If traveling to Tenerife, try to make time to visit one of the wineries on the island as they are chance to get away from the crowded beaches and resorts for some amazing eats and drinks. There are wineries on both the south side and the north side of the island, so whether you only have an hour or two to spare, you should be able to find options.
Sonia and I blocked off half of one of our days, so we opted to visit a winery on the north side of the island – Bodegas Monje. We pre-booked a wine and cheese tasting and then lunch for afterwards; however, one of the main draws for choosing this winery was that we could book transportation to and from the winery as part of our online booking. It may not seem like a big plus, but when you are staying on the south side of the island, this option saves you from a lot of worries.
Depending on where you are coming from on the island and which route your driver takes, the trip to Bodegas Monje can be spectacular. For our visit, we drove through Tiede National Park and were treated to views of both the volcano and the ocean while traveling above the clouds for some parts. After roughly 2 hours on the road, we arrived at the winery.
The winery sits on a hillside overlooking the ocean, so if you can get a table outside on the terrace, you will be treated to some spectacular views of both the vineyard and the ocean. On first glance, the property looks small from the front, but you will be surprised to see how big of an operation it is if you opt for the tour. Note that a tour might be included in your tasting so plan accordingly.
Wine and Cheese Pairings
Bodegas Monje has an excellent variety of tastings from wines only to wine and cheese to wine and chocolates. We opted for the 4 wines and 4 cheeses as it gave us an opportunity to try some Canarian cheeses. The 4 cheeses are all goat cheeses, but each was diverse in taste and texture. This may have been our biggest surprise in Tenerife. Served along with the cheeses are almonds, raisins, crunchy bread, and merlot salt. I believe the flowers were edible as well.
The tasting was well-planned with the cheeses moving from the softest to the harder ones, and the wines moving from lighter to bolder. The care taken in pairing each cheese and wine were well thought out as both complimented each other perfectly. From the presentation to the pairings to the quality of the cheese and wine, this was probably one of our best winery tastings in a long time.
#1 – Dragoblanco & Fresh, White Goat Cheese
#2 – Hollera & Smoked Goat Cheese
#3 – MonjeTradicional & Semi-cured, Peppery Goat Cheese
#4 – Listan Negro & Cured Goat and Sheep Milk Cheese
Finale – Chocolates
After our wine and cheese tasting, we were taken on a tour of the winery. The tour is really a great way to see the wine-making operation from start to finish, and you really get an appreciation for the family’s dedication and pride in what they are producing. The tour was roughly a half hour.
Lunch – Hog Roast “Cochino Negro” Menu
Our visit to the winery concluded with lunch in the restaurant. We pre-booked one of the hog roasts, as we knew when planning this trip that we could not leave without trying the black pig, or cochino negro. Surprisingly, we were not able to find this at most of the restaurants we visited on the trip, so this was our only opportunity to taste it, and it did not disappoint.
Once seated, we were each given a large piece of bread that was accompanied by 3 spreads – watercress butter, a goats cheese, and a spread that was chorizo based.
Each was very different in texture and taste but all were delicious and perfect to start our meal.
Next we were given soup served with a bowl of gofio that we could add to the top of the soup as a garnish. Gofio is another Canarian specialty and is a flour made from different toasted grains.
The main course was next and is one not to be missed if you make it to the Bodegas Monje. The price for this menu is higher than the pork shoulder menu, but it is worth it.
The cochino negro comes with a bowl of salad to share, and is served with the winery’s own red wine vinegar and some olive oil for the dressing. The salad was a delicious and fresh option to balance out the heaviness of the entree.
As for the pork itself, there is no mistaking that this is the star of the meal. Sonia and I were both provided our own plates with a serving of the pork on each. The pork was accompanied with both a red mojo and a green mojo as well as some Canarian potatoes. The pork was perfectly cooked – crispy skin with succulent and tender meat. Both the seasoning on the pork in conjunction with both mojos, left our mouths wanting more with each bite. Luckily, the serving is massive, so we had plenty to eat to keep us happy. To understand how big the servings are, we both had leftovers, which were enough for another meal for both of us.
Our “cochino negro” meal ended with dessert, but unfortunately with everything we had already eaten that day and the fact that our car back to the hotel was waiting, we were not able to enjoy it as much as we would have likes. If booking this menu, keep in mind that it does a good amount of time to eat all the courses.
The meal was definitely value for the price, and I recommend everyone try this menu option. From the start of the meal right until the end, you will not be disappointed.