Tuesday, January 13, 2009

14 ~ The Gofio Mill

gofio mill Orotava(click to enlarge photos)
One day my friend Anne and I went to visit a gofio mill in La Orotava.

gofio mill orotava Gofio is a flour made from toasted cereals which has been a staple food of the Canary people for centuries.

gofio in bagThe aboriginal people of the islands, the Guanches, used to grind toasted barley and other grains as well as the rhizomes of ferns into a flour which was then mixed with water to form a nutritious paste.

gio on plate Later it was made from cereals such as maize (called millo), wheat and barley either toasted and mixed together or ground separately. It has been used mixed with water, milk or broth, and served either as a thin gruel or as a thick mixture shaped into small croquettes and eaten out of hand, in place of bread.

gogio in restaurant
As a food rich in vitamins and minerals it has been a basic sustenance of the Canary people, especially in times of food scarcity, as after the Spanish civil war when many people went hungry. A friend of mine from the island of Hierro says she added gofio to the milk in her baby's bottles. Gofio added to a glass of milk is a common breakfast for many people, as it is considered to be a very healthy food, free of preservatives and artificial colourings.

gofio in restaurante
Here on the islands, one can see gofio served as well in restaurants, either as a small starter for the uninitiated to this food, or as a bowlful with a porridge-like consistency, placed in the centre of a table for members of a family to serve themselves by dipping in their spoon.

The most prized is the gofio which has been hand ground in a stone mill, as the flavour and consistency is deemed the best but there are many electric mills used nowadays. Here is the one we visited, where the miller is overseeing the grinding of the toasted maize.

miller & machine
Here is a bag of toasted maize waiting to be ground:

toasted maize in bag
And another sample of the toasted maiz for visitors to see:

tosted maiz in box
After being ground, the gofio flour looks like this. The miller shows us by taking out a scoop:

gofio flour
Here in the patio outside the mill is an older machine, looking as though it has been retired from service, as is evident from the fern growing out of the top.

old green gofio mill
La Orotava is such a lovely old town where one can find so many interesting things.
There is always something new to explore around the next corner!

NEXT: My bees and flowers.


Lorna said...

I read your more recent post about Gofio. You described it as nutty and fudgy and...... and then I was interested. Sounds good.

Tecram said...

My dad introduced me to Gofio mixed with milk when I was a little girl, and it was a traditional breakfast or before-bedtime snack. I'm 33 now, and I live in Silicon Valley, so I don't get to find Gofio out here. When visiting my dad in Fort Lauderdale this past week, I did a little pilgramage to Sedano's grocer to buy some gofio to take home with me. I'm happy to have it in my California home now and can't wait to make my first glass.


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