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Almogrote is traditionally made by using a pestle and mortar to mix very mature hard cheese, garlic, pepper, chillies, ripe tomatoes, pepper and olive oil until it reaches the consistency of a chunky thick and rather potent paste. It’s claimed locally that its origins are North African, the legacy of the Berber natives who once inhabited The Canary Islands.
The first whiff warns you what’s coming and then the flavour – WOW. You’re either going to love almogrote…or retch (think of eating slight pongy socks).
Personally I’m a big fan of its pungency, it’s a pate that packs a delicous and attitide-packed punch.
Although the ingredients remain pretty much the same, the strength and flavours can vary enormously depending on the measurements used.Strength varies. Whereas the jars found on supermarket shelves in La Gomera and the other Canary Islands are toned down to suit mainstream palates, home-made almogrotes bought in small shops in La Gomera are a different matter.
Even though I thought I preferred almogrote as strong as it came, I had to concede defeat with a jar picked up in a great little shop in a Hermigua that was hardly bigger than the average wardrobe.
The best way to enjoy Almogrote is to spread it on toast (how much depends on how adventurous you are). It’s found on restaurant menus across the island and although it’s a speciality of La Gomera it turns up on quite a few menus on neighbouring Tenerife as well.
For any foodies, almogrote is a culinary must if you want to experience an authentic taste of La Gomera. Have a good, robust glass of red wine to hand to really unleash those full-on flavours.
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+