Hermigua is a stunning part of La Gomera. It might be the most damp and often grey area of La Gomera but don’t let that stop you venturing into this part of the island. Because of the Hermigua’s microclimate it is very green and an extremely attractive tropical/sub tropical valley with views right down to the ocean. Hermigua is perfect for hikers and was the base of many of La Gomera’s early inhabitants so has such a nice old feel to the town.
Hermigua and the valley with the Gofio Museum is my favorite part of the Island and definitely where I will stay next time I am visiting La Gomera. It is a quick drive from San Sebastian so you could hire a car or easily get a taxi. The bus service is also very good. As you drive and weave your way into this village or maybe township is a better name for it you come from the baron landscape of the south of the island to the lush green tropical feeling of Hermigua. It is beautiful.
Our first stop of the day was organized with the lovely owners of the Molino de Gofio Los Telares. We arrived and were welcomed by friendly staff. David then greets us and he stops everything he is doing to make sure we are well looked after. He then guides us through the beautiful organic orchard. We have been told it is being refurbished but still looks amazing and I quite want to plan a meal with all the food I am seeing along the way.
We are lead to the Gofio Museum. Inside we are face to face with one of the last water driven mills to make the gofio that still exist here today. The farmers that did not own their own mill would come and use this one to grind the gofio to feed there family, they would pay either in coins or part of their grains. There are also many different types of mills or grinders that have been used over the years to grind the gofio grains into powder. The building is small but packed with information on gofio and also a nicely presented history of the Island of La Gomera. You can learn about the cheese, pottery, old toys and other interesting information about La Gomera in this little museum.
It also has two different shops where you can purchase many of the locally made goods. There is so much to choose from in the shop, jams, sauces, bananas chips, baked goods, palm syrup and many different types of fruit alcohol that are all made on this island. Gofio itself if you don’t know is and was a stable food of the Canary Islands and that is including La Gomera. When cooked it is similar to but a more finely ground porridge. It is made up of different grains, beans and pulses that are toasted and ground into a powder. It has been used and eaten for decades here in the Canary Islands and was used early on to keep the farmers energy up all day as they worked on their land. It is also used today throughout many restaurants in the canaries found in both sweet and savory dishes it is also found in most supermarkets here. It is used in a dish called Gofio Escaldado served with raw white sweet onions, and you dip the onions into the mix. I enjoy this dish but it might not be to everyone’s taste and definitely make sure you like onion and are not heading on a first date after eating it. It is also used in breakfast cereals and in many restaurants it is the base for different desserts and sweetened with the canary island Palm syrup all delicious!
As we drive on further into the township we go through many different plantations, lots of banana plantations, some papaya and other tropical fruits. You can see why the early settlers were able to live so well here it is the perfect climate and location to grow all your own food.
As you look up and around the valley you can see examples of how the early inhabitants have built what feels like miles and miles of dry stone terraces all the way down the mountains for all their food to be grown all over the hills of this damp part of the island.
These terraces where used to irrigate the crops. Over the years everything from sugar cane, grapes for wine, bananas to tomatoes and much more have been grown on this land and all contributed to the economic growth of this village and island.
Enjoy the slow pace of this beautiful part of La Gomera and let us know your favorite part.