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Saborea Lanzarote Celebrates Cochino Negro

Tourists visiting Lanzarote this week are in for a real culinary treat as the islands latest Gastronomy Week gets underway from November 9th to 16th. These regular events are organized by a local called Saborea Lanzarote – or Taste Lanzarote in English – and they are designed to showcase both the quality and variety of local produce, encompassing both wine and foodstuffs.

Poster, Saborea Lanzarote

Celebrate Gastronomy Week...

Each Gastronomy Week focuses on a different type of produce and this time around it is the turn of the Cochino Negro, or black Canarian pig, which is the start of the show. The Cochino Negro is bred exclusively in the Canaries and a number of restaurants in Lanzarote will be creating their own special recipes using this base ingredient to mark the event.

These participating restaurants include the Monumento al Campesino, La Canada in Puerto del Carmen, Isla de Lobos in Yaiza, Getaria in Costa Teguise, Casa Roja branches in Puerto del Carmen and the Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca, Taberna de Nino in Puerto del Carmen, Isla Bonita and Marea in Costa Teguise, La Cantina in Teguise and La Puntilla in El Charco, Arrecife.

Despite being an island race many locals prefer meat to seafood and demand for traditional specialties such as kid, rabbit and goat is reflected in the fact that these items often crop up on menus in restaurants serving Comida Tipica – local Canarian food. Despite its aridity Lanzarote still produces plenty of vegetable crops and farming remains a way of life for many, especially in the north of the island, where locations such as the Valley of Temisa are home to numerous working fincas. Where local farmers grow a variety of crops such as maize, potatoes, tomatoes and onions as well as papaya, banana, mango and much more besides.

Saborea Lanzarote was formed a couple of years ago to help boost demand for and appreciation of local produce and to date the organization has staged a number of very successful tasting weeks that have encompassed foodstuffs from tuna through to island grown beans. They hope that the latest celebration of Cochino Negro will help to raise awareness of this delicacy and provide a shot in the arm for local producers.

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Ryanair Increase Flight Choices to Lanzarote

The low cost carrier Ryanair has recently announced the creation of a new route to Lanzarote from Manchester airport.  So once again increasing the range of choice available for tourists based in the UK who are planning to visit the island.

Ryanair aircraft

Ryanair....The Canaries Favourite Airline

It wasn’t so long ago that the number of airlines flying from the UK to Lanzarote was relatively restricted, with many of the main low cost operators claiming that the four hour journey to the island didn’t sit comfortably with their existing business plans. 

That has all changed in recent years however and it is now possible for holidaymakers to choose between all of the main names such as Ryanair, easyJet and Monarch – as well as longer standing suppliers such as Thomson and Thomas Cook.  And as a result the cost of flights to Lanzarote has also fallen in real terms over that time, with returns now available from as little as £150 (depending of course on the time of year).

Ryanair´s announcement is part of a wider plan for expansion in the North West of England that also encompasses the creation of new routes to various European destinations from Liverpool John Lennon airport – an initiative that is expected to create around 1000 jobs in the region.

Flights to Lanzarote are now available from all of the main airports in the UK, with the following airlines operating out of each hub.

London Gatwick

Monarch

Thomas Cook

easyJet

Thomson

London Luton

Monarch

Ryanair

Thomson

Birmingham

Monarch

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Thomson

East Midlands

Ryanair

Jet2

Monarch

Thomas Cook

Thomson

Manchester

Monarch

Jet2

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Thomson

Liverpool

easyJet

Ryanair

Leeds/Bradford

Jet2

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Glasgow

Jet2

Thomas Cook

Ryanair

Thomson

There is if course a growing disparity between airlines in terms of baggage allowances and check in policies, so it does pay to research these elements before committing to a booking. 

Ryanair remains the largest carrier of tourists to Lanzarote and the Canary Islands by some distance, accounting for around 50% of all foreign holidaymakers.  As a result they wield considerable power and have recently been embroiled with the Canarian Government in an ongoing spat about flight subsidies, a row which led to Ryanair cutting a number of routes to the island from mainland Spain, Holland and Germany.  As well as a dispute centred around forced landings at Lanzarote airport - which has led to calls for an enquiry by AENA, the Spanish Aviation Authority. 

