The “miel de palma” (honey from the palm tree) is the result of the cooking of the sap from the palm tree till it is thick and liquid becomes golden. Despite being a simple product, this honey is the most representative example of the gastronomy from the food industry in the island. It is a heritage element of a great importance for the island as well as the only product elaborated by extracting it from an endemic species as the “palm tree” (Phoenix Canariensis). It is a really sustainable process and it is not harmful for the species.
The different and most effective uses of the palm as well as the refined techniques for exploiting the species have been the cause for the appearing of a real culture around this tree in La Gomera. Miraculously, a group of practices have existed in La Gomera over the centuries and date back to the period before the Conquest.
Everything from the palm tree is used up, from the trunk to the leaves, from the sap to its fruits. Its crop is a model of the ancient popular “ingenio” it is an example of how to use the resources even when they are scarce. The different types of applications help us to understand the importance that the palm tree has played and plays for the population in la Gomera.
The “miel de palma” is the star product of this use, it is the height of the refinement of a technique, the result of a progressive development that begins with the better use of the environment and finishes with the obtaining of an elaborated product which is considered the perfection, a delicatessen of a great prestige in the island itself and the rest of the archipelago. This is due to the exclusive taste, smell and nutritious qualities this honey has together with the process that it requires and the multiple gastronomic uses. These characteristics have resulted in a distinctive honey and at the same time a cultural asset and defining feature from the inhabitants of La Gomera.
The palms “se curan” (that is make little cuts) carefully by cutting down the upper branches and getting to the soft and fleshy heart. It is scraped with a very thin chisel till the plant starts to give its sweet sap, the “guarapo”. It is given this name in the Canary Islands and especially in La Gomera. It is a highly appreciated drink in the island which is usually consumed fresh, directly from the palm, or chilled so that it can last for 48 hours.
The final product, the honey, is acquired from the cooking of the “guarapo”. This is collected in the morning and when free from dirt particles, it is cooked for hours to find the desired cooking point. The honey has a long period of durability and its gastronomic, medicinal and dietetic properties are extraordinary. The “miel de palma” is the top dish in La Gomera. It is used for elaborating desserts and cocktails or to serve with different dishes such as salads, meats, fish or desserts.