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Crafts, food, and wine from Lanzarote

  • Casa Museo al Campesino (House museum of the peasant farmer), San Bartolomé, Lanzarote © Turespaña

    Casa Museo al Campesino (House museum of the peasant farmer), San Bartolomé, Lanzarote © Turespaña

  • Vineyards planted among the volcanoes in Lanzarote © Turespaña

    Vineyards planted among the volcanoes in Lanzarote © Turespaña

  • Producing Canary Island cheese © Turismo de Canarias

    Producing Canary Island cheese © Turismo de Canarias

  • Artisan craft shop in Arrecife, Lanzarote © Alex Martín Ros. Canary Island Tourist Office

    Artisan craft shop in Arrecife, Lanzarote © Alex Martín Ros. Canary Island Tourist Office

  • Teguise Market, Lanzarote © Alex Martín Ros. Canary Island Tourist Office

    Teguise Market, Lanzarote © Alex Martín Ros. Canary Island Tourist Office

  
  


"There’s nothing like a good souvenir to make us remember our holiday with a smile. And if it’s artisanal, unique, and pretty, so much the better. ..."

There’s nothing like a good souvenir to make us remember our holiday with a smile. And if it’s artisanal, unique, and pretty, so much the better. Baskets, ceramics and embroidery are a few of the most characteristic handmade crafts of Lanzarote. But they aren’t the only traditional, artisanal products made on the island: its wines and cheeses are not to be missed. 

The island of Lanzarote produces several striking artisanal items.  First, there are ceramics and pottery, made of terracotta in the traditional way, in a simple primitive style. Among the most traditional objects are “Novios del Mojón”: a pair of male and female figurines that used to be exchanged by engaged couples.

Basketwork and items made with palm leaves and other plant fibres are also traditional local products. The people of Lanzarote use palm leaves to make mats, bags, moulds for cheese, and straw hats. If you’re looking for textiles, here there are embroideries, lace, and skilfully woven openwork; while music lovers should look out for a timple, a traditional musical instrument of the Canary Islands, like a small guitar.   

Where to buy craftwork in Lanzarote

These traditional products can usually be found in the main shopping areas of the large towns. You can also visit the various craft markets that open every weekend on the island. One of the most popular is Teguise market, held on Sunday mornings. Many of the stallholders here will also be at Arrecife market on Saturday morning, and on Friday afternoon at the Costa Teguise market.

On Saturday mornings there is another fascinating market in Haría, specialising in traditional crafts and organic farming. And on Sunday mornings, a similar gathering, the Tinajo craft and farmers’ market. Finally, at Lanzarote’s Art, Culture and Tourism Centres, as well as buying crafts from the island, you can learn how to make them by going to one of the craft workshops held in some of them, such as the Casa-Museo del Campesino or Farm Workers’ House-Museum.

Cheeses from Lanzarote

In Lanzarote they also make cheese, which has become famous for its quality and artisanal processes. Not surprisingly, the island’s cheesemakers have won numerous international awards and specialist competitions. When you try their delicious cheeses, you’ll understand perfectly.

One of the most traditional is cheese made from the milk of Majorera goats, a breed native to the Canary Islands. However, Lanzarote produces a wide variety of cheeses, all with different textures, aromas and flavours. Some are made of pure sheep’s or goat’s milk, or a blend; fresh, soft, cured or semi-cured; flavoured with natural smoke; with the rind covered in gofio (toasted flour) or paprika…

The secret of their success is in the traditional artisan methods used to make them, unchanged for many decades, contributing to preserving all the properties and vitamins of the milk. A visit to a Lanzarote cheesemaker is a great way to watch the master artisans at work, taste a range of different types, and buy whatever you prefer.

Vineyards among volcanoes on Lanzarote

Wine is another traditional product of Lanzarote, and the way the grapes are grown on the island may surprise you; in fact, it creates a unique and fascinating landscape, where vines are grown in volcanic sand. This unusual scene became a work of art in 1964 in the exhibition Architecture Without Architects at the MoMA New York. You can see the beautiful contrast between the black volcanic soil of Lanzarote and the green of the vines in the island’s main wine-making regions, La Geria, Masdache, and Tinajo (covering the municipalities of Yaiza, Tías, San Bartolomé, and Tinajo).

A visit to one of the island’s wineries is a highly recommended experience. Not only can you enjoy the different wine varieties made there (wines made with the Malvasia grape, mainly white, are a local speciality, although you’ll also find reds and rosés), the best part is seeing the unusual way they are grown and produced. For example, volcanic sand is an excellent thermal mulch, keeping the soil at a constant temperature and conserving the nutrients and moisture needed for growing grapes. And the walls of volcanic stone built around the vines protect them from the island’s almost constant winds.

You’ll also see that the grapes are harvested in July, earlier than anywhere in Europe; that all tasks are done by hand, because the planting method makes mechanisation impossible; and that there are two growing systems, in hollows and in trenches, both equally ingenious and original. It’s all part of the fascinating culture of Lanzarote.

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