Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África, or the market of Our Lady of Africa, is one of the main Tenerife markets, situated in the heart of Santa Cruz. I found HouseTrip to book a villa right on the central facing promenade which gave us easy access to the Markets and fabulous beaches.
Mercado de Nuestra Señora de África definitely takes on a Central American look, with an arched entrance, clock tower and flower sellers. The clock tower is most definitely a landmark of Santa Cruz, being very tall and looking very historic even though it was only built in the 1940’s.
The outer construction and architecture of the market is of a similar style, and was built in a time when the architects wanted buildings to have a kind of historic regionalism, a politically correct patriotism almost. Inside the market is quite on the contrary, the design leaning more towards a more modern take of the classic model of a permanent market.
Everything is arranged around a patio, the meat and fish sectioned sheltered from the sun, and below the market you will even find the biggest modern twist on the great traditionalist pretender; the supermarket!
One of the best Markets on the island
You can buy whatever you could find in any other city here, but the things which are more exclusive to the Canaries, are things such as; the fish, the cheeses and the wine. The fish are all locally sourced and exclusive to the area, and are of the freshest varieties you will ever find. Sometimes you can pick up a fish that has been caught under an hour ago!
As for the cheese, the same applies. It is all locally sourced and comes in many different recipes, with local herbs and spices infused.
The wine however is the piece de resistance, again locally sourced made from locally grown fruits, with the exact locale always secret. The locals are very precious about their wine making recipes which have been passed from generation to generation. Upon tasting some of the wines, which you can do along with the cheese and anything else you may want to sample, you can see why the recipes are so precious. It is the finest selection of wines I think I have ever tasted! All the origins are also protected, but with the variety there must be multitude of locations due to the sheer variety, impressive for a tropical island.
Eat Fresh and Local!
So if you want to get some of the finest local produce, and to eat like a true local, here is where you need to go. All the stall and shopkeepers are very friendly, and speak on the whole good English. The only problem you may come across is with things such as the local spices. All the labels will be in Spanish, and whilst they will offer the best explanation they can, it can be confusing. On the other hand you can sample pretty much anything you wish, don’t be afraid to ask, but as for spices, on their own they may be a little overpowering!
It is an eye opening experience and a shallow submersion into the local produce, of course not too deep due to their vehement secrecy, which I find very charming. A definite must do destination, even just to browse.
More information can be found out about Mercado de Nuestra Señora de ÁfricaMarket here, including when it’s on and the best time to go!
Picture credit: Nicole Abalde