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Saturday, 16 April 2016 21:12

Now There's A Good Reason To Stop In Las Lagunetas

Now there's an excellent reason to stop at Lagunetas Now there's an excellent reason to stop at Lagunetas www.photosgrancanaria.com

A new cheese, wine and craft shop at Las Lagunetas puts the sleepy highland village right on the Gran Canaria tour map.

Like everyone else, we used to look at Las Lagunetas village from the GC 15 road between San Mateo and Cruz de Tejeda. But we never stopped because there was no reason to. Then, someone told us about a new shop selling Canarian produce and we had to investigate. 

We wondered who would be crazy enough to open up in one of the island's quietest spots. 

The answer is the indomitable Hermanos Moreno (with a bit of help from their mum). 

Las Lagunetas village

Las Lagunetas, a pretty cluster of white houses around a big church, is barely a village. It's also off the main road so it doesn't even get "I need the loo and the kids feel car sick" traffic.  

Lagunetas church

On weekdays, the only people going through are walkers on their way down the Barranco de la Mina from Cruz de Tejeda.  At the weekends, there's some life as the Moreno's restaurant right by the church. It gets busy thanks to its traditional Canarian food, cooked by mama Moreno, and great prices.

The Morenos had plenty of time to think of a new way to attract visitors.

What they came up with was Tierra Guanche, one of the best local produce and crafts shops that we've found in Gran Canaria.

Tierra Guanche

lagunetas tierra guanche

When you first walk in you see a mix of Gran Canaria crafts (pottery, weaving, jewelry), local food like bienmesabe, almond treats, etc, and lots of wine.

Tierra Guanche's wine is a well-curated selection from Gran Canaria and some good picks from other islands. Top picks include the Agala Altitud red, a coupage of funny local grapes with hints of chocolate and tobacco, and the Yaiza whites from Lanzarote in their distinctive blue bottles.

Downstairs there's a surprise; A bodega stuffed with award-winning local goat and sheep cheeses, and yet more wine.

Tierra Guanche wine and cheese bodega

 

Cheese from heaven (well, Tenteniguada)

Lex trying cheese at Tierra Guanche

The cheese at Tierra Guanche isn't the bland shrink-wrapped slabs sold resort supermarkets, but hand-made raw-milk cheese straight from small Gran Canaria producers. It's so authentic it doesn't even have a label. 

We left carrying two kilos of Roque Grande, one of the best semitiernos we've ever tried. Made by a man called José Juan Santana using milk from his 350 goats and 170 sheep, it smells like a (goaty) field and has a lovely creamy texture and sharp kick.

Roque Grande cheesery, right in the centre of Gran Canaria's cheese country around Valsequillo, won a gold medal at the World Cheese Awards in Birmingham in 2015. 

Roque Grande cheese from Gran Canaria

You have to try it, and you can before you buy at Tierra Guanche; Roque Grande costs €14.50 per kilo, less than most supermarket cheese.

Lex says: No commercial Gran Canaria cheesemakers use animal rennet any more, so vegetarians can eat all of them. 

Fair trade crafts

Tierra Guanche sells all its crafts at the same price you get from the makers. It means you get great value for money on quality, handmade local goods. Much better than most resort shops and far higher quality than anything just up the hill at Cruz de Tejeda. 

Canarian knives, with hand carved, bone and stone handles, are a great buy, as is the silver and leather jewelry. There's also some modern pottery using Canarian icons and bright glazes. 

Restaurant with a view

Hermanos Moreno restaurant menu

Upstairs, the Moreno brothers have opened a two-storey bar and restaurant serving traditional food.  Head up to the top floor for the outdoor terrace and the view of the church and the top of Barranco de la Mina and Cruz de Tejeda. 

Or if you want a more traditional setting, walk next door to the original Hermanos Moreno restaurant, where mama Moreno is still cooking the food. If the sun is out, sit under the tree next to the church wall. 

Both serve the same food so choose between a modern feel with the view or the old-school charm of the original restaurant. 

Alex says: The house red, a quaffable listán negro from Tenerife, is excellent. Walkers beware of the second glass.

Three ways to get to Las Lagunetas

Lagunetas village and church in Gran Canaria

Walk down the Barranco de la Mina on the trail that starts behind the souvenir stands at Cruz de Tejeda. It's a pleasant walk down through the pines and past El Lomito hamlet (and a guy living in a shipping container) and orchards. The last section is uphill. This walk takes about an hour.

From Las Lagunetas you can keep walking all the way down to San Mateo, then get a bus back to Cruz de Tejeda. From the church, walk up the road to the roundabout and then towards San Mateo. Ask at the Las Rosas restaurant if you can't find the trail to San Mateo. The walk from Las Lagunetas to San Mateo takes about 90 minutes. 

By car, drive up the GC 15 from San Mateo, past the Las Rosas restaurant (don't turn left for Pozo de las Nieves) and turn off to Las Lagunetas at this roundabout. From Cruz de Tejeda, Las Lagunetas is about 10 minutes down the hill. 

Alex Says: Thanks to fellow Gran Canaria fan DaQuteTravel for tipping us off about Tierra Guanche.

Additional Info

  • Lat/Long: 28.005011, -15.575785
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