Gofio is a very typical food from the Canary Islands, it can even be dated back to the Guanches, the aboriginals of the Canary Islands, who would have made it from barley and certain ferns and eaten it as a staple in their diet.
It is made by grinding roasted wheat and other grains into a powder similar to flour. It is brown in colour and people have used it here in Tenerife for many years for both savoury and sweet dishes.
The old stone hand mills used to grind the ingredients are very often found as antiques or decorative items in gardens or inside larger homes and now, because it is still a very popular food, it is made by larger mills and factories. There are still a number of smaller companies and farms that produce their own Gofio, and these can still be found dotted about the country side and generally come together for country fairs, when they are able to show and sell their wares.
Water or milk can be added to the flour and the mixture can be eaten warm or cold. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch as a main meal or as an accompiament to fish or meat and as a snack. Children are very often fed Gofio for breakfast with warm milk and a small amount of the powder can also be added to water or milk and people often drink it to settle stomach pains. One of my favourites is when it is made with dried fruit. Nuts and sultanas with a little honey added for sweetness, made into a moist mixture and put in the fridge…Mmmm.
Keep your eyes open for the very popular food fairs that will start to be advertised soon, for the summer and autumn months, where you will be able to sample Gofio cakes and other treats.