Title: Dorada..Una Cultura
Location: Plaza Roja, El Medano
Description: Enjoy tapas and entertainment as you enjoy the main beer of Tenerife. From noon until 11pm – all welcome.
Start Time: 12.00
As we emerge from the stifling heat of late summer and the first rains of the autumn feed the earth, turning brown to green and filling the air with the promise of new growth, it’s the perfect time to head into the hills of Santiago del Teide and visit the delightful Erjos Pools.
Why this way?
There are very few places on Tenerife where you’ll find pools or lakes that aren’t surrounded by sun loungers or walls. The disused quarry workings of Erjos are one of the prettiest. When the heavy digging machinery moved out, the wildlife moved in and now the pools are a haven for butterflies, dragonflies, ducks and rabbits ““ a veritable Watership Down, but without the sad bits.
It’s a part of Tenerife that’s favoured by walkers and it’s a million miles from the beaches of the south coast. Up here, the air is scented with pine, the landscapes are rolling green hills and dramatic volcanic cones and the nearby village of Santiago del Teide is to my mind, one of the prettiest on Tenerife. For the bonus ball, Bar Fleytas provides a great place to head for a beer and some tapas when you’ve finished. The inside bar is great for escaping the cool clouds and if it’s hot, the outside tables are perfect for perusing the, err, car park. Still, there’s always plenty to nosey at.
You don’t have to be a hiking pole-carrying, rucksack sporting, boot-clad rambler to enjoy this part of Tenerife. The pools are easily accessible from the main Icod de los Vinos to Santiago del Teide road and are great fun to explore just on their own and there are more than enough places to buy ice cream and fun things to do in Santiago del Teide to please the whole family.
Hike this way*
A path drops down from a dangerous bend on the main road, just north of Bar Fleytas on the Icod road, and zig-zags down to the pools. From there, any number of trails criss-cross their way, connecting smaller pools to wannabe lakes and providing reed cover for mallards and dragonflies. Just keep hold of the smallest members of the family lest they mistake bulrushes for solid ground and find themselves doing a Moses impersonation without the aid of a basket.
When the novelty of chasing rabbits and crickets wears thin, a path leads up through heather and willow trees to the ridge that overlooks Valle de Arriba and Santiago del Teide. At this point, any breath you had spare from the climb will be taken away as the gorgeous valleys unfold at your feet with the massive bulk of Mount Teide and Pico Viejo blotting out the horizon.
From here, a Red Riding Hood trail takes you through dense forest which still bears the blackened scars of the 2007 fires, along the north west ridge overlooking Los Silos before bringing you full circle to emerge once more above the Erjos Pools. Whistling the theme tune from the Archers, you descend through the green and pleasant farming land and arrive back at the pools.
Stroll this way
In the centre of Santiago del Teide is a small footbridge which looks as if it leads nowhere. In fact, it leads to a small shrine hidden in the hillside high above the village. The path is called the Camino de la Virgin de Lourdes and is marked by the white crosses (stations of the cross) that the pilgrims follow to reach the shrine. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with lovely views back over the valley and the village, and a small oasis of honeysuckle, roses and bougainvillea in which to sit and ponder the beauty of your surroundings.
Alternatively, take a stroll through the neighbouring village of Valle de Arriba where you’ll find rural Tenerife in all its simplistic glory. Agriculture is the mainstay of the village, much of it still by back-breaking bending and weeding by hand, and the fresh water spring is the centre of village life where bottles are filled and gossip exchanged. Feel free to join the queue for the free water, it tastes much better than the bottled variety and is rich in minerals.
Peaks: Check out the lovely Casa Del Patio in Santiago del Teide for great food, souvenirs and a menagerie of farmyard animals or enjoy a eucalyptus-scented picnic at the zona recreativa opposite, If you’ve forgotten to pack the egg butties, the kiosk does a mean burger.
Troughs: If you’re unlucky and the bruma (low cloud) rolls in, the temperatures can plunge to uncomfortable levels and scenery can disappear.
My view: 4 Stars ““ This is one of my enduring favourite walks in an unspoilt area of Tenerife and is easily accessible by everyone. With the lovely Santiago del Teide next door, it makes for a great family day out.
*Detailed directions for this walk are available in PDF format as part of the ‘Into the Valley’ Island Walks.
