The cheeses and wines of the Canary Islands have their own Designation of Origin. And all the islands have at least one of these distinctions. This quality hallmark has earned its cheeses a number of important prizes in competitions like the World Cheese Awards, and its wines have been awarded high scores in the well-known Peñín and Parker guides, which every year select the world's best wines. This international prestige goes back a long time – as noted by even William Shakespeare and mentioned in some of his writings.
This is why on any of the islands you visit you'll always have the option of enjoying flavours with guaranteed quality.
Made the natural way
El Hierro obtained its Designation of Origin with only two wineries, in a highly unusual move which attests to the quality of its wines. This is because they're made with extremely ancient grape varieties which have survived on the island thanks to the fact it has never suffered any cases of Phylloxera. This gives the wines a purity and naturalness which also extends to its excellent smoked cheeses –made in the traditional way and marketed through a cooperative.
Cheeses with renowned prestige
Majorero cheese from Fuerteventura –which has had its own designation of origin since 1996– is one of the best-known in all the Canary Islands. It has been chosen as among the best in the world on numerous occasions, and it has won awards for its flavour from the tasters at the World Cheese Awards.You'll recognise it by the reddish colour from the ground red pepper in its rind, and by its distinctive flavour, which is slightly sweet and sour at the same time.
The Gran Canaria Designation of Origin is the result of the union of two existing designations –Monte Lentiscal and Gran Canaria– which means it includes a wide range of wines from such different grape varieties as Negramoll, Malvasía, Listan and Negra Común. These all make an excellent accompaniment for the island's star cheese, known as Flor de Guía, a delicious creation made from cow and ewe's milk with vegetable rennet and cardoon pistils, which is surprisingly creamy and aromatic.
The vegetation in La Gomera grows abundantly around the island. So don't be surprised to come across vines growing on steep terrain or clinging to rock faces. The most widespread variety is Forastera Blanca, which produces a wine with special notes and a unique bouquet, and often served to accompany dishes like almogrote, a type of mojo or dip made from cheese from La Gomera mixed with ground red pepper and tomato.
A unique wine in europe
If you're visiting La Palma you can't possibly leave without trying its wines with the local Designation of Origin, as they're made from grape varieties that disappeared from the rest of Europe centuries ago. This makes them highly regarded by wine experts. What's more, you'll find the smoked cheeses of La Palma –made on the island with raw goat's milk and sometimes weighing as much as 15kg– make the ideal accompaniment.
The island of Lanzarote has dry volcanic soils which give its products a distinctive character, and particularly its wines and cheeses. To see for yourself you only need to visit La Geria, an agricultural area whose layout and beauty make it unique in the world. Here the vines spring from cones of volcanic rock, creating attractive contrasts of colours while endowing each of its wines with a wide variety of subtle notes. The same is true of its cheeses, which are made from milk from local goats. The aridity and the special characteristics of the grazing mean the cattle produce milk with an intense taste and exceptional quality for making both fresh and cured cheeses.
A choice of flavours
Due to its abrupt changes in level in a very small area, Tenerife has a wide variety of microclimates and a great diversity of grapes between one region and another. This explains why the island has as many as five Designations of Origin for its wines –and all of excellent quality. Reds, whites, rosés, sweet Malvasías… And what better to serve with a good wine than a good cheese. The islanders' favourite is fresh cheese, although another excellent option is the characteristic smoked cheese with its rind made of roasted maize meal or ground red pepper, and its mild and spicy flavour.