Friday, March 22, 2013

What to buy/try/eat at Mercado de San Mateo (or any market!) in Gran Canaria

Every Saturday and Sunday, the little town of San Mateo fills up with eager islanders 
ready to stock up on fresh produce, cheese, bread, herbs etc. 

Without a doubt the best place in Gran Canaria I have found to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. It's fresh, it's high quality and mostly produced right here on the island. I have never before had the pleasure of buying avocados so fresh their stem is still on them and the seller tells me he picked them yesterday. 

So, what should you look for, try and buy if going to this market?

The Obvious. Fresh fruit and vegetables. The selection at most small supermarkets in Las Palmas is rather sad, but here you can find whatever you need, as fresh as you can get it.
Juicy, crisp and delicious. There are plenty of stalls to choose from!

Not bad at all to buy locally grown strawberries in the middle of winter!

Or what about a piece of the most enormous calabaza!

Fresh / dried herbs and spices. I think you can find whatever you might be looking for here, at various stands. The Oregano from Gran Canaria is 'famous' and very good, recommended! I also made sure to stock up on fresh bay laurel leaves (you know, to keep the cockroaches far away from my home.) There are little signs telling you what the different herbs are good for. Whether your problem is headaches, indigestion, or insomnia... you'll find different herbs you can use for herbal tea.

If you need some spices, this is so much better than supermarket plastic "glasses" with old dry spices!

Honey. Locally produced honey. 

The Canarians take pride in their goat cheese. I personally am not convinced about goat cheese, but apparently this is not to be missed!

Bread. The specialty here is bread made with anise. There's "normal bread", bread made in a wood fired stove, potato bread, the Canarian version of corn bread, bread with raisins & nuts, round, long, small, big. 

Chorizo de Teror. Try a sandwich with the famous spreadable chorizo from Teror or buy some chorizo to take home with your fresh bread.

Wine or Rum. Why not grab a bottle of locally produced wine or rum to enjoy with all the lovely food you just bought? (P.S. I personally prefer the wines I have tried from Lanzarote and Tenerife the ones from Gran Canaria!)

And as always, a little map to show where San Mateo is:

I hope to go back this weekend to fill up my fridge!


  1. Just love Vega de San Mateo. And if you're not convinced by goat's cheese, you'll have to try Santa Maria de Guía's Queso de Flor. Even better, go to their Fiesta del Queso. Celebrated between the 30th April and the 7th May.

    1. Fiesta de queso?!! That sounds cool, although I usually don't really like the cheeses with sheep and goat's milk. Thanks for the tip, will think about it!

  2. Not all Gran Canaria cheese is from goats. There is plenty of sheep cheese, or mixed cheese as well. Watch out for the fresh gofio mills in Gran Canaria markets. The smell is fantastic.

    1. Hi Alex. I am really boring when it comes to cheese. I LOVE cow milk cheeses, basically any, but as soon as you start mixing in sheep and goat's milk I am sort of out. Fresh gofio mills in markets? Must look out for that, thanks for the tip! Did buy gofio at San Mateo, 'Gofio de la cumbre' and it smells and tastes even better than the one I had tried previously (la piña). Fresher. I am still learning all the things I can use gofio for, and I love how it improves the flavour of basically anything I have tried using it in!

  3. Spreadable chorizo? Now that is something I've not seen and would be interested in trying. I would love fresh strawberries in the winter too! Wow.

    1. It's very tasty! And the strawberries were of the better I have tasted in Spain, they often have no taste at all but these were sweet and tasty. Lovely!

  4. Aaaaaah... You got me jealous now!! I really REALLY miss some proper fresh produce here in the winters, especially from the market.

    1. Hmm..yes not a whole lot of fresh produce up north in the winter months!

  5. Le sigh...I was hungry before, and now I may starve to death! HA! I miss the Mercat de la Boqueria!!! YUM!