 

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Lanzarote Raises A Glass For Oktoberfest

If you´re a big fan of Bavarian beer and a lover of lederhosen then Lanzarote is playing host to the ideal event for you this weekend, as the annual Oktoberfest celebrations get underway in the Plaza de los Naciones in Los Pocillos, home to one of the largest beaches in Lanzarote, from this Friday.

Oktoberfest Celebrations, Munich

Prost...Toast Oktoberfest on Lanzarote

As any serious beer buff will know Germany boasts a very proud brewing heritage and tradition, which is rooted in the Reinheitsgebot or Bavarian Beer Purity Laws that were drafted and passed as long ago as 1516.  These laws stipulated that beer could only be made and sold as such if it contained solely water, barley and hops.  The law wasn’t just created to preserve the integrity of Bavaria´s favourite brews though, as this was also an attempt to ensure that brewers and bakers weren’t competing for wheat and rye, as this would have forced up the price for these other grains.

Either way the Bavarian Purity Law created the foundation for the German brewing style that was eventually to become copied the world over and which is now celebrated annually at Oktoberfest.   The first Oktoberfest took place in Munich in 1810 and was originally staged to mark the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.  And proved such a hit that from 1819 onwards the residents declared their intention to hold an Oktoberfest each and every year.

Since then Oktoberfest has conquered the world and events take place in many countries. Lanzarote, with its sizeable German expat population is no exception, but the event here on the island is also very multicultural and open to all. 

This will be the third year that the Oktoberfest has been celebrated on Lanzarote and visitors will be able to enjoy a whole raft of stalls and activities – as well as the all important business of downing large amounts of lager. 

Musical accompaniment is provided by leading local musicians such as Black Sheep and The Mick James Band and the event runs from 2pm on Friday the 19th of October through to Sunday night.  There´s no admission charges either, so head along to the Plaza de los Naciones – just outside Puerto del Carmen - and enjoy a true taste of Bavaria.

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Binter Unveil Flights From The Canaries to The Cape Verdes

Binter, the Canary Islands airline, has just announced the creation of new flight routes to the Cape Verde islands, another chain of volcanic islands located just off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape Verde Islands

Take Off For New Binter Flights To Cape Verdes...

The new services depart twice weekly from Las Palmas airport on Gran Canaria and are the first direct air link between the two island chains.  Flights will depart every Tuesday and Friday costing around €170 and take around two and half hours to reach their destination of Praia, the largest city and main commercial hub in the Cape Verde group, which is located on the island of Santiago.  Binter is also hoping to launch new services to the tourist friendly island of Sal in the near future.

According to Binter, who also operate flights to Lanzarote from the other Canary Islands, the services are primarily designed to target business executives, as a number of companies in the Canary Islands are seeking to expand their operations in the Cape Verdes.  The flights will also provide a much needed link between the Cape Verdes and Europe, as despite their location close to the coast of Africa the Canaries are Spanish territory and hence part of the European Union.

The Cape Verde islands are located close to the coast of Senegal and were formerly a Portuguese colony – Cabo Verde.  There are ten islands in the chain and they occupy a collective land mass of about 4,000 square kilometres.

Much like the Canaries the Cape Verdes played an important role in the slave trade, as millions of Africans were held and transported from these two island chains to South America during the 18th and 19th centuries.  As a result the islands were regularly attacked and sacked by pirates and privateers, including those well known English sailors Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh.

The islands achieved independence in 1975 and are today home to around 500,000 inhabitants.  The Cape Verdes boast little in the way of natural resources so increasingly residents have come to rely on tourism, which has been a rapidly expanding sector since the turn of the century.  Indeed for a while the islands were depicted as the new Canaries, before the onset of the recession in 2007 and 2008 bought property prices crashing down.

The addition of these new Binter flights certainly pave the way for more inter island hopping and visitors to Lanzarote can also use other forms of transport such as ferries to reach nearby islands such as La Graciosa and Fuerteventura too.

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Greenpeace Denounce Oil Prospecting Project Near Lanzarote

The row about oil prospecting in the Canaries rumbles on, as Greenpeace has just submitted a damning denunciation of the planned project to the European Commission.

Anti oil prospecting poster, Canary Islands

Just Say No.....