Now summer is officially here and before the thermometer loses its head entirely, it’s the ideal time to explore Tenerife’s east coast. Around Puertitio de GÃ¼Ãmar the default setting is sun and there’s very little shade to be found, but the near-constant breeze keeps everything just the right temperature for exploring the coastline.
Why this way?
For many people, the east coast of Tenerife is just a blur seen from the window as they travel along the TF1. But leave the motorway and head down towards the coast, or up into the hills and you discover a very different side to Tenerife. Less conducive to taming than its southern and western counterparts, the east has escaped over-development and there are many parts where nature still holds sway with wide, open spaces, where you can walk for hours and not meet another soul.
Hot, dry and windy, the central eastern coastline is largely what is known as malpaÃs (badlands); arid scrub land with desert-like conditions. To look at it from a distance, you might be forgiven for thinking that nothing grows or lives here but in fact, the malpaÃs is home to 150 species of flora which support 100 types of insect and 60 types of butterfly, not to mention the thriving communities of lizards that accompany your every step.
But the best reason of all for choosing Puertito de GÃ¼Ãmar as a walking base is because of its great seafood and tapas restaurants and the little port with its stylish boardwalk where swimmers and sunbathers frolic. There can be few better places to end a hike with a swim, lunch and a beer, not necessarily in that order.
Hike this way
The clearly marked path begins just outside Puertito de GÃ¼Ãmar and follows the coastline past a shanty town of former military installations which have been extended haphazardly using a spirit level that was clearly far more spirit than level. It should look like an eyesore, and indeed it largely does, except that there’s something compellingly ideal about its simplicity and I could easily pull up a deckchair and spend the day just idling here.
The path winds its way through clumps of pink marine thyme and bright green sea lettuce until it reaches Montaña de la Mar which should be awarded a prize for self delusion as, rising to no more than a paltry 27 metres above sea level, it barely deserves the title hillock, let alone mountain.
As the trail reaches the base of Montaña Grande the vegetation morphs into tall grasses and sweet tabaiba and everywhere, lizards scurry through the undergrowth, foraging for food. From the mountain a path leads back, zigzagging round islands filled with the fat spikes of cardón, to Puertito and that promise of a cold beer and lunch.
Stroll this way
The great thing about walking around the malpaÃs of GÃ¼Ãmar is that you can set out from Puertito and just stroll along the coastal path, spotting nice pieces of driftwood and all sorts of detritus washed up by the tide.
Beyond the turn off for Montaña Grande the path continues to the tiny coastal settlement of Socorro with its beach houses and its two chapels ““ one above, one below ““ and its little beach of Chimisay where the miraculous discovery of the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands, the Virgin of Candelaria took place. For such a momentous event, you might expect there to be an ostentatious monument or two but in fact, there is just a simple cross set in a block of concrete. The ostentation is preserved for the Candelaria Basilica.
Peaks: The aces in GÃ¼Ãmar’s pack for me are the wide open emptiness of the plains and the lovely El Puertito as the start and end points. Keep an eye out for plovers and turnstones fishing amongst the rock pools.
Troughs: The scenery could get a bit monotonous if you were to walk here every day and the lack of trees and natural shade mean it’s best to avoid high summer days when the breeze drops.
My view: 2.5 Stars ““ This is an easy, pleasant walk which offers a landscape which is more akin to the Eastern Canary Islands. I particularly like the abundance of grasses around Montaña Grande, particularly in spring and early summer.
There are many versions of how tapas came to be in existence, from the humble need to keep flies off wine glasses by placing a slice of cheese or ham over as a lid (tapa), to the much more complex but highly plausible reason for its emergence as a result of law evasion in 16th and 17th century Seville.
But whatever its origins, in regions where the climate is often not conducive to large plates groaning with food, the pre or post-siesta enjoyment of a tipple with tapas has now become a Spanish institution.
Originally, every bar owner developed a single speciality tapa which gave rise to the tapeo (tapas bar crawl) which today has found new life under the guise of tapas routes. But today most bars and restaurants have a whole menu of tapas, entrantes or raciones to tickle the taste buds.
