The traditional cuisine of the island of El Hierro is simple, as befits a rural economy, and uses very characteristic local products. The past century, which was marked by the strong outflux of emigrants, has meant that new ingredients and recipes have been imported from abroad. Cheese is a staple in the normal diet of the people of El Hierro. The cheese produced on the island is a mix of goat, cow and sheep’s milk, all rich in taste as a result of the local pastureland. Cheese forms the basis for many of the distinctive recipes of the island of El Hierro, such as the quesadillas, a typical sweet cheesecake pastry, the caldo de queso, a cheese soup which is a tradition from the times when the main activity on the island was husbandry and the spicy cheese sauce, el mojo de queso, one of many of the famous dips or “mojos” of the Canary Islands, such as the coriander sauce or the hot paprika “mojo”, typical of El Hierro and the Canaries, in general. As on the rest of the Islands in the Canary Archipelago, toasted cornflour or gofio and thick vegetable pottages or potajes are also permanent features on the menu. The thick vegetable broth known as Champurrio is typical of the island of El Hierro, seasoned with all kinds of wild herbs such as hedge mustard and lemon- or vipergrass.
And, of course, if you come to El Hierro, you can feast yourself on fresh fish and incredible prawns and limpets, above all, in the little villages along the coastline. Fresh home grazed meat is also on call in the hinterlands to be washed down with the excellent local wine (look for the label, Denominación de Origen El Hierro. The gastronomy of El Hierro is based on the typical products of any pure volcanic soil and is a reflection of the traditions and valaues of other cultures and times. Raise your glasses of local wine to toast to our traditional cuisine and don’t forget to leave plent of room for dessert!