The Magic of Tenerife - issue #5
April 1st, 2011


This is your genial webmaster John with the latest Tenerife Information Centre Newsletter!

In this month's issue, we'll be taking a look at:

- The important celebrations of Semana Santa, or Holy Week
- Where to obtain British style Easter eggs
- A traditional Spanish Easter Sunday meal (with a recipe)


The Important Celebrations of Semana Santa

Tenerife, being part of Spain, is fervently Roman Catholic and therefore marks Easter as a very important time in the religious calendar. In fact, the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is designated "Holy Week", or Semana Santa. This year, its dates are April the 17th to the 24th.

Throughout those seven days, there are numerous processions and celebrations across the island. Here, I'll attempt to tell you about the most spectacular ones - the ones it would be worth trying to see. They are centred around the two cities of La Laguna and La Orotava, plus the area of Adeje.

The celebrations in La Laguna are possibly the most religiously important, as the town is the seat of the Bishop of Tenerife. Here, the week-long celebrations culminate in two important processions, taking place on Viernes Santa, or Good Friday (April 22nd). At 5pm, the first of these starts from the ancient church of Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion a place of worship dating from 1502 and one of the oldest churches on the island. This is the impressive Magna Procession, in which 24 pasos, or "steps" are represented, all depicting scenes from the Easter story. In the evening, at around 9pm, is the eerie Silent Procession, where all the town's lighting is switched off and the members of the procession, dressed in their pointed hoods covering their faces and flowing robes, troop silently through the darkened streets, to unsettling effect.

In La Orotava on Good Friday, there is the Procesión del Encuentro, or "procession of the meeting". First conceived in 1633, it has remained pretty much unchanged over the centuries and, today, attracts thousands of people from other areas. There is much theatricality and drama and the procession also features Saint Veronica, who is reputed to have mopped Jesus's brow with a cloth, after which an image of his face was left on the material.

It is in Adeje that the most spectacular event takes place. There is a complete re-enactment of the Passion of Christ - ie the events leading up to his crucifixion. Routinely involving a cast of up to 300, this event takes place on the main street of Adeje, Calle Grande. Such things as zebra crossings and traffic lights are all covered over for the duration and the complete series of events are depicted, right from Jesus's entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, up to his actual execution. Included are such famous scenarios as the Last Supper, the release of Barabbas, the flogging, the crown of thorns - sometimes it can get quite bloodthirsty! Such is the prestige of this event, it is shown on Canarian TV. Starting at around 12 noon on Good Friday, the whole thing lasts some two hours.


Where to Obtain British Style Easter Eggs

Okay, you're in Tenerife at Easter; where do you get hold of Easter eggs? Well, some Spanish supermarkets will probably stock Spanish Easter eggs, made using Spanish chocolate, but, we all know, that's not the same as British chocolate, is it? Can authentic British-style Easter eggs be found on Tenerife?

Well, fortunately, yes, they can! Trouble is, if they've been imported, they'll naturally be a lot more expensive than you'd pay in the UK.

First of all, the most obvious port of call has to be one of the Iceland supermarkets, in Los Cristianos and Las Chafiras. As specialists in UK produce, you can bet they'll have UK Easter eggs, but, as I said, they'll cost an arm and a leg!

I understand that the large store Al Campo, in the north, is now stocking UK-style eggs (the name "Cadburys" has been mentioned).

Apart from those two suggestions, I don't think the island really caters for this British confection, so, if you're set on having your Easter celebration accompanied by chocolate eggs, be prepared to dig deep into your pockets!


A Traditional Spanish Easter Sunday Meal

On Easter Sunday, why not try a traditional Spanish Easter meal? Here, I'll give you details of a couple of courses that would make up one and I'm sure you'll think that it sounds delicious.

Begin with an ensalada mixta, or mixed salad. This is something found routinely on menus in Canarian bars and one Alison and I like to kick off our meal with - it's not too filling before the main course. Tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers, lettuce and, sometimes tuna and boiled egg make up the dish, with a simple, basic dressing of salt, black pepper, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.

For main, try cordero asado, or roast lamb, cooked with loads of garlic. Lamb is a particularly good buy at this time of year, with the onset of Spring being the lambing season.

Accompanying this, why not try papas a la importancia and alubias verdes con ajo, respectively "potatoes of importance" and "green beans with garlic". The latter is pretty self-explanatory, but I'd better elaborate on the former.

They are slices of potatoes coated in batter and cooked in a delicious sauce. Here's how to make them:


  • Six potatoes
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • Two white onions
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken stock
  • A few threads of saffron (or you can use turmeric)
  • Two tablespoons of flour (for the sauce)
  • More flour (to coat potatoes)
  • Two beaten eggs
  • Salt and pepper


Finely chop onions and garlic, then saute in a large pan containing the olive oil until soft. Stir in the flour. Add stock and saffron and bring to a simmer, leaving for about ten minutes. Peel and cut potatoes into quite thick slices.

Remove pan from heat, setting aside. Coat potato slices thoroughly using the remaining flour. Begin to heat up some more oil in another pan. Dip the floury potatoes into the egg mixture and place in the hot oil. When appropriate, turn the slices over, so they are browned both sides. When done, remove and drain on a paper towel.

Finally, place them in a layer in the pan containing the sauce. Return to the heat and simmer on low until the potatoes are completely cooked. Replace any evaporated liquid with either more stock or water. Season to taste.

Done! Result, a delicious way of cooking potatoes, Spanish style!


If you like this ezine, please do a friend (and me) a big favour and forward it to them.

If a friend forwarded this ezine to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting The Tenerife Information Centre.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this ezine and tell me what you think!

This is John signing off. See you next month!

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