By vida villas | 13 January 2023 | pollensa
Spain’s complex and deep-rooted history has involved many an empire that has woven into the fabric of its culture. From the likes of the Greeks, Romans, Phoenicians, and Arabs, over the course of the country’s timeline, each contributed their own unique influences. Whether spices or sauces, olive cultivation and more, they all played a hand in the unique development of Spain’s now widely acknowledged and appreciated culinary heritage.
The country’s geography and varied climate also bring rise to some of its most valued and appraised produce and ingredients used in its cuisine. With vast stretches of fertile countryside with blissful weather, perfect for farming crops and hosting vineyards, as well as mountainous landscapes offering sub-zero temperatures, ideal for curing.
And from its mainlands to its islands, Spain has developed variation in its regional cuisine also. Whilst many of its core traditions and culinary cultural principles remain the same, its diversity has developed over thousands of years, only adding to the authenticity and beauty of th country’s cuisine as a whole.
And Mallorca, which is Spain’s and the Balearic isles’ largest island, has been one of the most inhabited and widely influenced islands in Spain and the Mediterranean. This has only led to the further development of its own distinctive culinary landscape.
Known in the island’s native tongue as ‘Mallorquin’ cuisine, Mallorca’s foodie scene has been influenced by empires over thousands of years but has developed its own specific tastes and dishes. And so, by combining Moorish, and Muslim gastronomy alongside traditional Spanish and neighbouring Catalan cuisine, amongst other cultures, Mallorcan food is formed.
Whilst there’s much to see and do in Mallorca, the cuisine is not to be missed whilst you’re here. And in such, we at Vida Villas have highlighted some of the best traditional dishes and food in Mallorca for you to sample during your next visit to the island.
A savoury rice casserole known for its rich and meaty flavours, Arroz Bruz is a well-known and established Mallorcan staple dish.
Similar to Coca Mallorquina in the sense that the ingredients used to make this dish change in line with the seasons, It is one of the heartiest Mallorcan dishes that simply warms the heart and soul, making it a firm favourite in the winter months.
Also known as ‘dirty rice’ this Spanish dish resembles a soup and is simply made typically with a meaty broth, vegetables, tomatoes, meat, and, of course, rice. It is often cooked in an earthenware pot and traditionally uses offal and animal blood as its savoury secret to giving the dish its distinct flavour and rich colour.
However, now you’ll find that this isn’t the case and that its flavour is just as well achieved by the addition of tomatoes and saffron. Originally, the recipe came about from farmers after they threw whatever they found in local fields onto the stove, which is why there is such variation in the dish even to this day.
You can find Arroz Brut as a common Spanish delicacy in most Mallorcan restaurants, and it’s very easy to whip up at home should you be looking to sample the taste of Mallorquian cooking from the comforts of your own abode.
At Vida Villas, we have a range of comfortable villas with spacious kitchens where you can easily cook up a storm amongst family and friends during your time away. Or, should you not wish to cook whilst you’re here, you can hire one of our fantastic private chefs to do this for you!
A dish that dates back to the 14th century, Frit Mallorquí is a particularly popular Spanish food that originates from Mallorca.
The Mallorcan food has been known to be traditionally made with offal, such as liver, as well as peppers and potatoes as its staple ingredients. But, you’ll also find variations of the dish using more favoured cuts of meat including pork and lamb.
Fried alongside garlic, olive oil, chilli, pepper, bay leaf, and cinnamon, the products are mixed together to create some of the best cuisine in Mallorca. Admittedly, whilst not the most visually appealing, what Frit Mallorquí lacks in appearance it certainly makes up for in the depth of flavours and harmony in its range of fresh ingredients.
The local cuisine is thought to have Jewish origins, as there are similar dishes that have been documented in Arabic and Jewish-Sephardic cuisine. It now has a number of variations, including the frit mariner,using fresh seafood, the Frito de Matanzas, utilising pork, and the frit de Pascua, which incorporates lamb’s meat.
This varied, hearty, and beautifully simple hash is a perfect example of a deliciously traditional Mallorquin dish which you won’t find difficult to identify on the menus of some of the island’s finest traditional establishments.
Moving on to dessert, and one of the most famous of Mallorca’s varied cuisine, we present to you the Ensaïmada.
This dessert is not like anything else you may have encountered on your travels and is truly unique in both Mallorcan cuisine, and Spanish cuisine as a whole. It’s a pastry dish that is light and flaky, dating back to the 1700s and is a firm favourite amongst tourists and locals alike. You can find it in most bakeries and cafes across the island.
In fact, this Mallorcan food is so important that it has been labelled an IGP, meaning it’s officially recognised as a food product which a specific reputation, characteristic or quality developed in a specific geographic region.
Its texture and beautiful flavour are developed and enriched through its making and baking process, which heavily incorporates lard. The pastry’s dough is rolled to a wafer-thin thickness before being smothered in lard and formed into a long cylindrical shape and wrapped around like a swirl.
