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A guachinche is a typical Canary Island establishment, more widely spread on the island of Tenerife and to a lesser extent in Gran Canaria, where a locally produced wine is served accompanied by homemade traditional food.
The origins of guachinches lie in the wine-tasting parties that the local wine growers organized at certain dates of the year to sell their products (in particular the famous malvasia wine) directly to the British buyers and later to the local consumers, to avoid having to deal with intermediaries. The guachinches are usually situated next to important wine regions of the Island of Tenerife: especially in the northern municipalities, such as Tacoronte, El Sauzal, Tegueste, La Matanza de Acentejo, La Victoria de Acentejo, Santa Úrsula, La Orotava and Los Realejos. A few of them can also be found in the Güímar Valley (that is in Arafo, Candelaria and Güímar municipalities).
The word "bochinche", mainly used in Gran Canaria, and its variant "guachinche", more typical of Tenerife, is used in the Canary dialect of Spanish to refer to a popular establishment where local wine and typical foods are served. According to the historical-etymological dictionary of Canary dialect, by Marcial Morera, it derived from the Latin American Spanish word "bochinche" (derived from "buche" - "sip, gulp"), which means 'a poor tavern'. The other version claims that the word "guachinche" comes from the English expression "I'm watching you!", apparently used by the British buyers to indicate that they were ready to try the local products and the Canary farmers understood the phrase as "Is there a guachinche?", that is if there was a party nearby (or a stand or shop) set up to taste the wine before finally making the purchase.
Long before the Canary wines received their first Appellation of Origin (this was the region of Tacoronte-Acentejo), the guachinches were mounted in a room or a garage in the family house, where the wife of the winemaker offered some tapas made in the family kitchen to accompany the home-made wine.
The guachinche's clients don't look for an exquisite service or commodities, they value above all the unique local wines and a familiar and traditional cuisine: rich homemade stews, such as chickpeas with smoked meats (garbanzas), rabbit in spicy salmorejo sause, pork ribs with potatoes and corn on the cob, stuffed courgettes (bubangos), potatoes with mojo sause, carne fiesta (fried marinated pork and potatoes), carne de cabra (goat's meat), churros de pescado (local battered fish), etc. For dessert you can taste the baked milk flan or a typical local dessert called bienmesabe, or you can also enjoy the locally grown fruits like mango, bananas, etc. In essence, the guachinches have emerged as an offshoot of wine production activity, and not as proper restaurants or food establishments. For this reason, they have never been regulated and guachinche owners didn't pay any taxes for this activity, although over the time many winemakers and their families became restaurateurs on a professional basis. So with the time along with legal guachinches plenty of clandestine establishments started to appear which served cheap wine from Latin America as their own and actually functioned as restaurants but without the obligations to comply with the fiscal and health requirements applicable to restaurants. In recent years, legal restaurants and bars have complained heavily about the unfair competition from guachinches, since those attracted customers by ridiculously low prices and a wide range of dishes on the menu. So in 2013, the Canary government has issued a decree 83/2013 regulating the guachinche activity as a complementary tourist activity aimed at a preservation of local traditions and the natural rural environment and introducing a number of rules that limit the food and beverages that can be served at a guachinche and define its operating conditions. These rules include, but are not limited to, the following: