Shopping in Tenerife, What’s Different in Our Kitchen Cupboards?

When you move to Tenerife from the UK lot’s of things change, obviously.

I’m always reminded of this when I go to the hairdresser. How to go about getting my hair cut in Spanish wasn’t one of the things I’d considered before moving. It’s a little thing, but it’s one of many little things where life has suddenly become different.

One we were prepared for was that the contents of our kitchen cupboards and fridge might have to change quite radically in a new world. I’d totally forgotten about that until it popped back into my head recently.

It made me wonder just how much the contents of the cupboards, shelves and fridge had actually changed over the years.

We always had an army of herbs and spices and we’ve simply replaced those with the Spanish versions. Same with oils and wine vinegars. But more herbs come from the garden. The chillies come from a pot outside the front door and the saffron is Canarian saffron.

Saffron and water

Our cupboards still have dried beans, lentils, pastas, various stock cubes, tins of tuna, sauces etc.
But there is more dried fruit, especially dates and figs, and the sauces now include Canarian mojos and miel de palma (palm honey).

Marmalade is joined by local honey. At the moment it’s avocado honey because our favourite, chestnut, is out of season. The jam is homemade, as are the chutneys.

There probably isn’t a lot of difference in what’s in our fruit bowl, except the bananas and mangos could have come from the plantation and finca next door for all I know. The pineapple has travelled a bit further; from another Canary Island, El Hierro.

Chorizo and honey

We’ve always had too much cheese in the fridge. A weekly visit to Stockport market resulted in a carrier bag full of ‘recommendations’ from the cheese man. We still have cheddar and feta but there’s also manchego and local smoked goats’ cheese, from Teno preferably or Benijos if we haven’t been walking in the west of Tenerife for a while.

Much of the rest of the cool contents are the same; beer, butter (at this time of year if it’s not in the fridge it’ll be liquid butter in no time), margarine, yoghurt, tahini, olives, mayo, lemons, ginger, eggs, lettuce, milk (soya, although fresh milk from Santa Ursula is bought when anything with mashed potato is on the menu), cold meats, orange juice etc. The only thing that is different is that there are always chorizo and anchovies present. Meat and fish come and go, but mainly at the weekend. Oh, and there is water. Three big bottles always on the go. In Britain we drank from the tap, here we always drink bottled water. Tap water is drinkable, but we prefer bottled water from the hills. And anyway, the cold tap water is warm tap water at the moment.

Pineapple and honey

The veg rack hasn’t really changed at all, save for the occasional appearance of a sweet potato or two. Potatoes are a Tenerife speciality and tomatoes are so abundant that excess ones get piled high in fields for goats to eat.

The wine rack still has French and Italian reds. I won’t say ‘full of’ as it never stays that way long enough to justify the phrase. However, the bulk are Canario wines. Something I didn’t even know existed before we moved.

Taking stock made me realise that there’s really not a great difference in what’s in our kitchen at all from what would have been in it in Blighty over ten years ago.

What is not the same though is that now much of it is locally produced. And that makes a massive difference to the taste of the food we cook.


Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+

About Jack 434 Articles
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Facebook


    • If you’ve a wine specialist anywhere near it might be worth asking. I found out about a wine from a small bodega in the Orotava Valley thanks to a posting on Twitter by a wine bar in Oxford who sold it. I’d never heard of the place because they only export their wine.

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