Choosing gifts can often be a stressful aspect. However, when you give food as gift, you can never go wrong. Other than steering away from unwanted or generic gifts, giving food gifts allows your creativity to run free and show someone that you know their characters and likes.
Gone are the days that a box of chocolates would cut it as impressive. so we have compiled a list of Spanish and Mallorcan food and wine-related products, with something suitable for all tastes and budgets.
“The people who give you their food give you their heart.”Cesar Chavez
Without doubt Spain’s premium food product which offers endless possibilities: a whole ham or shoulder (“paletilla”), presented on a stand with its special long, slim knife is a thing of beauty, but – be warned – slicing the meat properly requires skill and a certain amount of expertise. On the other hand, you could ask for your supplier to bone, slice and vacuum-pack it into convenient portions, ready to be enjoyed at any time and certainly easy to transport. Other options include deliciously addictive “lomo” (cured loin), chorizo or salchichón (similar to salami).
The best-known Spanish cheese is Manchego, but there are plenty of others worthwhile sampling, such as Mahon cheese, made from cows’ milk, goat’s cheese from Mallorca or the Garrotxa area of Catalonia, Idiazábal … Cabrales blue cheese, from Asturias in northern Spain, is notoriously pungent and is sometimes served as a paste mixed with cider. Any of the above would make ideal gifts, maybe accompanied by some artisanal quince paste (“membrillo”) or fig jam.
While northern Europe indulges in the spicy flavours of plum puddings, mince pies, gingerbread and stollen, in Spain they favour almond-based delights. Turrón is a delicious nougat which comes in many guises, from the brittle Alicante variety to more child-friendly chocolate tablets. Those by well-known brands, such as El Almendro, are readily available at this time of year, but it is really worth the effort to search out home-made turrón from good confectioners such as La Pajarita or Frasquet, in Palma, who also specialise in candied chestnuts and other seasonal delicacies.
Polvorones and mantecados, small, powdery cakes made with ground almonds, and marzipan, in the form of small lozenges, are also very popular, as well as sugared almonds and pine nuts. Other well-loved Mallorcan and Catalan specialities are “neules”, or cigar-shaped wafers.
Mallorca produces excellent olive oil, and a bottle or can of an extra virgin varietal, such as Arbequina, would make an excellent gift. We hope our post has given you a few inspirational ideas for any occasion.