The people of La Palma have a sweet tooth, so the island offers the widest range of pastries and desserts of all the Canary Islands. On La Palma, you will find “rapaduras”, “marquesotes”, almond cheeses, sweet potato flutes, macaroons, “bienmesabe”, etc. But, sweets aside, La Palma has also developed a cuisine over the years that has taken its influences from the different contributions made by the different settlers arriving here with the goods they brought: fruit, vegetables, meat; all of these have found their own particular expression and preparation here on the island.
La Palma is on the trade routes of three continents: Europe, Africa and America, meaning that our cuisine has taken on a wealth of influences from produce from South America (corn, pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes) and from Africa (gofio) that were almost unknown on the mainland of Europe.
The geographic location of the island and the fact that it is one of the highest islands in the world in comparison with its surface area, mean that crops from tropical, temperate and Mediterranean climes, such as mangos, papaya, plums, chestnuts, apples, almonds, oranges, mandarins, etc., can all be found here.
The most typical food items however, are “gofio” (toasted corn flour), a wide range of fish (Parrot Fish, Combers, Bonito, Gold Lined Bream, Sea Bream, etc.) and meat, especially pork, but they also eat goat meat, beef from the local breed of cows, rabbit, etc. The cheeses of La Palma, like the wines, are top quality and enjoy their own “Queso Palmero” Denomination of Origin. These are cheeses made from unpasteurised milk from the local La Palma breed of goats. These cheeses can be fresh, semi-mature or mature, smoked or not smoked. But one of the leading specialities is “mojo” (from the Portuguese “molho”, 'sauce'). It is an ideal typical sauce to go with roast pork, fish stews, etc. You can find many kinds of mojos; red ones (for meat) and green ones (mainly for fish), mild or spicy. Another ever-present speciality are the “papas arrugadas”. The way these potatoes are cooked is to boil them, washed but not peeled, in water with a lot of sea salt, so when they are ready and the water has been drained off, you can still see the rime of salt on the skin. Although they are usually served to accompany meat or fish, they are sometimes eaten on their own, or served as a “tapa” or snack.