One of my favourite things about life in the Canary Islands is the food, especially the mojo. For anyone unfamiliar with this, mojo is a sauce which can either be made from red pepper or coriander and served with a selection of typical dishes such as Papas Arrugadas or Carne de Fiesta.
Another thing that is so fantastic about Tenerife is the wine, not only is there a lot of it, it is also produced locally on the island, making it easy to find at a cheap price in any bar or restaurant. One place that is famous for producing wine in Tenerife, is the Bodega Monje, owned by Felípe Monje, the fifth generation of Monje's who have been producing wine on the same spot for decades.
On a warm sunny Saturday after a busy week at work, I took a trip to the North of the island after hearing about the Bodegas Monje online. After driving along the rugged coastline, the view opened up to show off Mt Teide standing proud over the valley and surrounding it, banana plantations, vineyards and palm trees stretched as far as the eye could see.
Bodegas Monje is situated up a steep windy road in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. A large red building, where the wine production takes place, hangs precariously onto the the cliff and this is where the tour began. I was greeted by the owner himself before quickly being introduced to Lola, a bubbly and enthusiastic member of staff.
The tour took me on a journey through the family history, the geography of the land and the wine making process itself. It was a fascinating experience and because the company is only small, I was really able to witness all the small details of the process from field to bottle.
Once I had worked up an appetite, exploring the cavernous bodega, I was brought to the restaurant where I met the chef and was able to try my hand at producing some traditional Canarian food. Of course, Mojos and Papas Arrugadas featured on the menu, washed down with a selection of wines. These dishes are a staple in Canarian cooking and it was a real honour to learn all the secrets from a local. The workshop really broke down the complex flavours of the mojo and through simple steps, the red and green mojo sauces were recreated and the definitely tasted delicious.
I always think, you never fully understand a culture until you eat some local food and thanks to Bodega Monje, I was really able to get a sense for Canarian life. It was an amazing experience and one which I would be keen to repeat in a heartbeat. The staff treated you like old friends, the food was delicious and the wine was so good that I had to buy a bottle to take home.
If anyone is ever visiting the island, a trip to Bodegas Monje is a must!
For more information on the Bodega, click here