We’re not ones for roast dinners, partly because at our ages the price on the waistline is much too high, but mostly because the temperature here, whatever the time of year, isn’t one where you feel the need to stock up on body fat to get through long cold winters. So plates piled high with roasted meats, potatoes, gravy, Yorkshire puddings etc don’t really fit the bill…except at Christmas when we do have a full blown turkey dinner.
The Al Campo hypermarket in La Orotava stocks up on turkeys from about a week before Christmas, so no problem with that, but buy it too early and you’ll have a seriously whiffy fridge by Christmas Day. However, although we normally buy our veg at Al Campo, it isn’t the greatest choice or quality. For that you have to go to one of the agricultural markets. This year for a change we decided to take a trip to the market at La Laguna to stock up on veg.
La Laguna, like La Orotava and Garachico, is one of those places on Tenerife which I never tire of visiting. There’s always something interesting to see and the marketplace is no exception.
It’s a bustling hall full of stalls piled high with tiny papa negras (potatoes), beets, courgettes, aubergines, kakis (persimmons), lemons, oranges, pineapples, melons, red and white sweet potatoes and bunches of lettuce and herbs. Then there are the salted fish stalls where great slabs of salted fish are lined up under huge bunches of dried red chillies, or the carnicería stalls where pigs’ heads look down accusingly from shiny butcher’s hooks (I tend not to spend too long looking at that one). My favourite stall is the spice and herb counter where rows of neat wicker bags are filled with mountains of sweet paprika, cumin, long sticks of cinnamon, curry and coriander.
Visiting these markets is more than a shopping experience it’s an assault on the senses. The prices are a bit higher than supermarkets, but it’s worth it for the choice available, the quality and not least, the experience.