Gofio – Doctors and scientists agree that Mediterranean food is very healthy, even one of the healthiest in the world. Geographically, the Canary Islands are not so much in the Mediterranean area, but culture-gastronomic products and ingredients come from the area. Mix this culinary culture with influential kitchen properties from West African countries and Central American Hispanic countries such as Venezuela and Cuba, and you will achieve something very special.
The Canarian cuisine is not so extensive, but it has a number of specific local products that make the preparations tasty. Moreover, the Atlantic character of the Canarian kitchen, including garlic and olive oil, will appeal to many people.
One of the very special foods on the Canary Islands is gofio, a blend of grains ground with millstones, which look like a dark flower and was an essential part of the Canarian food. Originally, gofio was only made from barley that was roasted and then ground. With the addition of water, wine or milk, it was stirred into a paste and baked as a biscuit to serve as a bread substitute. Later corn and rye were added to the grind. This ‘mix’ is so variable that many other by-products can be mixed with the basic products to expand the taste. Dried vegetables and fruits make the gofio a large-scale product.
Gofio is rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins and is used very diversely: as a breakfast with milk, as a feast in soups, mixed with a meat or fish stock, served in meat and fish dishes. There is also already a mousse and a pudding. Sportsmen take it in bars to feed on the way. You will find gofio in all sizes and shapes, inventive entrepreneurs have even added it to ice creams, pastries and candy bars.
It is a primal product made by the Guanches out of necessity (read: out of hunger) with the then available cereals, barley, wheat and fern root, each rich in vitamins, fibers, proteins and minerals. This then became the basic food that was eaten with fish or meat for the poor-class population.
Thanks to this product, the emigrants to the new world have been able to survive on the ships because they have a long shelf life in dry conditions. It was once an export product to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.
Gofio is extremely rich in vitamins B1, B2, B3 and vitamin C because the flour fibers contain an excessive amount of magnesium, iron and calcium. The calorific capacity is calculated at 340 Kcal per 100 grams.
Just as you can make paella or brew sangria in a thousand ways you can go the same way with gofio. There are thousand and one variants of dishes. The most famous dishes listen to roaring names like Sancocho con gofio, Cherne con gofio and Escaldón, but gofio is also served in a simple way as a seasoning for fish and meat dishes found in many restaurants around the islands.
With every gofio, a different gastronomic favorite is invariably added. Such as a sauce that bears the name mojo, but we’ll talk about this next time…
This article was first published by Guy Devos on www.tenerifeconnect.be in Dutch and has been slightly modified.