Vegans in Gran Canaria
Our time in Tenerife over, it was time to head for neighbouring Gran Canaria. Unlike our last Canary Islands hop (Lanzarote to GC), I was to be no Seasick Steve on an overnight ferry. Instead, we had the shortest flight we are ever likely to experience - 30 minutes by Binter, which put the big airlines to shame by still managing to serve FREE drinks and snacks (okay, only non-vegan wafer biscuits, but they were a wee added bonus for the cleaners at our apartment).
Compared to Tenerife (and Mallorca and Barcelona - see earlier blog posts), Gran Canaria is a bit of a vegan desert. There are only two vegetarian restaurants on the island - and both are in the capital, Las Palmas.
Fortunately, most of the fare at Zoe Food is vegan-friendly.
This was our second attempt to eat there - and we nearly missed out again. On our last visit to the island, we turned up on a Sunday afternoon only to be told they were closing for the day. This time, we arrived at 7.30pm on a weekday to discover that the main menu is only for lunches and that most of the evening menu had already been gobbled up by hungry customers, so we had to make do with (nevertheless lovely) snacks and cakes - three of them!
Xmas songs about snow and reindeer may seem a little out of place in the warm daytime sunshine. But, come evening, there was a lovely festive atmosphere amid the shopping - lots of shopping!!! - with roasted chestnuts and candy floss, which even matched my headband.
Of course, we had to return the following day to finally get our gnashers into a lunch menu at Zoe Food that changes every day and is great value at 10 euros for two courses and 12 for three. Of course, we had to have more vegan cake and freshly squeezed fruit juice combinations.
We had a chat with the lovely owner, whose enthusiasm for her project no doubt goes some way to explaining why Zoe Food is packed out at lunch times - and fairly busy in the evenings too. She buys locally produced fruit and veg (although the seitan is imported from Italy) and is so concerned for the health of her customers that she changed the opening times (the restaurant closes at 8.30) because she believes it is not good for people to eat late in the evenings.
Zoe Food also sells some vegan-friendly goods to take away - we took some pate for sandwiches and a pack of seitan strips.
The owner discounted suggestions we have heard elsewhere that the Spanish (and holidaymakers) are not ready for vegan food. "This is the future," she said. We certainly hope so.
Our return to Zoe Food meant we missed out on eating at the other veggie place in Las Palmas. Indeed, we can't even enlighten you about the fare on offer at La Hierba Luisa Cocina de la Huerta (get your teeth round that name never mind their food) as it was siesta time by the time we found it (Google Maps got confused by the one-way system) and it had no menu on display!
Unfortunately, our holiday on Gran Canaria drew to a close all too soon, my last taste of the island being a soya latte at the airport. Hopefully, though, we will be back some day in the not too distant future.