Oil giants such as Repsol have long had their eye on potential oil fields located close to the shores of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura but until recently their attempts to start prospecting have been successfully repelled by the Government of the Canaries.  Recently however this body was over ruled by the central government in Madrid, who gave these companies the green light to start their operations.  Naturally this decision has caused enormous amounts of controversy, not least as local observers fear that oil prospecting could have an enormously negative impact upon tourism in the event of a spillage, causing widespread damage to beaches on Lanzarote.

In addition the waters around Lanzarote are home to a delicate marine eco system which would be endangered by the creation of platforms.  Whilst these waters are also the source of drinking water on Lanzarote, as the island has no natural water sources and is kept in aqua by desalination plants.

The issue is now exacerbated though by the economic crisis in Spain and the lurch towards a more right wing corporate capitalist style government headed by Mariano Rajoy.  With unemployment rising and a bailout looking increasingly likely it is hard to see how this conservative ruling body will be able to resist the temptation of taking in more tax dollars by allowing oil prospecting to go ahead.  The current economic crisis provides the perfect excuse for them to press ahead with this business friendly agenda, despite the overwhelming opposition of local residents to the plan.

Now Greenpeace has weighed in to the debate too, stating that any such project would be in breach of European Commission laws which stipulate that the impact on the environment must first be fully evaluated.  Whilst also making clear their opposition to the project and pointing out the need to learn from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

At the moment current plans allow for drilling just 60km off the shores of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, so obviously any spill would have a cataclysmic impact upon the tourist industry on both islands.

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New Weekly Market For Puerto del Carmen

Lanzarote´s largest resort is now home to a new weekly market, which opened for the first time last Sunday to considerable acclaim whilst welcoming some 2000 visitors.

 

Playa Grande, Puerto del Carmen

New Market in Puerto del Carmen

 

Outdoor markets are becoming something of a growing trend on Lanzarote, with virtually all of the main towns and villages boasting some type of open air shopping experience. Ranging from the huge weekly affair held in the former capital of Teguise through to smaller and more atmospheric events such as the Saturday morning market in Haria.  So serious shoppers are advised to book car rental and get out and about exploring.

So Puerto del Carmen, despite being the most popular resort on the island, was very much the odd one out in terms of providing this sort of attraction, until the new La Tiñosa market opened last Sunday.

Organised by the local council (the Ayuntamiento of Tias) and running from 11.00 to 14.00 the market is part of a wider plan to revitalise and improve the overall tourist offering in Puerto del Carmen. And featured a whole raft of events such as live music, a skateboarding competition and prize draws, as well as stalls selling a variety of items including locally produced food and drink.

Such was the success of the event that it will now be held every week, so adding further to Lanzarote´s impressive roster of markets, which also include:

Teguise Market

Held every Sunday and attracting crowds in their tens of thousands this is the mother of all island markets, as the normally quiet cobbled streets of the former island capital are transformed into a massive outdoor bazaar. Stalls here offer everything from mass produced leather goods through to local artisan products and there are also plenty of other entertainments on offer too, such as live folk music and dancing.

Haria Market

Our local favourite Haria market is held every Saturday morning and is a far more intimate and atmospheric experience than Teguise. There are about 30 stalls here selling locally produced craft products as well as organic fruit and veg, bread, chesses and wines.

Playa Blanca – Marina Rubicon

Held every Wednesday and Saturday from 09.00 to 14.00 the market in the Marina Rubicon in Playa Blanca features about 60 stalls selling a wide cross section of products. The Marina is also a great place to visit at anytime for a bit to eat or drink and a spot of people watching.

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Rain At Last On Lanzarote

Whilst rainclouds are the last thing any tourist visiting Lanzarote would want to see on their holidays for local residents and farmer’s precipitation is a much awaited event.  As the island is currently parched after a dry spell that has lasted for virtually two years.

Rainfall, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Rare Rainfall on Lanzarote

Lanzarote is at last experiencing rainfall, albeit in very small quantities.  As a lengthy dry spell that has lasted for the best part of 24 months is bought to an end.  However the expected disruption to normal weather services is likely to be very brief, with normal conditions, comprising temperatures in their mid 20´s Celsius and no precipitation, are set to return almost immediately.

Thanks to the location of the island so close to the coast of Africa and the outer fringes of the Sahara desert Lanzarote rarely receives much in the way of rainfall, which is one of the primary reasons why this island is so popular with sun starved holidaymakers from Northern Europe.  However this low level of H20 isn’t such great news for local farmers, who are forced to use methods of dry cultivation in many instances in order to produce crops such as potatoes and grapes. 

