With luggage allowances at a premium, why waste space on fake watches that will stop the minute your aircraft wheels leave the runway? Here’s our pick of the best buys to squeeze into the suitcase at the end of your holidays to Tenerife …
1. Tobacco. If there’s one place where hoping to give up smoking while on holiday is probably a non-starter, it’s Tenerife. As a VAT-free island, the dreaded weed is a fraction of UK prices. Don’t wait until you get to the airport to stock up, you’ll pay way more than in any local supermarket or in resort shops.
2. Alcohol. That absence of VAT on Tenerife means that all the vices are at irresistibly affordable prices and with supermarkets allocating as many aisles to alcohol as they do to food, readily available in all flavours and sizes. Opt for the local brands if you really want to win the cheapskate prize but be prepared to pay a dividend in hangovers.
3. Perfume. There’s that “we’re a tax-free island” bonus raising its pretty head again…without which the price of wafting Dior, Chanel and Versace in your wake falls distinctly into the affordable bracket. Again, don’t wait until you get to the airport to buy, you can test to your heart’s content in any number of hyper stores and leave everyone in close proximity with a headache and a slightly nauseous feeling.
4. Cheese. Tenerife produces award winning goat’s cheeses and it’s worth testing out a few during your stay and bagging a block to take home. You can buy fresco (fresh), ahumado (smoked), semi-curado and curado (cured) with fresco being the mildest and curado having definite cheese attitude. The biggest trophy cabinet belongs to Arico smoked which is considered one of the top twelve cheeses in the world by people who know about these things ““ presumably Wallace and Gromit.
5. Shoes. Leather has always been a good buy in Spanish territories and Tenerife is no exception. With eternal summer on the beaches, it’s a great place to stock up on your summer sandal collection. If you really want to play Carrie Bradshaw to your friends at home, check out the nearest branch of Pécas for incredible styles that you won’t find in the UK.
6. Honey. Look for the “Miel de Tenerife’ label and grab yourself a jar of Winnie The Pooh’s favourite supper. Mobile hives are transported to allow their little furry workers to feast on such delicacies as avocado blossom and tajinaste which results in some 15 varieties of truly excellent honey.
7. Miel de Palma/Palm Honey. Okay, I know it’s technically honey but… it’s derived from an entirely different source and it tastes more like toffee syrup, so it’s getting a separate listing ““ bite me. Produced from the sap of Gomeran date palms and distilled into a rich, dark syrup, Miel de Palma has been produced for over 500 years. Completely natural, filled with minerals and high in nutritional value, drizzle it to turn a bowl of vanilla ice cream into a dessert to die for; Greek yoghurt into the food of the Gods and goat’s cheese into seventh heaven.
8. Mojos. Having spent your holiday dipping your papas arrugadas into the delicious tangy red and green mojos that are served in Canarian restaurants, you can buy lots of little sets to take home and smear on your chips.
9. Coffee. Extremely good value compared to UK prices, the Spanish addiction to strong coffee translates into dozens of varieties, some of which have packaging that will get you arrested by the political correctness party just for having it in your suitcase.
10. Turrón. Made from a base of almonds and honey and available in a dizzying range of flavours, the enduring favourite is yema tostada. A seasonal goodie, turrón is only on sale a couple of months either side of Christmas so if you see it, grab a slab and when you’re back home, pop a slice onto the saucer and turn your morning coffee break into a Tenerife daydream.