Some tapas dishes such as ensaladilla (Russian salad) and boquerónes (pickled anchovies) are fairly universally evident on menus throughout Spain, but every region has its own specialities based on local ingredients and the Canary Islands are no exception. Travel to Gran Canaria, La Palma or La Gomera and you’ll find one or two dishes that you won’t see on Tenerife menus and vice versa.
These are the most popular Tenerife tapas:
1. Papas arrugadas con mojo ““ not just a tapas dish, but the preferred potato accompaniment to just about any Tinerfeño meal, the little salty, wrinkled potatoes with their spicy red and green sauces are as popular as sunshine.
2. Jamón Serrano ““ freshly sliced thin strips of cured ham are a constant crowd pleaser, particularly if accompanied by Manchego cheese. If you really want the best, push the tapas boat out and order Jamón Ibérico from the black-hooved, pata negra pig ““ guaranteed to send the taste buds into overdrive.
3. Chopitos ““ tiny, battered and deep fried squid which are compulsively more-ish. Even the littlest of fingers will help themselves to this tasty snack, as long as no-one mentions the word “squid”.
4. Churros de Pescado – another fishy speciality these goujons of cod are coated in a herby batter and fried to golden deliciousness. Fish fingers without the processing.
5. Queso a la Plancha ““ a thick slab of semi-cured goat’s cheese, lightly grilled so it just begins to melt and then drizzled in red and green mojos (sauces) and palm honey. I”M afraid diet sheets have no place on a tapas table.
6. Gambas al Ajillo ““ fat, juicy prawns sizzling in a clay pot of oil, chillies and garlic slices and the perfect accompaniment to dry, crusty bread and alioli (garlic mayonnaise). Definitely not one for a pre-first date lunch.
7. Tortilla Española ““ a staple of the tapas table and a good appetite queller, my preference is for a thin layer of alioli atop. Those with healthier appetites than mine order their tortilla in a bocadillo ““ the Spanish equivalent of a chip butty I guess.
8. Pimientos de Padrón ““ as much a game of chance as a tasty snack, one in ten of these rock salted peppers will blow your head off, the rest will just leave you licking your fingers.
9. Croquetas ““ fat little, sausage-shaped portions of fish or chicken in mashed potato and coated in breadcrumbs. Another ‘safe’ option for the youngest tapas triers at the table, provided the grown-ups don’t snaffle them all first.
10. Empanadas ““ little, Cornish pasty-shaped pies usually filled with a tuna, onion and pepper mix and shallow fried. Bite-sized, pastry delights that will have fellow diners pointing a finger and asking “who ate all the pies?”
The last time I was really surprised by a tapas dish was on one of Tenerife’s tapas routes when I bit into ravioli sorpresa to discover that the little square of pasta was filled with space dust. Raviola that snaps, crackles and pops was definitely a surprise and no other tapas dish on Tenerife has come close to having the same impact”¦that was until the restaurant speciality was placed in front of me at Tasca el Olivo in Puerto de la Cruz.
Although tapas is readily available on Tenerife, with many Canarian and Spanish restaurants including a tapas section on their menus, specialist restaurants dedicated to the art of el tapeo are still relatively thin on the ground; Tasca el Olivo on Calle Iriarte in Puerto de la Cruz is one of them.
The interior of the tasca has an inviting, rustic ambience with intimate polished wood booths and an incredibly narrow spiral staircase that becomes more difficult to negotiate post-meal after the waistband has increased a couple of notches. It’s a wonderfully cosy environment for whiling away an afternoon picking at tapas dishes; however being a people watcher I chose to sit at one of the tables on the street.
The menu offers a choice of montaditos, salads, tablas of chorizos, Serrano ham, cheeses and pates. Best of all is the imaginative picoteo section featuring a mix of familiar tapas dishes as well as el Olivo originals that are a marriage of Canarian ingredients and Mediterranean cuisine.
First up was an avocado and tuna salad. Generally speaking I don’t find salads on Tenerife particularly adventurous and this was no exception. There was nothing wrong with it, but the most exciting thing about eating it was when a car came careening down the hill, misjudged the corner, screeched across the road and crashed into a street bollard with an explosive bang. It was a very Canarian RTA in that there was no-one else involved; the driver had managed to manufacture an accident out of nothing. It livened up the salad no end.
The second tapas dish was much more to my liking; crispy croquettes filled with a savoury mix of potato and fish and accompanied by a scoop of Russian salad. Being Scottish anything fried is always likely to be a winner.
