|Valleseco town square, one of Gran Canaria's many hidden spots|
Valleseco is one of the prettiest and least visited towns in Gran Canaria. It makes its own cider, although it is even harder to find than the place itself. So far we haven't tried a drop!
Dry In Name
The name Valleseco means "dry valley". Unless this refers to the lack of cider it's a misnomer: The town, tucked away in the north central hills above Teror, is one of the wettest places on the island. It even sells itself as a "green oasis of life" on its tourist website.
The church, pictured above, is surrounded by a pretty and surprisingly elegant square full of plane trees. It holds an old German organ and a chunk of saint's arm bone. Valleseco has a butcher, a fishmongers, a bar called La Herradura (The Horseshoe) and not much else. It's one of those towns where people move slowly and seem to live forever. Don't stop for lunch as there is no restaurant in town.
Valleseco has an 80-year old gofio mill and the tourist info office in the town hall displays local craft works; mostly woven baskets (weekdays only, of course). There isn't much else to do except wander about. Look out for old Canarian houses with tile roofs covered in endemic Aeonium or rock rose plants.
The best time to visit is at the end of May or beginning of June when the town honours Saint Vicente Ferrer, or on the first Sunday of October for the apple festival.
In Search Of Cider
Valleseco is surrounded by fields of old apple and plum trees. Until recently they were abandoned but the orchards have received a new lease of life thanks to the town hall's cider initiative. Valleseco cider is like the flat cider served in Asturias in the north of Spain, rather than the fizzy Gaitero stuff you get in the shops. It's sold as sidra reineta "Gran Valle" and is excellent.
Or that's what the lucky people who have tried the stuff tells us. There isn't a bottle on the island at the moment as last years vintage, all 17,000 bottles of it, was bottled in April and drunk by November. The owner of the bar told us that the manzanero won't be bottling this year's vintage until April.
On a more positive note last year's crop of apples yielded 70,000 bottles, which should be enough to last until our next visit. We'll let you know what it's like.
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