Gofio is a wholemeal flour made by grinding toasted grains, generally corn. It is quick to prepare, cheap, nutritious and flavorful. It can be eaten at breakfast or during everyday meals as an accompaniment to the main dish. It is an easily digestible food, rich in nutrients, produced by stone-grinding toasted grains. Pure gofio is made from creole corn (criollo). Today the custom of eating this cereal is being lost. It was once very common to eat gofio for breakfast with sugar, on its own or with hot milk. Settlers from the Canary Islands brought the agricultural and gastronomic tradition of gofio to Uruguay. They played an important role in the country’s formation, and evidence of their presence in the Montevideo region dates back many centuries. The founding of the city in 1726 is connected to the arrival of 30 families of Canary Island origin, the first to arrive from the Canaries and Buenos Aires. The colonists from the Canaries contributed greatly to the agricultural development of the country between 1830 and 1880, dedicating themselves primarily to agriculture. The influence of these first colonizers on the agricultural culture was so important that still today the inhabitants of the Canelones department are called Canarios, as by extension are all of the inhabitants of the agricultural regions in the south of the country and the rural population in general. Grains (wheat and corn) soon became the main crop, following the custom of the colonizers originally from Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, whose principal activity had been growing grains. Working collectively for the threshing and collaborating with neighbors, the tradition of ‘compañía’ developed, a kind of collective solidarity between farmers from the same areas. This was how gofio bread production spread in the mid-19th century in the Canelones department, which at the time was the biggest producer of gofio in the country. Gofio is a typical product of the country’s people, particularly of the Canelones department, and its spread paralleled the development of the country itself.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.