By the time the third dish arrived I could see a pattern developing; each was getting progressively more interesting. The tricolour design of green mojo, red mojo and local honey drizzled across lightly grilled cheese looked pretty as a picture and the savoury sweet combination of honey, mojos and cheese hit it off with the taste buds big time.
The grilled cheese was good but the ferrerro Canario that followed was even better; morcillo (Canarian black pudding) coated with chopped almonds and herbs and drizzled in honey was simply a tapas triumph.
Back to traditional for the penultimate round ““ pimientos de Padrón. If you’ve never tried these green peppers fried in olive oil and sprinkled with rock salt then you’re missing out on a classic tapas dish. What makes them even more appealing is that as well as being delicious they’re tapas with attitude; one in ten can pack a picante punch. But not apparently if they’ve been grown on Tenerife. If you fancy playing culinary Russian roulette check to make sure the pimientos de Padrón hail from La Palma. On this occasion I didn’t have to ask. As the waitress placed the bowl of peppers in front of me, a waiter serving another table gesticulated in my direction.
“Be careful,” he warned. “These are spicy ones.”
As it happened some did prompt a reaction akin to a dusky beauty wearing stilettos doing the tango on my tongue, but as a Rusholme vindaloo veteran it was nothing I couldn’t handle; they were some of the best pimientos de Padrón I’ve tasted in a long time.
All that I knew about my last choice was that it included octopus, the name pulpito al Olivo didn’t give much away, but it had been recommended by the waiter. When it arrived it turned out to be one of the most bizarre concoctions I’ve ever seen.
The morcels of octopus lay on top of layer of creamed potato sprinkled with paprika ““ basically it was octopus and mash and it was delicious. Amazingly the potatoes complimented the tender octopus perfectly. It was a wonderfully surprising denouement to an imaginative tapas meal with a difference”¦and they didn’t even charge me extra for the street entertainment.
Tenerife Magazine’s five star rating for Tasca el Olivo
Décor ““ 4 stars. Delivers exactly what you’d expect from a stylish Spanish tasca. Looks great and has a lively ambience.
Menu ““ 4 stars. Impressive range of choices with classic dishes to suit the traditionalists, but also a few imaginative offerings to excite foodies with adventurous taste buds.
Food – 4 stars. Dishes taste as though they’re all freshly cooked and prepared with TLC. Some work better than others.
Service ““ 4 stars. The waiter warning me about the pimientos typified the staff’s genuinely friendly and attentive approach.
Where when and how
C/Iriarte1, Puerto de la Cruz. Open 12.30 to 3pm and 7.15 to 10pm every day. Reservations 922 38 01 17 / 677 50 99 88
Tapas dishes are on average between €3 and €5. The Tasca has an extensive wine list and also a interesting range of Spanish beers chosen especially to make the tapas taste even better.
Title: Wine Fiesta
Location: Calle La Noria, Santa Cruz
Description: The wine producing regions of Tenerife come together in La Noria, the nightlife hub of Santa Cruz, to show off their best wines. Lots of tasting and lovely tapas to compliment the fruit of the grape. from 7 pm to 11 pm.
Local entrepreneur Subash N, Manskukhani has taken his Indian heritage, fused it with his Puerto upbringing and business know-how and has created a sumptuous palace for eating, drinking and socialising the night away.
Walking down Calle Santo Domingo a couple of months ago I suddenly became aware that something was very different. A striking red and black interior with Ã¼ber chic tables and chairs, a New York style cocktail bar and a mock cliff face, trickling waterfall and smiling Buddha occupied the glass fronted building which last time I looked was selling shoes.
Suan Chill had arrived… full of Eastern promise.
An alluring emporium of kaleidoscopic, neon colours reflecting on embroidered and sequinned upholstery and state of the art bar and restaurant fittings, Suan Chill is offering something a bit different; a tapas bar/restaurant front of house and a chill out bar/party venue back of house.
Gawping around at the myriad of display cases, the busy bar, the eclectic décor and our fellow diners, we have to send the smiling waitress away twice before we finally settle on our choice of food.
