The city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is the largest on the Canary Islands with nearly 400,000 inhabitants, and is known both in the islands and around the world for its cosmopolitan character. It’s port is one of the busiest in Spain, and large numbers of vessels leave from its docks bound for many European destinations carrying the island’s agricultural exports, while all types of other foods are imported from outside to complete the local diet.
For centuries now, this diet has been enriched thanks to the influence of the constant comings and goings of people from other countries, indeed, few Spanish cities can boast the sheer amount of specialist restaurants from all around the globe. This mosaic of traditional gastronomy mixed with a hotpot of international cuisine affords an endless list of mouth-watering dishes for us to enjoy, by the hand of all kinds of qualified chefs offering first class attractive choices made with locally sourced products.
José González, one of Gran Canaria’s leading chefs, treasures an interesting gastronomical experience right here on the island, a member of a select generation that grew up around houses with roof terraces on which families would tend a goat for milking and a baifo, or baby goat, for Christmas, some hens for their eggs and even some palomar or pidgeons, to give children its warming broth. This experience provided a solid base for his cooking recipes, although it was rather limited and he got bored with it. “Pepe (diminutive of José), nobody can teach you how to cook, but you could learn some new techniques”, he was once told by a Catalán food critic. He learnt new ways to enhance the presentation of his dishes in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, to the point at which he was able to open his own establishment with typical island food: “Canary dishes are the most delicate ones to prepare in the world”, he insists.
Other generations of chefs from this city apply certain knowledge and creativity they have gained from influences of original and exotic Asian cuisine. One such chef, Octavio Ramírez, is a staunch supporter of adding modern Japanese and Hindu final touches to day to day dishes from Japanese and Hindu, and especially in gastronomic open days he organizes. He might combine a unique and original product from the islands such as guarapo, (a delicacy made with pine sap), with subtle adaptations from these other countries, for example.
To fill the larders of these many restaurants, as well as people’s homes, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has four main municipal markets which are the mainstay for the fine array of foods from the land and sea, and are a reference point around the city for their long history as well as their modern choice of foods.
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