Monday, 2 April 2012

La Palma.

I just got back from spending a week chilling out with Nick on the tiny island of La Palma in the Canary Islands. It was awesome to spend some time hanging out in the sun this early in the year.

We swam in this beautiful rock pool by the ocean...

... and messed around by the pool at the little villa we rented.

We hiked through Los Tilos rainforest to this beautiful lookout point...

...and I read a lot of books (some of which were really fucking good and one of which was so terrible I almost set fire to it!).

I also got really really excited about seeing real life banana plantations!

The first thing we did (after grabbing our luggage & picking up our hire car) was drive to the store to find vegan eats, it was about 8pm on a Friday and most places were closing but we managed to dash into a Spar Supermarket in Santa Cruz to grab some stuff for dinner & breakfast.

We found the same corn based margarine that we loved in Mallorca last summer and we also picked up the usual staples; pasta, herbs, canned tomatoes, rice, olive oil, fruit & veggies.

SPAR also make an own brand version of the ubiquitous Fillipino biscuits, these little chocolate covered O's were my favourite treat when I went on a language exchange program to Spain when I was 15 & I was really excited to discover this vegan version. I may or may not have brought back 9 packets!

As well as having awesome vegan friendly treats in the Supermarkets La Palma also has a lot of small health food stores. The first one we went to was Vida Sana which we found out about on Happy Cow. It's in the tiny village of Tijarafe which was about a 30 minute drive around a mountain on very very scary roads from where we were staying near Todoque.

We picked up a lot of great stuff here including my favourite Nirwana Noir chocolate, Streich spread, pesto, soya b├ęchamel sauce, washing up liquid & peanut corn snacks.

We also grabbed this enormous hunk of seitan, a smaller hunk of seitan and some spelt seitan steaks.

They also had tofu (plain & flavoured) and tofu & mushroom tortellini.

That night I made a pasta dish with the tortellini, some delicious local oyster mushrooms, and a sauce made with the soya b├ęchamel & some Vegusto we snuck over in our suitcase.

The next day we went to the nearest town for a look around and to check out a vegetarian restaurant we found listed in the Lonely Planet guide. Unfortunately once we'd grabbed a table at the veggie restaurant, La Vitamina, we realised that they are definitely not a veggie restaurant! They did have an English menu though and we spotted a sentence on the back page saying to ask them for the vegan or gluten free options. We did just that and they made us a big plate of all of their vegan options which we shared...

The plate had a mild veggie curry, roasted brussels sprouts, pan fried potatoes, mushrooms marinated in a sweet sesame sauce, cous cous, roasted chickpeas and sweet fried bananas. The bananas were certainly a random addition to this savoury plate but Nick loves sweet bananas and was happy to eat them! My favourite parts were the mushrooms and chickpeas and we both enjoyed the curry and potatoes.

La Vitamina also have a huge selection of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, I got a massive glass of freshly squeezed orange juice which was delicious.

Right down the street from La Vitamina, on the corner of Calle Aridanz, is a health food store called Bubango Verde. Like the other health food stores we found on the island it's not totally veggie but they had the Nirwana Noir chocolate, various spreads & a good selection of tofus.

They had some great fresh produce too so I picked up some tomatoes, lettuce and squash. I also got some awesome Hello Kitty pasta!

On the drive back from Los Llanos to our villa we stumbled upon yet another health food store!

Bio Canana, which is located on the LP213 between Los Llanos & Puerto Naos, has a bakery inside which sells delicious fresh baguettes and alongside the usual soya milks and gluten free pastas they had a whole case of seitan, Nirwana Noir chocolate and agar powder which is almost impossible to find in the UK.

Overall La Palma was a great place to catch some early spring sun, it would have been easier to eat out if I spoke better Spanish but I like to cook and the fresh produce and health food stores were great. Oh & not many things are cooler than a black sand beach!

11 comments:

  1. Wait! What about the books - which one deserves to burn? Sounds like a lovely holiday. Wouldn't mind one myself...

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    1. Ha, I thought I'd leave people guessing! I thought Chelsea Handlers book was really really terrible.

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  2. This looks lovely! I've just come back from Lanzarote where I went on a short sun break with a friend, but I found where we were a bit too comercialised. La Palma looks much quieter and serene!

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    1. It was certainly very serene, we picked that island because they guide book pretty much said that there was no night life there & that was exactly the kind of holiday we were after!

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  3. Hello Kitty pasta!!!!!!!!! Sweet. The scenery is beautiful there too.

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  4. You did a great job on finding good food. I'm spanish on my father's side so I know that the people in Spain do love their fish and in the smaller cities the word vegan is not exactly part of their vocabulary.

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  5. That's your villa? Holy shit!
    I hope Middlesex isn’t one o the ones you wanted to burn, I was thinking about reading that one.
    You certainly had no trouble finding tasty things to eat, and in such a beautiful location.

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    1. Absolutely not! Middlesex Is an awesome book, Chelsea Handlers book on the other hand? Barf!

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  6. Yeah I've read that Chelsea Handler book too, it was shite! I've read a few of hers thinking they'd be hilarious cuz I think she's quite funny and I've always been disappointed.

    Looks like you had a fab time. xxxx

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  7. I live on La Palma, and never visited the health food shops! Will be rectifying that soon. Thanks for looking at La Palma with fresh eyes, as it has made me appreciate it all again!

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  8. Beautiful pics of the scenery and food!
    You found some really nice eats out there.

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