A Taste That Grows On You – But Preferably Not!

There can be few gastronomical products known to man that can be used in either sweet or savoury dishes, added to white coffee and stews, toasted, used to make sweet sausages, to create a fake ice cream, spooned into glasses of milk for childrens’ breakfast or used as a bread substitute. Gofio is one of them and whatever you do with it the net result is usually disgusting.

Once the basic food of the Guanche, the original inhabitants of the Canary islands, gofio is milled grain that resembles wholegrain flour. Every Canarian is brought up on the stuff and most cannot understand why foreigners would rather eat deep-fried chocolate-coated cockroaches than this exemplar of island cuisine.

To illustrate the wide use of gofio, the following recipe should have the saliva glands going hyper.


Paella de Gofio (Lump of Gofio, according the Spanish translation)

Ingredients: ½ Kg of gofio, ½ glass of oil, sugar, salt


  1. Knead the gofio with the water, salt, sugar and oil until you get a thick paste.
  2. Form a cylinder with it and cut into slices.


In other words, oily dough with a sweet and salty flavour. For the very adventurous is it served with red onion in vinegar and water or fried garlic – a terrifying thought!

Perhaps the best description of gofio is by Paul Richardson, one of Britain’s top food writers, in his excellent book on Spain, Our Lady of the Sewers.

         ‘Canarian friends of mine had warned me it was vile, and it is. Mixed with milk, it forms a thick sludge that sticks to your palate and has to be removed by increasingly desperate movements of the tongue…On the whole, though, gofio is one local speciality I would cross the street to avoid, along with Tibetan yak-butter tea and jellied eels.’

Best avoided by everyone other than those who take a gastronomic delight in day-old coagulated salted porridge with lashings of condensed milk on it.

If you would like to know more about Spain, visit my web site, www.derekworkman-journalist.com , and Spain Uncovered


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