La Palma Tipples
Since the early 16th century, when Spanish conquerors planted the first vines on the island, La Palma has been known for its sweet malvasía (Malmsey wine). Thanks to the merchants and colonists who came in and out of La Palma’s ports, the wine acquired fame throughout Europe, and some referred to the tasty stuff as ‘the nectar of the gods’. Even Shakespeare wrote about sweet Canary wine, making it Falstaff’s favourite in Henry IV and calling it a ‘marvellous searching wine’ that ‘perfumes the blood’. You can also find dry malvasía as well as a variety of reds, whites and rosé wines, especially in the areas of Fuencaliente and Hoyo de Mazo. For an alcohol-filled journey embark on the Wine Route, which includes wineries you can visit; details are available at the tourist office in Santa Cruz de la Palma.
Although the sugar plantations have all but gone, what remains is put to good use in the production of ron (rum) by the last producer on the island, Ron Aldea.