The second largest of the Canary Islands may attract holidaymakers with its myriad of sandy beaches and year-round sunshine, but why not get off the beaten track and take your taste buds on a culturally rich gastronomic adventure. Bon appétit!
Miguel de Unamuno, the Spanish poet and philosopher exiled to the island by General Franco in 1924, once described the island as 'an oasis in the middle of civilisation's desert, a rock thirsting in the sun'. Well, this sun-drenched, atmospheric island with its brooding volcanic landscapes and Saharan-esque sand dunes provides the perfect home to many locally produced culinary delights. Simply traverse all corners of the island and you’ll discover the virtues of home-grown aloe vera, test out a variety of olive oils, see sal de espuma (fleur de sel) being harvested, and eat your way through mountains of Majorero cheese made from goats’ milk. Goat meat is a staple of islanders’ diet, with goat stew a popular menu choice – do add a dash of mojo sauce for a spicy kick! While on your travels you may also come across gofio, or ground cornmeal, that is unique to Canarian cuisine and used in many savoury and sweet dishes.
As you eat your way through the island, one bite at a time, tickle your cultural taste buds as you tour various picturesque villages: from Las Playitas with its stone-speckled lighthouse, to Pájara and its unusual church with Aztec-inspired décor, local tannery and traditional-style waterwheel; finishing in the cobbled streets of Betancuria, the island’s former capital (until 1834), which is home to the ruins of a Franciscan convent. And as you traverse Fuerteventura’s terracotta-toned terrain, windmills feature heavily on the landscape. The mills were once used to grind maize to create the aforementioned gofio, and funnily enough, the traditional windmills are distinguished by gender: female molinas have one storey, while the male molinos have two.