Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. ~ Voltaire
If you’re a foodie who is familiar with the island, you’ve probably visited the near-mythic Santa Maria del Camí market on any given Sunday. Since the COVID pandemic, things are not exactly the same, but there is still a more than respectable abridged version of the Sunday market. There is less in the way of vendors, but the ones who are there pack a fairly good punch. The double row of food stalls devoted to all manner of fruit, veg, cheese, meats, breads and other delectables is a scene unto itself and what you find on offer is a delightful harbinger of what each season has to offer.
My family and I live in Santa Maria, and we make a weekly pilgrimage together to choose what we want for Sunday dinner, as well as what looks good for after-school snacks and meals for the better part of the week. We’ve shopped like this for years, even before living on Mallorca, as this way of food shopping is very French as well as Spanish and we lived in France for more than a decade. It’s simply become habit after all these years, and one I’d never want to kick.
Every year, as the sweet summer melons and juicy cucumbers start to give way to pumpkin and pomegranate, I get a little twinge of excitement. You see, autumn is my absolute favourite time of year. The cooler days and cosier nights bring forth in my memory banks the foods that represent this magical time of year.
Add into the mix that I am American, and the season takes on a whole new lustre. The time between Halloween and Christmas is one we hold dear, as not only do we have these two holidays to celebrate, but we also have our hands-down food-filled favourite, Thanksgiving.
So join me, and Affordable Mallorca, on a tour through the autumnal market where we will share with you a taste of all those things you miss from home, as well as give you some ideas on how to prepare them with a Mallorcan twist!
Root vegetables and gourds are the biggies this time of year, as are onions, leeks and garlic. Mid-to late autumn is the best time for cruciferous veg, though it is available starting late September. A mini shopping list should include:
- Sweet potato
- Brussel sprouts
- A variety of wild mushrooms
Juicy and delicate fruits give way to heartier options in autumn here. A few favourites are:
- Winter and spaghetti squash
- Pumpkin (yes, pumpkin and squash are classified as fruit, not veg, by botanists!)
Do the Mallorcan Twist #
You’ll notice the lists of things found here on the island pretty much resembles the same as it would in other parts of Europe and North America. We all have our favourite ways of preparing these autumnal treats, and we should definitely indulge in those, but we at Affordable Mallorca also wanted to offer a few possibilities made with an island flair!
There are a variety of veg based local specialities for the season.
- Mallorquins add spicy chorizo to oven-baked Brussel Sprouts, and top it with an egg fried over-easy. Yum, right?
- Arroz brut, that most versatile of Mallorcan dishes, also gets a makeover in autumn, with this season’s version being filled with mushrooms, meats, peas, onions, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Tumbet is enjoyed year round today, but the origins are based in using harvest favourites like eggplant, onion and potatoes.
- Finally, there is a delicious cabbage souploaded with onions, artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, sobrasada and spices. Enough to warm the belly on even the chilliest evening!
Fruits of the season are magnificent due to their rich colourings and tastes and interesting mix of textures.
- The Mallorcans add sugar-friend pumpkin strands to ensaïmadas in autumn, charmingly calling them “angel’s hair”.
- For slightly more exotic tastes, try apples baked with a sobrasada and white wine filling.
- Pomegranate is often added to a humble chickpea and feta salad to give it a bit of zing!
- Quince is used for making excellent jam and is also baked, like an apple, with cinnamon sugar for a warming autumn dessert.
And in the end… #
This is only a partial listing of all the lovely fresh fruit and veg available on the island right now. Take a bit of time this season and scour the markets for all they have on offer. Try something new, as suggested above, but don’t forget to hone-in on those comfort foods from childhood. That little bit of home can go a long way toward putting a smile on your face and a warm feeling in your belly. Buen provecho!
#eatingseasonallymallorca #eatingseasonally #seasonaleatingspain #foodinseason #vegetablesinspain #foodinseason #foodinseasonmallorca
By Stephanie Horsman
26 October, 2021