We opt for a selection of tapas dishes, some of which sound familiar while others, like the frikenden are culinary strangers to us. As we sip our beers a selection of delicious looking montaditos (lightly toasted bread slices topped with a variety of savouries) arrives at the table next to us and opposite, we overhear someone telling the waiter that the steak he’s just eaten was one of the best he’s ever had. The gastric juices tingle in anticipation.
Within 10 minutes our dishes arrive. Everything is beautifully and artfully presented on white, triangular shaped dinner plates and accompanied by a small salad. First to arrive is a tasty Russian salad, one of the items we’ve ordered which doesn’t deviate from the standard tapas recipe.
Next up is mushrooms stuffed with tartare; half a dozen large, flat mushrooms filled with a tangy tartare sauce which becomes a bit rich by the time I’m finishing my third mushroom. Then comes morcilla de Burgos, a black pudding and rice combination heavily spiced with cumin and accompanied by a dollop of the tartare sauce which is finding its way onto every plate. The papas arrugadas appear next, accompanied by thick mojo sauces; the verde has a lip-smacking kick to it and the rojo is a sweet, tangy delight. Finally, the mysterious frikenden makes an appearance and it turns out to be savoury mini beefburgers accompanied by a crisp, light hash brown and a dollop of the now ubiquitous tartare sauce.
Everything is fresh, tasty, surprisingly filling and a pleasant diversion from standard tapa fare. Suan Chill has given ingredients their own signature make-over, adding some of that sexy Eastern spice and creating a concept which, like the place itself, is delivering something a bit different. My only criticisms are that it could have been hotter and could happily have done without the tartare overdose.
We order coffee and I head off to check out the facilities and the chill out section.
Beyond the bar is an area the size of a small nightclub with its own bar, a DJ platform and several large, private booths, each a different colour combination. The décor is a colourful crossroads of traditional East meets 21st century West. Rows of embossed, sequined poufs and large hookahs sit alongside black vinyl and aluminium surfaces watched over by smiling Buddha images.
The toilets are a contemporary delight in red and black tiling and frosted glass.
I return to enjoy my cappuccino just as Subash is doing a tour of tables, checking with diners before he dims the lights front of house as Suan Chill morphs into its night attire.
Where, when and how:
Suan Chill; Calle Santo Domingo, 8; Puerto de la Cruz. Open every day from 08.00 to 03.00; reservations ““ (0034) 922 37 49 79
Starters (incl tapas) average €5; main courses average €10; sweets average €3.50
Three course menu del dÃa €7 – changes daily.
Free parking at the Plaza Europa car park opposite for customers spending €30 or more and a free taxi home to Puerto de la Cruz, La Orotava or central Los Realejos for customers spending €50 or more.
Title: Los Abrigos Beer & Tapas Festival
Location: Los Abrigos
Description: Mid way between Los Cristianos and El Medano you will find the small fishing village of Los Abrigos. This Saturday come and enjoy Cañas y Tapas from 10am to 7pm in Calle La Marina.
Six local restaurants will be offering tapas for one euro and cañas (small beer) for 50 cents in marquees set up along the street. There will of course be music and one of the most delightful settings in the south of Tenerife.
Title: Los Cristianos Beach Fashion Show
Location: Old beach promenade
Description: Open air catwalk features two shows each night at 6.30pm and 8.30pm, featuring clothes from many local shops. Friday there will be a childrens play area from 6pm to 8pm, Saturday visit the beach library from 9am to 9pm.
Also local bars will be doing special tapas offers for 3 euros including a drink.
Start Date: 2010-07-23
End Date: 2010-07-24
Well what would you expect from a major cosmopolitan city, of course Santa Cruz, capital of Tenerife and home to CD Tenerife, is embracing the 2010 World Cup. The vast choice of multi national bars will spoil you for choice but if you want an open air feast of football, they can manage that too.
For the duration of the 2010 games there will be giant 4 x 3 metre LED screens for FREE viewing at Plaza del Chicharro and in nearby Calle Imeldo Seris. Sneak off from the shopping and grab a slice of the action for all the games. If you want to combine food with footie then how about Hotel Atlantida Silken in Avenida Tres de Mayo. They will be showing re runs of all the games in their Piano Bar, Cafe Atlantida, and Restaurante Jacarinde Tacoronte, and all three will be offering a specail menu with tapas from 2 euros from a special menu featuring food from all the World Cup countries – I wonder if England is pie and mash?