Rabbit’s foot fern

This is the Rabbit’s Foot Fern Davallia canariensis, which likes to grow in the warmer and damper parts of the island. It particularly likes dry stone walls, barrel-tile roofs and cliffs. As you can see, the name comes from the root, which is very pretty. I believe that the Awara used to make gofio from it, and so did more modern Palmerans when there was nothing better available, although I’m…

November 29, 2013

The Wine Museum, El Paso

The island’s wine museum stands just above La Glorieta Square. View Larger Map It’s a small museum, but it’s only 1.50€ for adults, and that includes a chance to taste a local wine or two. Upstairs, the exhibition explains the methods and history of wine-making on the the island, and they have a nice collection of old tools used for growing wines or making barrels Vines have been grown on…

November 13, 2013


Gofio is sort-of cooked flour (you toast the grains before you grind them) and it’s been a staple of the Canarian diet since pre-hispanic times. In principle, you can use just about any grain, although the commonest ones are wheat and maize. In times of famine, there’s even a fern root you can use, although I believe it’s very bitter, and not something you would chose to eat if there…

September 14, 2013

Wild Cherry Tomatoes

These tomatoes grow wild on La Palma, and they’re about the size of marbles. The locals call them tomates bicacaros and don’t think much of them, perhaps because people used to eat them when they couldn’t afford anything else. I believe that the only reason they don’t sell for some daft price is that they’ve got very thin skins, so they don’t keep. I have some in my garden, and…

September 2, 2013


Yams (ñame in Spanish) are a relative of sweet potatoes. They need a lot of water to grow, so they’re only cultivated in Los Sauces and inside the Caldera. You can recognise a yam patch easily, because they have huge leaves shaped like elephants ears. The root has to be boiled for hours, so you usually buy them from the supermarket already cooked.Then, traditionally, you serve them with honey or…

August 29, 2013

A (mostly) Fish Restaurant – Casa Goyo

Casa Goyo mostly serves fish that was swimming around last night. The décor isn’t posh, although they’ve gone upmarket since I arrived on La Palma and swapped the earth floor for a concrete one. Most of the tables are in little concrete or wooden booths. The restaurant itself is at the end of the airport runway, which means that conversations have to stop when a plane comes into land. That…

August 2, 2013