Mallorca might not at a first glance be way ‘up there’ on every foodies hit parade however it has some gems that make it a pleasant change from the traditional paella. All credit to the Mallorcan’s, their glorious recipes are full of local produce, handed down through many a proud generation not on paper, but by word of mouth.
A glance at a Mallorcan restaurante’s main dishes may include all or some of the following…..
Pa amb oli - means "bread with oil" and it is just that, the best local brown bread, rubbed with garlic, tomatoes and olive oil and topped with anything from cheese to jamon serrano (the Spanish equivalent of Parma ham); cheese; tuna etc etc. Eaten as a snack or as a meal.
Jamon serrano - the Spanish equivalent of Parma ham.
Frito Mallorquin - allegedly dating back to the 14th century, if you like a bit of offal, strong flavours and want a 100% traditional Mallorcan dish, then look no further than the beloved Frito. Made in the main part with fried offal (either lamb or pig) plus tiny cubed potatoes, diced peppers and fragrant fennel and laurel Frito is the archetypal tapas dish on the island.
Lomo con Col - Pork features considerably in Mallorcan cooking, this time in the form of tasty fillet baked with onions, raisins, pine nuts and tomatoes, novelly wrapped in cabbage leaves and typically served straight from the oven in an earthenware dish. Lomo con col is a must if you enjoy pork at its best.
Tumbet - Ratatouille with a twist, this superb veggie dish consists of layers of aubergine, potato and red bell peppers, lightly fried in olive oil seasoned with parsley and garlic and finished off with slices of fried tomato. Tumbet is seen as a standalone dish but also served as a side with meat or fish.
Arròs Brut - Literally meaning dirty rice, this rice based stew is every bit as nutritious as it is tasty. Make sure you try Arros Brut in a ‘’ proper’’ Mallorcan restaurant as there are different varieties and they vary in their quality… but get a good one and it's DELICIOUS: rice, different meats, mushrooms and a variety of vegetables come together in a wonderful soup. A must try!
Porcella - Here we are with the pork again - Roast suckling pig is Mallorca’s traditional go-to Christmas dinner, but to be honest you will find it in many a good Mallorcan restaurant all year round. A more deliciously tender pork dish you will struggle to find.
Sobrassada - Not everyone's cup of tea, but no one can deny that Sobrassada is as tasty as it is traditional. Sobrassada is a raw, cured sausage made with ground pork, paprika and salt and other spices. It is stuffed inside the pork intestine and served as a cross between a sausage and a pate, either on bread, in sandwiches or on savoury biscuits.
Coca Mallorquina - Everyone's Pradina (Granny) in Mallorca allegedly makes the BEST coca. Coca is a light dough base that can be sweet or savoury but is typically topped with either ‘Tumbet’ or a mixture of tomatoes, onions and red and green peppers spread thinly over a large baking dish and cut into unfeasibly large slices which one expects not to finish but inevitably does. A staple for all family and friend gatherings and one of the most traditional of the Mallorcan snacks.
For those with a sweet tooth you have come to the right island. Mallorca loves an excuse to bake its sweet desserts which are often linked to festivals and local holidays.
Bunyols - my daughter calls them ‘’fried dough’’ - but that makes them sound very unappealing !! They actually are a kind of fried potato pastry, in a small doughnut-like shape, which are usually eaten with hot chocolate or just with sugar, honey or jam. IMHO, eaten best from a paper cone, fresh from the frying pan of a local vendor generously sugared!
Crespells - tasty biscuits of various sizes and shapes; they are eaten throughout the year, but traditionally at Easter, when families and friends gather together to bake them. They are easy to make which makes them a favourite for children to prepare at school and take home for the Easter holiday. Their different fruity taste comes from the secret ingredient of grated lemon peel and orange juice. These scrumptious little morsels are truly a delight.
Coca de Almendra - Almond cake. Wherever you go on the island you will be sure to carry out your own personal survey on the quality of the Almond Cake in the various cafes and restaurants. Add a cafe con leche to a piece of Majorcan almond cake and it´s a little slice of heaven on a plate.
Almonds trees grow in abundance throughout Mallorca, and whilst the beauty of their blossoms delight us in the spring, it is the wonderful nut harvest that is the most magical of all.
This simple, light moist cake, with a grating of lemon zest (or orange ) and dusted with icing sugar is the true flavour of Mallorca and every hungry cyclists dream.