On a visit to Fuerteventura culture and gastronomy go hand in hand
Fuerteventura is famed for its stunning landscape and pleasant climate year round. However what tourists don’t often know is that the island has a star export: goat’s cheese. It is interesting to note that the Canary Islands is the community which produces and consumes the largest amount of goat’s cheese in Spain. Besides beach trips, a visit to Fuerteventura, indeed a visit to any of the Canary Islands, should include a gastronomic experience.
The importance of goat’s cheese to Fuerteventura is such that in 2014 a museum was opened to celebrate the food product. The museum is located in Antigua, on the centre of the island, and is part of the grounds of the Antigua Mill which was declared a site of cultural interest in 1994. The mill is still in use and the complex which include the goat’s cheese museum is a great place for visitors to familiarise themselves with the history of the production of goat’s cheese.
Cheese as a symbol of the island
The Majorero Cheese Museum has 500 square metres of exhibition space and is divided into areas of interest. Helpfully for foreign visitors, the explanatory panels which accompany the exhibits have been translated into several languages. Visitors to the museum will learn the story of the Majorera goat, a native breed and one of the symbols of the island of Fuerteventura. The exhibition centre also includes an authoritative history of cheese factories in Fuerteventura. Cheese recipes are provided as well as outlines of the different varieties of the Majorero Cheese. These is an explanation of the concept of the denomination of origin as well as a description of the orography, climate, fauna and flora of Fuerteventura. There are discussion forums to discuss best practice for cheese making, and visitors are told about the competitions that exist to produce the best cheese. Cooking utensils used in cheese preparation are also presented.
The Fuerteventura cheese museum will offer a never to be forgotten experience. Curators have installed a virtual goat milking station in the exhibition premises so that visitors can experience at first hand the act of milking a goat. The museum does well at explaining to visitors something of the geography of the Canary Islands. Curators have installed a hyper realistic large format model of the island of Fuerteventura which includes moving images, a multimedia volcanic cone, augmented reality applications and audiovisual panels.
Some visitors will just come to the museum to try the cheese, and the cheese tasting aspect to the exhibition experience is integral. Visitors will have watering mouths after walking around the exhibits, so the tasting room will offer a delightful encounter with some of the most popular versions of the Majorero cheese. There is raw milk cheese, pasteurized milk cheese, tender cheese, semi-cured cheese, and cured cheese.
Garden, shop and church
After sampling some Majorero cheese, many visitors want to buy the food product, so a shop has been attached to the museum to allow visitors to take home a memento from the day. In the grounds of the old mill there is also a beautiful botanic garden which contains varieties of cacti from all over the world. Also, visitors to the cheese museum should note that it is more than worthwhile to stop and see the beautiful church in Antigua which contains some astonishing art work centred on religious themes.