Indeed in certain spots such as Famara the island appears much like a desert and as there are no natural water sources on Lanzarote of any substantial size, making locals entirely dependent on desalination plants for their supplies of potable drinking water. The current weather front, linked in to Tropical Storm Nadine which has now blown itself out, is only expected to last for a day or so.  After which normal weather conditions will be resumed.

If you are planning on taking a holiday on the island over the coming autumn months then we recommend sticking to the south of the island in order to experience the best possible weather conditions. 

Playa Blanca is the best bet for sunshine at this time of the year thanks to the fact that it is located right at the southern foot of the island.  Puerto del Carmen also offers stable and sheltered conditions.  The north of the island in particular can experience more cloud and rainfall at this time of the year, although visitors need to bear in mind that the best attractions on Lanzarote can also be found here too.

 

 

 

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Sightseeing In Puerto del Carmen – Lanzarote’s Largest Resort

Whilst most of the main attractions on Lanzarote are located outside of the resorts there is still plenty to do and see in Puerto del Carmen, the most popular holiday destination on Lanzarote. Especially if you´re a confirmed beach lover, as there are a number of perfect playas here, offering plenty of scope for exploration.

Los Fariones – Oldest Hotel on Lanzarote

 

Fariones Hotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote

The Fariones Hotel....Oldest On Lanzarote

 

Until the advent of mass market tourism in Lanzarote in the 1970´s Puerto del Carmen was usually referred to by locals as La Tiñosa. At this time there was very little here beyond the harbour – but that all started to change in 1967 when the Fariones Hotel first opened its doors for business.

The Fariones remains something of an island institution to this day and is perennially opular with tourists. Anyone who has had the pleasure of staying there will know why, as the hotel is ideally located in between the New Town and the Old Town on a small promontory with its own beach, as well as a delightful pool area which is set in mature tropical gardens.

Beach Life

Beach lovers are spoilt for choice in Puerto del Carmen. The most popular stretch of sand is Playa Grande, a wide ribbon of golden grains that runs parallel to the Avenida de las Playas. This is the perfect spot if you are travelling with kids as the sea is easy to access here and usually very calm whilst there are also toilets, showers and beach loungers all on hand.

Walking from Playa Grande in the direction of the San Antonio Hotel you will then come across a number of smaller coves and bays before reaching the much bigger beach at Los Pocillos, which is the largest in the resort. However it isn’t the most sheltered, so it can feel too windy here at times.

The Old Town Harbour

The Old Town harbour remains the organic heart of Puerto del Carmen and is a great spot for soaking up the atmosphere come nightfall, as there are loads of bars and restaurants here. During the day you can watch local fishermen bringing in their catch or take a trip on one of the many boats offering excursions along the coastline or across to the neighbouring island of Fuerteventura.

Yeeha…Wild West Themed Fun

If you´re travelling with any junior cowboys or Indians then they will love a visit to Rancho Texas, a good quality theme park located on the outskirts of the resort. As well as a petting zoo kids can also enjoy panning for gold or making a splash in the new water park area.

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Catch A Taste of Tuna At Lanzarote Gastronomy Week

Foodies visiting Lanzarote over the next week will be able to enjoy a taste of locally caught tuna at a fish themed festival organized by Saborea Lanzarote (Taste Lanzarote), which gets underway this Friday the 21st September and runs through until the 30th of the month.

Gastronomy Week Poster

Enjoy A Taste of Tuna...

Saborea Lanzarote is an organization that is dedicated to promoting the best of island food and drink and over the last few years they have organized numerous events which showcase particular products, ranging from locally grown vegetables through to delicacies such as black pig.  In addition they also seek to introduce tourists and locals alike to the wide variety of excellent wines grown here on Lanzarote, which as any regular visitor already knows are produced using unique methods of cultivation.

Their latest themed gastronomy week pays homage to the tuna, or atun in Spanish – a local seafood specialty which is currently in season and caught in the waters surrounding Lanzarote.  For anyone who is used to just tucking into the tinned variety it will probably come as a surprise to learn that these fish are seriously sizeable creatures when fully grown and can weigh in at many hundreds of kilos.

