Did you know that the Canary Islands are home to some of the best cheeses in the world? The World Cheese Awards in 2015 awarded Canarian cheeses with 18 different medals and the cheese Queso Arico from the Sociedad Canaria de Formento won first prize. The special climate of the islands makes it possible to develop native breeds of goats, named Majorera. These goats graze on marjoram, where the name derives from. Farmers have kept these animals since ancient times and make cheese from their milk.
The different cheeses are creamy, slightly spicy with a mild flavour, and have a distinctive aroma of marjoram. The cheeses are formed into big rings, which are usually white, but those kept for longer turn more brown in colour. They are often spiced with oil, paprika, and other spices. Flor de Guía is a famous fatty cheese made on the island of Gran Canaria in from the milk from Canarian sheep, with milk from Canarian cows or goats. You can try its many varieties during The Cheese Festival in the historic district of Santa María de Guía, on the last Sunday of April. Another cheese festival is held in Pago de Montaña Alta, the town's cheese district, on the first Sunday of May.
There are also several dairies on the Canary Islands with hundreds of years of experience in making cheeses that are worth a visit. La Villa farm in Betancuria, in the north of Fuerteventura, has been making traditional goat cheeses for more than a hundred years. They produce up to 8,000 kilos of cheese each year. El Convento Dairy is one more place in the north-east of Fuerteventura, where hundreds of thousands of litres of goats’ milk are used to make cheese annually. These are soft cheeses, semi-mature and mature, often spiced with gofio, paprika, oil and then smoked. As you can see, Canarian cheeses are highly regarded all over the world, so don't miss the chance to try them and visit farms that usually welcome tourists.