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Posts Tagged ‘food and drink’

I opened the fridge to see if anything edible had been left and I spotted the Jamon Serrano. Laying the paper thin strips onto a plate, I cut several slices from the Manchego block and added some pieces of the semi-curado goat’s cheese we’d bought in Teno Alto, so pungent it makes your tongue burn. I spooned some anchovy olives into a bowl, cut the bread we’d bought on the way back from the airport into thick chunks and poured two glasses of lightly chilled Rioja.

The sun was still full on the raised terrace at the front of the house with its Basil Fawlty sea view which you can just get if you crane your neck around the orchid tree and peer through the branches of the Canarian pine. But it was early evening and the burn factor was dissipating, so I laid the food on the glass tabletop and we raised our glasses to each other:
“Salud,” we said.

We didn’t speak again for a long time. We just slowly ate our Jamon and cheese, drank our wine and listened to the silence, broken only by the wild canaries and Tenerife blue tits as they chatted while stealing the nectar from the hibiscus flowers and scouring the chilli plant for insects. As sunset began I walked to the back terrace and watched as Mount Teide glowed in the dying embers of sun and a paraglider floated silently above the banana leaves, drifting towards the coast.

We’d arrived back from Marrakech via Gran Canaria late that afternoon, hungry and spent. It had been an incredible trip in which seven days in Morocco had drawn itself out to full stretch as we crammed experiences into every waking moment and most of the sleeping ones too; even my dreams were exhausting. We’d walked the medinas and souks of Marrakech and Essaouira and we’d hiked the High Atlas Mountains. We’d stayed in the most beautiful riad and splendid dar and we’d slept on a mattress on a concrete floor. We’d struggled to get past the default foreign language setting of Spanish in our brains and we’d endured stifling city heat and chilly mountain nights.

And now we were home. And like a dam bursting its banks, a tide of memory flooded my brain and I recalled with absolute clarity why it was that I first fell in love with where we live. And here I am, falling in love with it all over again.

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Meals on wheels

Service with a smile

It’s a perfect day for standing ankle deep in ox manure watching small wooden galleons and rice and grain decorated carts trundle past while being plied with free wine and popcorn and trying not to lose an eye to a flying hard boiled egg.

Although I’m certain that Freudian analysts could dine out on such a scenario were it to come from the sub-conscious; this one’s real. And as if it wasn’t already weird enough, I’ve managed to completely lose Jack in the crowd and the battery on the mobile just died.

I can’t understand how Jack doesn’t stand out a mile as he’s just about the only man not dressed in a bright scarlet waistcoat, rough wool breeches and a cummerbund. But scouring the crowds is fruitless; Jack’s very blandness of attire on this occasion is his, and my, undoing.

Followers of this blog and proud owners of ‘Going Native in Tenerife’ will be well aware of my affection for the little town of Tegueste which floats in the big sea of La Laguna in the humid northeast of the island. Bursting at the seams with charm and character, it’s truly Tenerife’s ‘hidden gem’ in my book and I don’t take a lot of persuading to pay a visit.

Having already witnessed the bizarre re-enactment of a sea-faring battle staged in the town square last year, this year’s Romería was the perfect opportunity to see the pretty galleons which the town is famed for back in action once more.

You acquire a good deal of ‘fiesta savvy’ when you attend these events and one of the things you learn is this; when you see other cars parking anywhere they can, no matter how far you are from the epicenter of proceedings, park the car.
We parked half way to Tejina and began the long walk into Tegueste in the hot sunshine accompanied by large and growing crowds of traditionally dressed party-goers, most of them under the age of forty. All along the route friends and families were eating and drinking from open car boots, picnicking on small grassy knolls and gathering outside guachinches (small, make-shift bars set up at fiestas in the north of Tenerife).

Idyllic setting for an all day party

Idyllic setting for an all day party

We arrived in the main street just in time to see the Romería set off. Preceeded by a herd of goats and sheep, the famous Tegueste galleons with their pretty white sails headed up the procession of ox-pulled carts as it began its journey through the narrow town streets to the main square. The carts are the most beautifully and ornately decorated of any I have seen on Tenerife and their occupants are the most gifted at firing food into the crowds to be scooped up in waiting up-turned hats, snatched from the air with the dexterity of a wicket keeper or fought over like a bride’s bouquet.

Are you the guy with the carrots?

"Are you the guy with the carrots?"

In between the carts, dozens of parrandas (local musicians) and dancing troupes swell the ranks of the moving spectacle and with nigh on 40,000 people in attendance, it’s soon pretty much impossible to move anywhere. I resign myself to my static situation and amuse myself by seeing how many potatoes and chunks of pork I can catch while I wait for the procession to pass.

When the crowds finally thin Jack emerges from his anonymity and we head to the square to join the carnival atmosphere around the beer stands and to sink a much needed cold Dorada.
Like every time I come to Tegueste, I find myself completely caught up in the atmosphere of well being, relaxation and sheer enjoyment of life. It may not be the biggest Romería on the island but for my money, it’s definitely the best.

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