An island born from sugar production, whose inhabitants are known for the sweetness of their expressions and gestures, has to be sweet-toothed by definition. La Palma is a place for dietary indulgence, for no human eye can resist so much temptation – and there’s no diet that can’t be put off till those well-deserved subtropical holidays are over.
Sweets and pastries are the main gastronomical treasure of a necessarily sweet-toothed island, given that successive crises in sugar-cane plantations and mills meant that sugar had to be turned into sweets, jams, preserves, cakes and pastries.
It is said the acclaimed pastries even got onto the table in the Vatican.
The best known palmeran sweet is the rapadura It is conical in shape, and its main ingredients are molasses (miel de caña), gofio (ground cereals), sugar, almonds, cinnamon, and lemon. From this basic recipe, other varieties have evolved, such as milk, chocolate, coconut, and egg rapaduras.
Other sweets easily found in shops, restaurants and markets are the almendradossmall discs of almond paste with sugar and egg baked in the oven. Also very popular is Bienmesabe a paste made with eggs, ground roasted almonds, sugar and grated lemon peel, usually thickened with sponge cake)
The Marquesotes (small cakes made with wheat flour, eggs and sugar, cut into diamond shapes, steeped in syrup or topped with stiffly beaten egg whites) and queso de almendras (with eggs, grated lemon peel, cinnamon and, of course, almonds)
Most restaurants include homemade desserts on their menus, including the previously mentioned bienmesabe, tarta de limon (lemon tart) , Principe Alberto (chocolate and almond mousse) Quesillo.