I had never been to the Canary Islands, and had only done some light research. The Canary Islands are off the coast of southern Morocco, making them geographically more African than European. However, the people, food and wine make the islands distinctly Spanish. The Canary Islands are known for their forever spring weather, always sunny and 73 degrees. However, we were greeted with rain upon our arrival. Our super-handsome guide, immediately apologized for the bad weather; "it only rains here about 12 days a year." Just our luck!
We were then transported to the Iberostar Grand Hotel Mencey, the first city hotel by the resort chain. I've stayed in Iberostar Hotels before, and though this hotel is not all-inclusive, it screamed luxury. My room was lovely with a spacious balcony overlooking the gardens, pools and surrounding mountaintops. There were even surround sound speakers to connect my iPhone to.
After getting settled, we met Pia from the Tenerife Tourism Bureau for a fantastic lunch at the hotel. I love letting locals order for the table and Pia's choices did not disappoint. She ordered a delicious paella-like dish for the table. I also ordered an organic tomato salad (tomatoes are one of the islands specialties.)
The rain cancelled our afternoon boat ride, so we took a stroll through La Laguna, a historical neighborhood. The neighborhood looked very "island;" bright colored, cement-like houses. In actuality, the houses are made from the island's natural volcanic stone.
The afternoon brought us to the AMAZING Casa del Vino- yes, you read it right, the HOUSE OF WINE- where we had a cooking class with a potato sommelier. Apparently, they exist. Potatoes are also a delicacy of the island and around the holidays the special ones sell for 9 euros a kilo. We broke into teams and learned to make several sauces from fresh ingredients. Casa del Vino is also a museum about the island's fantastic wine, which we drank a plentiful amount of.