Lard is so important to this product that its name is derived from it, with ‘saim’ meaning lard in Spanish. The pastry, after being fermented, is baked at high temperatures. The dish is known and loved across the globe, with variations even recognised in destinations such as South American countries.
Without a doubt, the delectable ensaïmada is not worth missing during your next visit to Mallorca.
The Tumbet, also known as ‘Tombet’, is a traditional food in Spain known for combining cheap and easily sourceable ingredients and quick to prepare.
The Mallorcan dish dates back to the 16th century, and is made typically with peppers, potatoes, tomato, aubergine, olive oil, and garlic which are layered together. This dish truly does the trick when it comes to experiencing the beauty of the simplicity of Mallorcan cuisine.
You’ll find the dish to be plated up at almost all of the local restaurants in Mallorca, in some cases, served alongside meats or fish to accompany this assorted vegetable medley. But, equally, it can be well-enjoyed simply as a vegetarian, or vegan, dish.
Whilst the dish is similar to that of the French’s famed ratatouille, it’s likely that the Spanish created this wholesome culinary masterpiece first, with many of the ingredients, and the preparation method specifically, being more alike to that of Spain’s culinary practices and cuisine.
Tumbet is often consumed as a main, side dish, or even as a tapas, meaning, no matter how hungry you are, there’s always space for trying tumbet during your next visit to Mallorca.
Also known as the Mallorcan version of empanadas, a traditional food in Spain known as a baked or fried pastry filled with meats and vegetables, the panade is Mallorca’s take on this traditional pastry that is equally delicious, if not more!
The panades are formed into cylindrical shapes, with pastry made from lard, and filled traditionally with lamb or sobrasada (a cured pork sausage), onions, and peas. Sometimes, they are also filled with fish and other meats and vegetables. The fish ‘panades’ however are more typical during the period of lent, but you’ll always find that the pastry’s fillings change with the seasons.
The origins of the Panade are somewhat hazy, with no consistent records stating its origins. However, some believe it may have been influenced by Muslims, Christians, or even the Jews.
You’ll find that, during Easter, Panades are a staple on the dinner tables of Mallorcans across the isle. As the dish is traditionally made with lamb, at this time of year residents can make the most of the spring lambs on the island to make a plentiful supply of this savoury treat.
Coca Mallorquina, also known as Coca, is a popular Spanish food that can be found throughout the Catalonia region of Spain bordering the Mediterranean, and on the Balearic islands.
The word ‘Coca’ is derived from the Scandinavian and Germanic word ‘kaka’ translating to ‘cake’. They are seasoned flatbreads, or tarts, that consist of a chewy dough cut into slabs which are typically covered in toppings including vegetables, meats, cheeses, fruits, and nuts, and can be found in sweet and savoury variations.
You’ll likely find Coca in the majority of bakeries and cafes across Mallorca, making it the perfect midday snack to indulge in whilst you’re exploring some of the island’s most captivating destinations. Any combination of toppings can be used and, often, you’ll find local Mallorcan bakeries utilising seasonal produce to make their Coca Mallorquina.
Traditionally, Coca was, and still is, made utilising the remnants of dough cut off from preparing bread, and by adding whatever vegetables were to hand to craft this delicious Spanish delicacy.
The sobrassada is a type of cured sausage that is simply salivated over by residents and visitors alike across Mallorca. The sausage is usually made with pork belly or bacon, pork loin or mince, and seasoning, including paprika to give it its distinct flavour and colour.
Whilst Muslim rule left the tradition of creating cured pork sausage all but a distant memory, the Sobrassada survived to the modern day, and incorporated paprika soon after this was brought to the island during the 1700s and 1800s.
You’ll find the sobrassada being incorporated into almost every type of dish in Mallorca. From being a tapas as it is smushed atop crisp sliced bread, to being added into panadas even, it seems that it’s a well-savoured, and sought Spanish delicacy.
You’ll find the sobrassada in markets and delicatessens across the island but also incorporated in many dishes in restaurants and eateries given its popularity. This is why you can’t miss at least savouring this spicy favourite once during your visit to Mallorca.
From spicy cured sausage to rich and flavoursome stews, Mallorca has given birth to a plethora of delectable dishes and mouth-watering eats that will leave you craving another bite long after you’ve left.
Utilising the best of the local ingredients whilst honouring long-standing Spanish traditions, Mallorcan cuisine is unlike anything on our world map and will give you a new lease and perspective of Spanish cuisine during your next visit.
For those who are tempted by the thought of Mallorca’s local cuisine, here at Vida Villas we offer a range of Mallorcan rental properties placing you in a prime position of some of the best destinations to sample some of the island’s most decadent and delicious foods.
You can contact a member of our team to discuss what options we have available for you to find the perfect villa for your wants and needs.