This isn’t a story of drunken debauchery, a lewd game in a naff bar in a Tenerife holiday resort.
Oh no, this is a tale of hunger, hope, disappointment, triumph and petulance in a traditional Tenerife setting.
Act 1: My kingdom for a metre long sausage
Summer 2015, the day is hot and the streets filled with revellers celebrating the Día de la Embarcacíon. Soon many muchachos will demonstrate their manliness by attempting to run along a long greasy pole. Most won’t make it, their credibility falling to its death in the harbour waters. Later the Virgen del Carmen and her beau (as one local woman called him) San Telmo will be paraded through the streets and loaded onto waiting fishing boats during what Sir Alex Ferguson might describe as a ‘squeaky bum’ moment.
For now the sound of grumbling tums, provoked by the aroma of pinchos morunos (spicy pork kebabs) and freshly fried fish, announce it’s time for lunch. It’s fiesta day, something different should be tried. Our nephew Liam is visiting which means there should be a challenge element to what we eat. This is traditional, past challenges have involved scorpion lollipops, ant chocolate and dangerously hot sauces. For some reason ‘metre long sausage’ pops into my head. A gauntlet is thrown down and accepted.
Have you experienced a situation where you remember seeing something on nearly every menu you look at somewhere and then, when you decide you want to try said dish, it mysteriously disappears? The metre long sausage I’d have sworn had graced many menus in Puerto de la Cruz becomes a myth; my mischievous distorted memory playing tricks. After searching in vain for an hour we settle for a half metre version of which there are plenty. I make a vow to my nephew that before his next visit I’ll track down somewhere serving the holy grail of long sausages.
Act 2: The crusade
January 2016 in the hot hills above a part of north Tenerife where even the most adventurous of visitors rarely set foot. Paths are well marked and snake through a protected area of pine and laurel forests passing caves, tiny ermitas, a pilgrimage route and a picnic area (zona recreativa) big enough to comfortably seat an army. It’s a weekday so the banks of wooden benches are empty. The walking route is interesting and enjoyable, but with no real wow factor. It won’t make it into our walking guidebook.
It’s a route of a decent length though and we have a healthy appetite by the time we emerge back at our car on the fringes of Agua Garcia. We’re not far from a restaurant, Tacoa, where craft beer is made on the premises. It’s becoming trendy on the Canary Islands, just as it is elsewhere, but Jochen, the owner, has been brewing ales in gleaming copper vats for more than a decade. There are blondes, IPAs, black beers, ales flavoured with a hint of honey, cherries or cinnamon… and so on.
Jochen is German, his wife Teresa is Spanish. Subsequently the menu is a hearty Spanish/Germanic fusion featuring amongst other things morcilla (blood pudding), cherne (stone bass), croquettes and a variety of German sausages one of which just happens to be a metre long sausage.
Act 3: The metre long sausage duel
September 2016, our nephew Liam is visiting once again. The game is on. We have two missions to complete. We plan to seek out a jolly green giant I’ve heard about who sits on a hillside overlooking the sea, alone and virtually ignored. First there is unfinished business to take care of.
We drive to Cerveceria Tacoa, secure a table on a terrace with panoramic views along Tenerife’s north coast and order two metre long sausages. Liam’s arrives first on a long wooden platter and is accompanied by a mountain of fried potatoes. He’s visibly shocked by its length, I can see uncertainty in his eyes. We wait and wait and wait. No other sausage arrives. I urge Liam to start without me, and summon the waiter. There’s been a mix up; they’ve only prepared one sausage, thinking it was to be shared – nobody would be foolhardy enough to eat one to themselves. Another sausage is hastily ordered. Liam’s still struggling his way through his when the second sausage appears… and is promptly delivered to another table. Cock-up number two. By the time the mistake is realised, a trio of men on the other table are attacking my sausage with gusto. A more expensive dish, the quintet of German sausages the other table should be tucking into instead of my 100cm sausage, is offered as way of an apology. But it’s too late. Once again the challenge is a bust.
Peeved petulance radiates from my face. I’m gutted Tacoa messed up our sausage duel. Not only was I drooling in anticipation, I’d had a ‘practice run’ back in January. Despite a warning from Jochen I’d need a doggy bag, I’d seen off the lot. I just know I’d have beaten Liam into bloated submission.
Still, the quintet of sausages are excellent, the craft beer slips down the throat easily, leaving fragrant flavours in its wake, and we still have the prospect of a giant to track down.
Factfile: Tacoa Cerveceria is located on Carretera General del Norte 122 in El Sauzal and is open from 12.30pm daily.
Jack is co-editor, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+