As in previous gastronomy weeks some of the best restaurants in Lanzarote will be supporting the event by dreaming up and serving their own special preparations, including some of the islands best known eateries such as the Castillo de San Jose in Arrecife, which is also home to the Museum of International and Contemporary Art.  As well as the up market restaurant at Lagomar, the former home of the famous film star Omar Sharif and the La Graciosa restaurant at the five star Hotel Gran Melia Salinas in Costa Teguise.

So if you fancy sampling a taste of tuna just head for any of the establishments listed below.

Puerto del Carmen

El Toro

Calle Reina Sofía 70
Puerto del Carmen
Tel: 0034 669 388 407

Taberna de Nino

Calle Tanausú 2
Puerto del Carmen
Tel: 0034 928 515 783

Cofradía de Pescadores La Tiñosa

Old Town Harbour
Puerto del Carmen
Tel: 0034 660 433 578

La Cascada del Puerto

Calle Roque Nublo 3
Puerto del Carmen
Tel: 0034 928 512 953

Costa Teguise

La Graciosa Restaurant

Hotel Gran Meliá Salinas
Avenida Islas Canarias 16
Costa Teguise
Tel: 0034 928 590 040

Isla Bonita

Avenida del Mar
Costa Teguise
Tel: 0034 928 591 526

Playa Blanca

Aromas de Yaiza

Calle La Laja
Playa Blanca
Tel: 0034 928 349 691

Arrecife

Restaurante Lilium

Calle José Antonio 103
Arrecife
Tel: 0034 928 524 978

Castillo de San José

Puerto Naos
Arrecife
Tel: 0034 928 812 321

La Puntilla

Avenida César Manrique
Charco de San Gines
Arrecife
Tel: 0034 928 816 042

Arrieta

El Marinero

Calle La Garita
Arrieta
Tel: 0034 928 848 382

Teguise

La Cantina

Calle León y Castillo 8
Teguise
Tel: 0034 928 845 536

Nazaret

LagOmar

Calle Los Loros
Nazaret
Tel: 0034 928 845 665

Playa Honda

Aguaviva

Calle Mástil 31
Playa Honda
Tel : 0034 928 821 505

Yaiza

Bodega Rubicón

Crtra Gral de la Geria
Yaiza
Tel: 0034 928 173 708

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What´s On the Menu In Lanzarote?

If you have booked one of our apartments or villas in Lanzarote and are visiting the island for the first time then you´re probably keen to find out more about what the island offers in terms of food and drink. As meals out form an important part of the holiday experience for many tourists.

 

Gambas al ajillo, typical Canarian cuisine

Gambas al ajillo...a typical starter

 

Typical Canarian Cuisine

There are literally thousands of restaurants in Lanzarote, the bulk of which are obviously based in the main resorts of Playa Blanca, Puerto del Carmen and Costa Teguise. And unsurpisingly the majority of these serve Comida Tipica – traditional Canarian cuisine. But what exactly does that comprise?

Most of these restaurants will have pretty similar menus, with starters usually encompassing dishes such as gambas al ajillo – prawns in hot olive oil, garlic and chilli, which is also a staple on the mainland where it is more usually referred to as gambas pil pil. The idea here is to use wads of bread to soak up the oil and pinch a prawn, just watch out for those chillies though!

Other typical starters include croquettes, which can be made with both fish and meat. Shellfish such as mussels and limpets are also common, as is local goats cheese which can be served as is or often comes deep fried with a jam or fig compote as an accompaniment.

The Main Event

The emphasis in local cooking is on simple, fresh ingredients that are cooked simply with little fanfare or flourishes. So forget all about the sort of sauces, reductions and decorations that accompany more modern international dishes. Instead you can expect to choose from a selection of locally caught fresh white fish, such as sama, dorada and cherne. These are usually served with the obligatory papas arrugadas or wrinkled potatoes (cooked in salt in their skins) and a selection of sauces and mojos. Meat dishes, especially the beef option which usually comes in from South America, also get similar simple treatment.

And to Drink?

Lanzarote has a proud pedigree and long standing tradition of producing wine. The quality can vary widely though between year and bodega, so it pays to ask the advice of your waiter when selecting your bottle. Alternatively most restaurants also offer a range of wines from the Spanish mainland, including more familiar choices such as Riojas and Ribero del Duero´s.

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