I’d like to think I’m not biased but I probably am. For me, Fuerteventura is the most beautiful of the larger Canary Islands. I’ve been to Lanzarote, Tenerife and I worked in Gran Canaria many years ago. But Fuerte is unspoilt, there are miles of the most gorgeous beaches and, of course, there’s the food.
Everyone knows Spanish tortilla and Sangria. But with goats nearly as plentiful as residents here, goat’s cheese is now an award-winning product and exported to ‘La Peninsula’ as mainland Spain is called. Fish is plentiful and fresh, as are vegetables and fruit. Aloe Vera is manufactured in the South and Ron Miel, honey rum, is regularly given as a free shot with your restaurant bill.
Explore this beautiful island with my guide to Fuerteventura’s best markets, restaurants, and bars.
Corralejo, the main town in the north, has an Artisan Market in the Campanario Centre every Thursday and Sunday, with Sunday being the livelier of the two, mainly due to the infectious live music. Artisan products of every kind are on sale – jewellery, pottery, crafts. Make a beeline for the stall that sells the Lanzarote chocolate, local jams (all called mermalada) and cream of banana vinegar. Open from 9am till 2pm.
The Mercado Agricola de la Biosfera, upstairs in the Estacion de Guaguas in Puerto del Rosario is fairly low-key as it’s mainly directed at locals. (BTW, this is the bus station, as buses here are called guaguas, pronounced wah-wahs). The main products on sale are goats milk cheese, vegetables, bread, eggs, fish.
‘Queso Majorero’, the island goats cheese comes soft, hard, semi-cured and cured. Goats are everywhere, mainly roaming the land and the milk produced is thick, flavoursome and high-fat. The undoubted talent of the cheesemakers added to this milk produces a high quality cheese that saw the Co-op win the prestigious Golden Prize in the World Cheese Awards in 2015. If you’re interested in seeing how it’s made the Majorero Cheese Museum outside Antigua is well worth visiting.
What’s interesting now is that some of the cheese producers have branched out with other products including goats cheese yogurts flavoured with various fruits – mango, strawberry, figs. Before you leave the market, have a coffee in the café in the corner with a tarta de queso (cheesecake) or a mouthwatering triangle of chocolate with a nutty filling. Open every Saturday from 09.00 – 14.00
The La Lajita Zoo and Gardens is worth a visit; go on Sunday mornings and you’ll have the advantage of shopping in the market. All local foods are here – lots of fresh vegetables, cheese, baking and locally caught fish.
Restaurant Cofete is probably the most inaccessible eating place on the island. On the West coast, the beach here is fantastic. The restaurant is in the tiny village and is great for fish and salads. There are daily buses to Cofete – otherwise you need a 4×4 as it’s over the mountain on a track similar to a ‘boreen.’
You can’t miss La Vaca Azul in El Cotillo – there’s a large blue cow sitting on the roof. One of the oldest restaurants on the island, it specialises in fish. Prawns, octopus, squid, mussels, as well as local varieties. Goats stew is also available.
Betancuria was the original capital of the island. Now it’s famous for Casa Santa Maria restaurant, the ‘most charming on the island’ according to Michelin Guide. Open for lunch only this is where you’ll find real Canarian food. Braised kid and stuffed rabbit are the specialities. Driving here can be a bit scary – think the Ring of Kerry with volcanoes. But it’s worth it.
The tiny village of Triquivijte doesn’t have a supermarket but it has a restaurant called simply Antonia. Lunch is a treat with local specialities including serrano ham and cheese.
Villaverde, just a few miles from Corralejo is well-known for its cheese and excellent restaurants. El Horno is decorated like an old Canarian house with a huge wood-fired grill just inside the door. People come here just to eat the roast goat.
Casa Marcos has a well-deserved Bib Gourmand from Michelin for its traditional cuisine. You can dine on the outdoor terrace which has great mountain views or in one of the three small rooms inside. It’s what’s called ‘typically rustic’ but visiting the loo is a must – set inside a stone windmill. The menu changes daily and is brought to your table on a blackboard.
Gin Bahia is a really good Italian restaurant in Corralejo. As the name suggests it also has a gin menu. There are about 40 or so gins and four or five tonics. The price you pay depends on which tonic you buy to go with your gin. However, be warned. A G&T here will set you back at least €7.50, expensive when you consider that a decent bottle of Rioja is only €12. Fish with tomatoes, capers and olives an excellent main. Naturally, desserts include Tiramisu but the chocolate mousse is to die for.
But if it’s Italian you want, don’t pass by La Scarpetta, also in Corralejo, where owner Mario will talk you through the daily specials. As well as all the usual pastas and pizzas, there’s lots of fresh fish and four types of risotto.
Fishermens community restaurants are in many of the towns around the island’s coast. Cofradia de Pescadores de Morro Jable, right down by the harbour in Morro Jable, has the freshest of fish available – the boats come in with the catch just across the road.
Another tiny place with two excellent fish restaurants is Pozo Negro. Before you reach the black beach and the restaurants – Los Pescadores and Los Caracoles – have a look at the original Aborigine village of the same name. There’s an excellent information centre with a huge amount of information about the first settlers on the island.
Any G&T lover will know there has been an explosion of gins in Ireland. But I was surprised to discover that gin is on a roll as well here in Fuerte. I asked for Irish gin in Casa Toño, a well-known gin house in Puerto del Rosario but it hasn’t reached here yet. The Scottish Hendrick’s – which is now more or less ubiquitous – was there along with Norwegian and English. But Spanish brands were top of the list. There was Nordes Atlantic Galician Gin, Blanc Ocean, Gin Mare and my favourite Puerto de Indias strawberry flavoured pink gin. It arrives in a balloon glass with fresh orange and strawberries.
Rock Island Bar in Corralejo is probably the oldest bar on the island. Tiny inside, the place to sit is outside on the pedestrianised street, watch the world go by and drink one of their great cocktails or my favourite tipple here – pink Cava. This is also one of the few bars that doesn’t serve food.
Who knew that adding aloe vera gel to Tequila and Cointreau would make a delicious Margarita? Or that pineapple juice, apple juice and some ginger added to aloe vera gel makes a very zingy non-alcoholic cocktail? Rossella Fontana of Aloe Forever and Gilda’s tapas bar in Corralejo are holding a monthly Sunday evening of Aloe drinks and music so pop along for some unexpectedly delicious drinks. Gilda’s is a sister tapas bar to Pincha Cabra, possibly the best in town.
Churros are beloved of Spaniards. These deep-fried pieces of dough are dipped in hot chocolate and are a delicious finger food. While there are many restaurants serving these, probably the best place to try them is from a food stall when it’s Carnival time.
It’s the French who have cornered the dessert market with their gorgeous range of croissants, pastries and tarts. Try El Goloso in Lajares, Puerto del Rosario and El Cotillo, or La Folie de Delices in Corralejo.
Also in Puerto del Rosario is Dulce de Leche – try the traditional mille feuille, known to children as milly filly. The Chocolate Shop in Caleta de Fuste not only sells chocolate but a range of delicious chocolate cakes.
The Italians give us their authentic ice-cream – there might well be queues in La Puntilla in El Cotillo and La Cremeria in Corralejo. Homemade cones and rich ice-cream. Flavours include chocolate, mint, strawberry – the list goes on.
Jeanne is a food and travel journalist and who has had articles published in Ireland, the UK, Hungary and the Canary Islands.