit from a couple of members who were present that day.

Mrs T leads them down the garden path (I can’t resist it! – Ken)

Where better to start than with the man who was the British Consul here at the time, Mr David Ward. He had been detailed to escort the famous duo whilst in Puerto and so I contacted him by email. Here is his reply:-

In December 2002, only a few months after my arrival in Tenerife as British Consul, I was to have the privilege of arranging a day for Mrs Thatcher in Puerto de la Cruz. Now in the House of Lords, Lady Thatcher had asked to meet the British community whilst she was here on holiday. The English Library and the British Games Club responded enthusiastically to this proposal and laid on receptions for the benefit of their members.

The first engagement was the Library where the scheduled time for the visit ran over by an hour or so. Lady Thatcher (in constituency mode) and her husband Denis enthusiastically worked the rooms learning about the history of the Library and its ongoing important role in the life of the community. It was only with great reluctance that a transfer was effected to the nearby Games Club premises where an equally excited and warm welcome was extended to the couple. Denis insisted on finishing his G and T and his conversation with Michael Hindley-Maggs on aerospace matters before following in Lady Thatcher’s wake! However it was the ever thoughtful Denis who later caringly recognised the signs when it was time for them to leave. His death the following year was to be a great blow to Lady Thatcher and her family.

A framed photograph commemorating the visit and a signed book can still be seen in the Library to provide fond memories to members of the Thatcher’s only visit to Tenerife.

The lady seen presenting the bouquet to Mrs Thatcher, Mrs Jane Stewart certainly has fond memories of the visit. She tells me that there were about 150 members and friends present. A buffet was laid on for all but the Thatchers gracefully refused to partake. It was rumoured that they had stopped for lunch en route, maybe at the Hotel Botanico. If this is so, her bodyguards were not invited as they tucked in merrily while their charges fraternized with the members. As she left the Library to walk to the nearby British Club, Mrs Thatcher spotted a group of members on the lawn and strolled across to acknowledge them. They gave her an appreciative cheer. Jane agrees with Mr Ward – Mrs T knew how to work a room.

This may have been Mrs Thatcher’s first visit to Tenerife but she had been to the Canary Islands before. In 1967 she was part of a Parliamentary delegation consisting of 4 M.P.s who were having a short stay in Las Palmas before travelling on to The Gambia to present the Speaker’s Chair to their newly formed Parliament. This was a common practice to show friendship from the British Government to all members of the colonies on reaching independence.

William Lucas (the father of John Lucas owner of Sitio Litre Orchid Garden) was the manager of Maritima Medway SA based in Las Palmas. He was informed of the visit and instructed to look after the party during their stay at the Hotel Reina Isabel on Sunday 24th and Monday 25th September. William, in turn, passed this on to his young daughter Rosalyn who, judging by the letters received, carried out her duties to perfection.

On her return to London, Mrs Thatcher wrote on House of Commons paper the following:-

Dear Mr Lucas and Roslyn.

Thank you for a wonderful time on the island. You have both gone to a great deal of trouble on our behalf and we have thoroughly appreciated it. I had no idea that the islands were so beautiful and we were lucky to have perfect weather.

We shall all look forward to seeing you in London and returning your hospitality.

A note addressed to the House of Commons, London SW1 will soon find us.I know that Johnny is writing to you sending the ashtrays. I just wanted to say a special thank you as I have seldom had a happier time.

Yours sincerely

Margaret H. Thatcher MP.

Note. – The ashtrays referred to were special House of Commons souvenirs, unavailable in shops.

William Lucas was an old hand when it came to entertaining ex- Prime Ministers. In 1959, when Winston Churchill visited the islands with Aristotle Onassis on the yacht Christina, Lucas was detailed to take care of arrangements. The letter he received later from Churchill’s Private Secretary was full of praise for his attention to detail. Eight years later, taking care of a future Prime Minister would have been a doddle.

Photos courtesy of The British Library

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