Located just off the coast of Northwest Africa, nestled amongst the other Canary Islands, is the small isle of La Gomera.
Despite the rich cultural history and spectacular landscapes that characterise La Gomera, this little paradise is often neglected by tourists.
The hidden gem is a concentrated hub of diverse cultures which literally flavour local life – La Gomera’s food is a fantastic fusion of African and Latin American influences, which build on a base of traditional Spanish cuisine. The local people of La Gomera take a great deal of pride in their fertile and diverse land and this is echoed in their culinary culture.
Gomerans hold particular pride for their array of wine, cheese and pastries, produced using local ingredients and traditional methods.
Many of the Gomeran wines are a result of hand-picking methods at the various vineyards across the island. Look out for La Gomera’s signature full-bodied white wines made from forastera blanca grapes; these grapes grow nowhere else in the world, making this wine unique to the island.
Make sure to try Queso blanco – a smoked goat’s cheese which is a staple in many of La Gomera’s dishes – and Almogrote – a dip consisting of cheese, garlic, pepper, chillies, tomatoes and olive oil.
A multitude of pastries are available on the island; local cakes, cookies and donuts frequent the counters of local restaurants. Do not miss the island’s palm honey which travmedia.com labelled the “queen of Gomeran gastronomy”; not only is this thick, dark syrup used to sweeten various dishes, it is also well-known for its health benefits. This honey is frequently used amongst locals to heal injuries and ailments – it is a core part of Gomeran culture.
Gomerans have a deep sense of respect and appreciation for their surrounding natural environment, which underpins local food production. Taking great care and pride to source local ingredients using sustainable methods, this island continues to be a flourishing natural wonder.
Therefore, a trip to La Gomera would not be complete without hiking one of the many trails across the island; have a wander through the forests of Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and up the rugged mountains to reach one of the spectacular viewpoints overlooking the island. A magnificent layer of clouds frequently sweeps through the park providing a mystical and romantic atmosphere for daily hikers.
Not only does this beautiful island offer delicious, authentic food and a spectacular backdrop, it is also rich in history. In addition to a long history of revolts and conquest, this island was visited by Christopher Columbus on his way to America for the very first time. Amongst the colourful houses which comprise La Gomera’s towns are various military forts, towers and buildings which housed both the local rulers of the time and Columbus during his stay.
La Gomera has so much to offer and will delight everyone – from travellers who are dreaming of a relaxing beach holiday to those who want an adventurous hiking trip.
If you need further temptation, check out some videos from the tourism website.
Imagine sipping a local wine and nibbling at La Gomera’s local breads and cheese following a day spent wandering through Garajonay national park.
Or trying a local seafood dish in one of the bustling town squares or seaside restaurants.
Or enjoying a cocktail, flavoured with the local palm honey, on a beautiful sandy beach watching the sun go down.
Pictures courtesy of La Gomera Travel
Article written for The National Student: