Local Produce and Gastronomy in Mallorca

When package holidays first started in Mallorca in the late 1950’s, restaurantsfocused on “international” cuisine to give visitors “home from home” food. However, in the last decade with the rise of rural tourism and the success of “agroturismo” properties, the focus has shifted to developing more home-grown local produce. In response, restaurant concepts are now celebrating the popularity of Mediterranean gastronomy and have gone back to their Mallorquin roots serving updated traditional dishes with fresh local produce wherever possible.

Mallorca now has over 90 bodegas producing award-winning wine which is becoming recognized at an international level.  The production of local olive oil is another success story, packaging the oil in attractive bottles and containers. This concept has extended to the island’s sea salt, honey, distinctive sobrasada (spicy pork sausage), jams and home-made ice creams.

The island has emerged as a proud champion of its local gastronomy and produce so herewith a round-up of what is in store for gourmets in Mallorca:

Local markets

In Palma the two main covered markets are Santa Catalina and Mercado Olivar (which is the principal market). Both sell fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit with delicatessen counters. Increasingly, there are catering stands where you can enjoy a tapas, sushi and oysters with a glass of wine in the atmosphere of the market. You also have the option of buying your own fish and having it cooked in the restaurant above the Mercado Olivar.

Outside of Palma in all the towns and main villages throughout the island there is a market each day. Some of the most famous include the Sunday markets in Pollensa town and Santa Maria to Sineu’s famous rural market every Wednesday where livestock is also sold. A local farmers’ market takes place every Sunday in Puerto Portals championing local produce. In the north east, in San Llorenc, further to the tragic flooding last year, the town has re-introduced its popular gastro market on Thursday mornings. For information on all the markets go to www.infomallorca.net

Tradition and organic agricultural production

Local production of key Mallorquin products has now established a thriving “artisan” business. For example, Son Moragues is a magnificent country estate in Valldemossa with an ancient olive grove once owned by the historic explorer, Archduke Luis Salvador of Austria. The estate has over 10 thousand ancient olive trees and produces the only premium organic monovarietal Mallorquina olive oil on the market. Son Moragues is regarded as a role model on the island for organic agriculture and even the packaging is done by hand in beautiful hand-blown Gordiola glass bottles which are presented in special olive wood cases. Private visits can be organized by appointment. www.sonmoragues.com

On the outskirts of Soller a visit to Can Det, Mallorca’s oldest producer of olive oil, will give you an insight into how olive oil was originally produced. Can Det still produces olive oil using almost the same methods that were used some 500 years ago with much of the original equipment. To organise a visit, please contact:  www.candet.es

Discover more about traditional production of citrus fruit in the famous Soller Valley with a visit to Ecovinyassa in Fornalutx, which focuses on the ecological production of citrus fruits and grows many different varieties of oranges and lemons. To organise a visit and taste some of the best freshly squeezed orange juice: www.ecovinyassa.com

“Fira del Vi” (wine festival) 11-12th May, Pollensa

This popular fair, which was started in 2004, aims to bring all the bodegas within the Balearic Islands region together in one event to showcase their wines to the public. Held in the wonderful setting of the historic cloisters of Pollensa’s Santo Domingo Convent in the centre of Pollensa Town, it is now regarded as the largest Wine Fair in the region. This year, a total of 36 different wineries will participate and around 2500 visitors are expected to attend: www.viprimitiu.org

Michelin Stars around Mallorca

Gastronomy in Mallorca has come a long way since the tourism boom of the 1970’s and the island now boasts 8 restaurants with a total of 9 Michelin stars:

“Tapear” around Mallorca

From Michelin star tasting menus to tapas restaurants which have bloomed all over the island and specifically in the capital. In Spanish, the verb “tapear” literally means “eat tapas” and is a great Spanish tradition that is equally popular with residents and visitors. In Palma, some 10 plus bars/restaurants have gathered together in the old town to create the “Ruta Martiana”; so called because it is held every Tuesday (“martes” in Spanish hence the name “Martiana”) these bars offer one tapas and a drink at an average price of around 3-4€. Each bar tries to better its neighbour with “house” tapas. Please check out full details on their website in English: www.rutamartiana.com