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One thing you won’t escape is the famous Canarian wrinkly potato. A lynchpin of Lanzarote’s cuisine, papas arrugadas are gobbled by the locals in great volumes and make a perfect afternoon snack paired with a cold beer.
They are small potatoes grown in volcanic soil, boiled in salt water with their skins still on until they become soft and crinkly – like your fingertips after a long bath. To finish, they are sprinkled with even more sea salt and served tapas style, usually with a duo of mojo sauces.
Impossible to miss, they play a starring role in every Canarian meal, so prepare for your sodium levels to skyrocket.
Papas arrugadas never arrive without their playmates – mojo verde and mojo picon. These are dipping sauces that pack a mighty punch, so try not to dive in with wild abandon.
Mojo picon is a flaming little number that sets many unsuspecting taste buds ablaze, so consider yourself warned. Made with red pepper, garlic, paprika, cumin, breadcrumbs, wine vinegar and a helping of chilli that will blow your head off, it’s sure to tease your tear ducts.
If your system isn’t great with spice, mojo verde is fresh, herby and far more innocent. A blend of parsley and coriander, it’s full of flavour without the killer kick, making it perfect for fear-free papas dipping.
Canarian cuisine has humble roots, so many of its traditional dishes are hearty affairs designed to fill the hard-working bellies of local fishermen and hunters.
You’ll stumble across all kinds of stews on every menu, from sancocho canario, a traditional sea bass stew served with wrinkly potatoes, to conejo en salmorejo, a slow-cooked wild rabbit casserole consisting of wine, vinegar, garlic and spices.
Another family favourite is ropa vieja, which translates literally as ‘old clothes’. It’s a good honest jumble of shredded leftover meats stewed with veg and pulses. Simple and heart-warming, it’s like a hug from grandma in a bowl.
Got a sweet tooth? Lick your lips, loosen your belt and tuck into bienmesabe, which translates as ‘tastes good to me’. An almondy-cinnamony sugar syrup laced with tangy lemon zest and thickened with eggs yolks, it’s something that’s hard to describe without drooling. Usually served over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, it’s a shortcut straight to sugar Shangri-La.
If you’re concerned about a glucose overdose, skip afters in favour of a glass of local wine. Lanzarote is world famous for sweet Moscatel wine, which makes a delicious replacement to a solid dessert. Alternatively, the island ron miel (honey rum) is a great after-dinner tipple and guarantees a good night’s sleep.
If you want to dance off those sweet treats or fancy a seaside nightcap, find out where to go on our Lanzarote nightlife page.