“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Being an island, Mallorca for centuries has had the benefit of incorporating the best of the best that visitors and immigrants had to offer, as well as refining local traditions and customs. This goes for everything from arts and crafts to architecture to wine making. But one of the most special things Mallorca has is a scrumptious menu of foods choices either found only here, or are recipes from elsewhere, but with a Mallorquin twist. Here are some of the best, and best-known!
Let’s Start with Sweet… #
As someone with an incurable sweet tooth, as well as someone who has been known to have dessert before the main meal (wouldn’t want to be too full, now would we?), I appreciate postres and pastries. Mallorca has some delectable desserts native to the island that will tempt even the strictest dieter. Here are a few favs!
- Ensaimada- This spiral-shaped pastry covered in icing sugar is a local favourite and a customary choice for breakfast. You often see people carrying boxes containing this yummy treat when leaving the island, though it is said that attempts to recreate it off-island are not successful as the sea air is thought to aid in making the dough rise.
- Turrón- Made with local almonds, of which the island has an abundance, this chewy nougat is delicious with coffee or as a snack. This is THE gift for Semana Santa (“Easter Week”).
- Puding- No, that is not a misspelling. It IS a sort of crème caramel popular as a dessert.
Greixonera de Brossat- Last but not least, this creamy, rich dessert is a local cheesecake can’t be missed.
And Now for Savoury #
Options for fantastic local dishes are abundant on the savory front. And unlike some parts of the mainland, where meat is king, Mallorca has as much to offer the vegetarian, as the carnivore.
Cocarroi- Empanadas in general are typical for a quick snack or lunch on the island, but the cocarrois is pure Mallorca. With a stand out half-moon shape, these pastries are a vegetarian’s delight, filled with cabbage, potato, onion or cauliflower and often mixed with peppers and pine nuts.
Panades- The meat filled cousin to the cocarroi, these are particularly popular around Easter when they are stuffed with lamb, but they can be found with a variety of fillings, including vegetable, fish or sobrasada. Round in shape, the yeastless dough crust is almost as delicious as the fillings.
- Tumbet - Another vegetarian dish is tumbet. Similar to ratatouille, this simple and tasty dish is served all over the island as both a side and a main. Tomato, courgette, eggplant and onion are the primary ingredients but many people have their own versions that include peppers or potatoes.
- Fideuá- This paella dish is typical of Mallorca but is actually an import from Valencia. Made with noodles, rather than rice, is a fun twist on a classic dish.
- Arrós Brut- Rice cooked to perfection in a hearty broth, with meat, veg and spices, this dish is named as it is because of the darker colour the rice acquires from the broth. Arrós Brut is Mallorquin for “dirty rice”.
Sobrasada- The Iberian Peninsula is renowned for its charcuterie and cured sausages, but sobrasada is muyMallorcan. Creamier than other cured sausages, this pork-based treat is spread on bread or eaten on its own as a snack or tapas.
Frito Mallorquin- Not for everyone, this local dish contains offal. But if you can get past the thought of that, it is one to try. Dating back to the 14th or 15th century, it is one of the oldest recipes from the island, and also one of the most delicious.
Suckling Pig - OK, this one may not seem like it should be on this list, but Mallorca is home to a special breed of pig with a to-die-for flavour and tenderness. Mallorquins usually eat this for holidays and special occasions but many restaurants on the island serve it regularly.
This list could go on but these are the high points. The next time you go out on the island, make a point of giving these local delicacies and treats a try. You won’t regret it!
By Stephanie Horsman
27 October, 2023