El Calderito de la Abuela: sublime zero-kilometre cooking with incredible views!

Mario and Fabián Torres have poured their passion and respect for cooking into this restaurant

The passion that Mario and Fabián Torres have for their cooking can be felt in every corner of El Calderito de la Abuela. “Look how lovely this is, beautiful”, says Mario while inspecting the leaves and flowers he collects from his organic garden at the restaurant.

This is something he does every day and represents one of the secret ingredients that go into making this place so unmistakable: zero-kilometre produce (or perhaps ‘zero-metre’ would be more appropriate in this case) that is both fresh and delicious. Never has the saying “from farm to table” taken on such a literal meaning as it does here.

That piece of land, right next to the restaurant itself (the smaller brother of another larger estate they own in La Orotava from which fruits and vegetables are also harvested daily), is home to a strip of aromatic plants that flood our noses with pleasant smells as we stroll among them: sage, lemon balm, mint, thyme, rosemary, basil… They even have rose bushes, chives and nasturtiums growing there. Mario points out some chard and tells us that “this is an underestimated plant but one we use a lot” as he marvels at its beauty, almost as if this was his first time here in this little garden they have created so as to ensure they only offer the very best to their guests. He goes on to explain that they get anything their own land cannot produce from local businesses as a way to support the circular economy.

In the words of Mario and Fabio themselves, El Calderito de la Abuela is a gastronomic gem where guests enjoy a genuinely flavoursome and entertaining experience from start to finish. It is a restaurant where priority is given to the quality of their ingredients, meticulous preparation and a cosy atmosphere in which visitors can feel right at home. “Bringing people together around a table” could perfectly sum up the philosophy applied here. What’s more, all this comes with postcard-perfect views out over the entire La Orotava Valley.

Premium cured beef, cheese boards, scalded gofio with a rock grouper broth or coriander and red onion mojo sauce are just some of the starters with which to whet your appetite at El Calderito de la Abuela. Huevos al estampido (fried eggs and chips, bashed and crashed with chorizo) is a headliner from among the numerous egg dishes they offer and that deserve an article all of their own. Calamares salvajes fritos a la andaluza (Andalucian-style fried wild squid), puntas de hígado encebollado (Venetian style, sautéed liver slithers with caramelised onion and hand-cut fries) and Carne Fiesta Ibérica (fried spicy marinated ibérico pork with hand-cut fries) are other stand-out dishes that guests can enjoy at this restaurant. The wines on their extensive list offer the perfect accompaniment to the various dishes, especially the Terral 205 that is produced at their own vineyards. The exquisite desserts mean that coming for a meal at this restaurant becomes an unforgettable experience from start to finish.

Traditional bread and desserts

Another of the unique features of El Calderito de la Abuela is that they make their own bread (for which they have created the Mario Bakes brand), ice-creams and desserts in the patisserie on the ground floor. These products are not only enjoyed in the restaurant but also sold to anyone who wants to buy and take them home. They even supply other restaurants.

To list all the different varieties of bread they make would be impossible: rustic German bread; bread with activated charcoal (for a dark and eye-catching black colour); fitness bread made from high-extraction rye flour “in which absolutely everything is used: minerals, fats and vitamins”, says Mario; five-seed bread; sourdough glass bread; Galician bread; traditional French wheat bread made from stone-ground flour; German rye bread, perfect for spreading butter and jam…

What can we say about the desserts? Whoever tries them comes back time and time again for more; and we can easily understand why. For example, their crofins – half muffin, half croissant – with milk caramel and chocolate are absolutely delicious. Their clientèle also go for such creations as the layered pastry apple tarte Tatin with dried pear. Naturally, all of them are made using only the finest French butters. And you can tell.

Mario and Fabián Torres

On one of the walls at El Calderito de la Abuela can be read a saying from Mario Benedetti: “Algunas cosas del pasado desaparecieron pero otras abren una brecha al fututo y son las que quiero rescatar” (“Some things from the past have disappeared, but others open a fissure to the future and are what I want to rescue”). That seems to be exactly what these two restless-spirited brothers have been doing since they embraced cooking from a very young age.

Their father – Mario Torres, chef and oenologist – instilled in them a love for gastronomy ever since he and their mother delighted everyone who came to their Los Corales restaurant back in the day, where everything started. Nowadays, that passion, which they have seasoned with extensive culinary training at top-class restaurants around the world, is not only reflected in El Calderito de la Abuela but also in another two spaces: La Bodeguita de Enfrente and Donde Mario, where they have been joined by their bother Raúl.

Link to the El Calderito de la Abuela website

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