Mulberries

July 22, 2018

  Mulberries were originally introduced to the greener parts of La Palma to feed silkworms for silk production. The fruit is a delicious side-effect. Sadly, you rarely see it on sale, because it’s fragile and doesn’t keep. It’s also a strong, natural dye (and is used as such). If you pick your own, expect stained fingers and watch your clothes. In fact, if you’re staying near a mulberry tree in fruit,…

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The Romeria de San Antonio

July 21, 2018

A romería is a cross between a religious procession and a party. Typically, they hold a special mass and then take the statue out for several kilometres along a traditional route, followed by floats which hand out free food and wine, and lots of people, some in traditional dress, many of them singing and / or dancing. Since it’s a big event, most of them don’t happen every year, but…

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The Dragon Tree Viewpoint

July 15, 2018

  There’s a rather nice viewpoint in Puntagorda, on the main road at km 78. Its most obvious attraction is the dragon tree, leaning much further over than the tower at Pisa. > But when I was last there, I was charmed by a tame red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax barbarus. They’re relatives of rooks and crows, but this particular sub-species only lives on La Palma where they’re called grajas. They’re…

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How to cook Caigua

Cyclanthera pedata, known as kaywa or caigua
July 11, 2018

The plant Cyclanthera pedata has a lot of names: Caigua, kaywa, caihua, caygua, cayua, achuqcha, achocha, achogcha, achojcha, achokcha, archucha. It’s a herbacious vine which originally comes from the Andes (Bolivia to Columbia). You eat the fruit, but cook it like a vegetable. Slice each fruit opem, remove the seeds, fill with whatever you fancy, and put it in the oven for a bit. The traditional filling is minced beef,…

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El Tablado

The Topo area of El Tablado, La Palma island
July 6, 2018

El Tablado is a little village in Garafia in the north of the island. It’s rather remote, because you have to drive about 50 km on the main road from Santa Cruz, and a further 6km down the side road to get to the top end of the village. The Topo lookout point is near the fist cluster of houses (as opposed to isolated houses). It gives a spectacularview over…

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Ravens on La Palma

July 3, 2018

Common Ravens live all over Europe, Asia and North America, but we have a different sub-species here. Some biologists group our raven in with the North African sub-species (Corvus corax tingitanus) and others think the Canaries have their own sub-species (Corvus corax canariensis). Like other members of the rook-and-crow family, they’ll eat whatever’s available: carrion, insects, cereal grains, berries, fruit, small animals, and food waste. And they’re pretty intelligent about…

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