Seeking respite from fine dining and eating out, Sasha Arms stays in a cave in Gran Canaria to prepare a home-cooked, Canarian meal.
There are some occasions when paying for a meal out is not the best option. Take a rural tourism example in Gran Canaria as an example. The central and northern regions of the island form a hub for grandiose natural surroundings, comprised of steep mountains and tranquil villages, where nightlife is about watching the stars and listening to the silence. The village of Artenara is a popular destination for rural tourists, but even here it’s difficult to find many signs of life after sundown. La Cilla, a restaurant in a cave accessed through a tunnel and enjoying jaw-dropping views of the mountains engulfing Artenara, is probably the only restaurant in the area that’s definitely worth a visit. Even better in this region is embracing the surroundings and having a DIY meal in a cave. Intrigued? We were too.
Artenatur is a family run business in Artenara, specialising in renting out cave houses to holidaymakers in this rural region. Cave dwellings are still popular in Gran Canaria to this day, making practical and steadily-cooled living conditions in the rugged conditions that form the ‘mini-continent’ of Gran Canaria. On this particular occasion, we stayed in cave house ‘Las Margaritas’ in Las Arvejas, a short drive away from Artenara. With two bedrooms, a living room, a huge kitchen-diner and bathroom – it was spacious, silent, naturally climate controlled and…very, very dark. Outside was a terrace with a swimming pool overlooking the mountainside and what would be our pièce de résistance for the stay – a barbecue.
This was no ordinary barbecue. Built into the wall, this was an industrial-sized outdoor cooking machine, complete with a handle to raise and lower the grill, a food preparation area and outside sink. Impeccably thought-out (except for the extractor that hadn’t quite considered the prevalent wind direction…stingy eyes), we were going to attempt a Canarian barbecue, cave-style. This would go on to be one of our best meals in Gran Canaria.
Artenara cave-style eating: The Hungry Nomad verdict
Best bit: The romance of being in the middle of nowhere and the sheer awesomeness of doing everyday living IN A CAVE!
Worst bit: Aforementioned stingy eyes.
Our ideal menu for two:
Fresh meat picked up from a food market in the mountains – pork, goat and rabbit are popular on Gran Canaria – we found some garlic-infused sausages for this meal – €4
The Canarian staple of ‘wrinkled’ potatoes covered in green or red Mojo sauce (L’Enrosadira brand is best) – €4
Selection of Canarian-grown vegetables (greens, courgettes, green beans) – €4
Gofio (corn-based Canarian staple food) – €0.50
Tropical (Canarian beer) x4 – €4
TOTAL: €16.50 (approximately £14)