Vegan in the Canary Islands
Guest blog post by my fabulous friend, Gabi.
Vegan Surprise in the Canaries
So much for my detox holiday. I have just demolished a Jamaican beer stew, some grilled veg with Aioli and instead of dessert a delicious dumpling with mushrooms. So, now it’s just a cortado…I think. The tiramisu looks good though.
The London weather and all the snotty nosed people on the tube were getting to me, so I escaped to Fuerteventura, one of the Canary Islands for a spot of sunshine. Having booked an all-inclusive deal in a tourist resort my food expectations were extremely low and I thought it might be a good opportunity to do a bit of a detox. I thought my options were limited to salad, nuts and fruit with the occasional canary potatoes bathed in red and/or green mojo (delicious by the way).
I was in Corralejo on the very northern tip of the island, a smallish tourist town, with a strong surfer vibe. And it’s got no less than FOUR vegan restaurants! I couldn’t believe it. Particularly since two of these really made this slightly jaded Londoner’s palate sing. The first was Baobab, a little homely family run restaurant that’s open from 11 am – 4pm, so a perfect lunch spot. Home-made bread sandwiches with an array of veggies, spreads, sprouts and tofu. Also, fresh juices and salads. But the stars of the show for me were the specials. The first day I had fried marinated tofu with a potato bake and fresh organic salad, simple, great ingredients and I nearly licked the plate. The second day I couldn’t make up my mind between home-made cashew cheese with figs and other yummy things and some croquettes. The croquettes (Spinach I think, won). Yummy again. Followed by a delicious raw chocolate and pistachio cake. Sitting in the sun, by a square, I was happy. Their English was rather basic so I didn’t get the full lowdown on this family run enterprise.
It was another restaurant though that sounded the death knell to my detox. Past & Future only opened a few months ago, and I ate there four times. And always way too much because I really wanted to try as much as possible. As much as I love street food, it was so nice to sit in a proper restaurant, have good food and wine not get totally fleeced. Even though there are some Indian/Indonesian/Jamaican outliers on the menu, to me the food is European soul food. Proper home-made pasta (Ravioli with truffled cream sauce, really good lasagne), German/Austrian dumplings, fresh crisp salads, Canarian stews, Tiramisu and parfait for dessert.
The restaurant is owned and run by the vivacious polyglot Aida Le Pesqueur who can rattle off her menu in what seems like 15 languages and gave me a bit of an insight into the Canary Island vegan scene. She is helping to organise the island’s first vegan festival on May 19th-20th in the capital Puerto del Rosario. Le Pesqueur moved her restaurant from Cologne to Corralejo last year and credits the arrival of a number of Italian restauranteurs in recent years with the sudden flurry of vegan activity in the town. Her own ambition is either to franchise Past & Future or to open a vegan hotel on the island.
The other two vegan spots are H20, a daytime café which is really good too. It has the standard vegan fare of juices, salads and burgers, and does a full English breakfast, hence I wasn’t as excited. D Sanchez is a burger bar that gets a lot of love online for its fresh food and craft beer, but I didn’t make it there. It does look good from the outside though.