Whether it is liqueur made from the local herb, a wine, oil or a delicacy all products contain an essence of the island.
No other product is more typical to Mallorca than the ensaimada. Its origin is much disputed. Some think that it was the Arabs who introduced the ensaimada in the year 909, hence its turban shape. Others believe that it derived from the ‘bulema’, a very similar roll that the Jews used to make in the past. This sweet, spiral-shaped pastry comes in different types, ranging from the traditional one, made with just the dough, to those filled with cabello de ángel (pumpkin jam) or custard cream.
It is sold all over the island, but fewer than 50 bakeries produce the authentic ‘Ensaïmada de Mallorca’ the one with the Denominación de Origen, the brand that guarantee for the quality of its ingredients and production. For breakfast, as a snack or a dessert, ensaimada is a delicious treat.
This exquisite product is one of the islands’ most famous sausages. It is still made all over the islands and nowadays is registered under the Mallorcan Sobrassada geographical denomination. Sobrassada is made with lean and fatty cuts of pork and its characteristic colour comes from the paprika used in making it, which is mixed with salt, pepper and the ground meat. Once ready, it is stuffed into natural intestinal casing to be cured and fermented, as the initial humidity is lost. The curing time required is one month on average, but varies according to the size of the piece. A second denomination of origin exists to differentiate sobrassada made from the island’s black pork
The majority of the dried apricots of Mallorca are produced inthe village of Porreres and exported all over the world. Porrera’s apricots are dried out in an artisanal manner under the Mediterranean sunshine of June and July and acquire properties that make them unique to the senses. Together with the traditional dried apricot production, a pioneer firm is currently bringing out new products, such as dried apricots in chocolate, apricot turrón or slices for salads. In June, Porreres celebrates the new apricot crop with a triple competition that includes jam tasting, a culinary fair and an ice cream-making contest all featuring this fruit. A good enough reason not to skip this Mallorcan town.
The almond tree is one of the most characteristic trees of Mallorca’s landscape, and Mallorcan almonds are considered the finest in the world. Historically almonds became popular in Mallorca in the 18th century, the tree was probably brought to Mallorca by the Romans. Almonds are nowadays one of Mallorca’s main crops. Mallorcan almond nut is highly prized by chefs for both savoury and sweet dishes as they are particularly sweet and have a high percentage of oil – sometimes reaching 60% -compared to almonds from other countries.
Their low water content makes them a great source of nutrients with high energy and protein levels, and a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. Popular Mallorcan Almond dishes include the Christmas delicacy of Turrón, Amargos (almond pastry), Gató (almond sponge cake), ice cream, marzipan, almond milk, biscuits and a typical almond liqueur Flor de Ametla. Traditional cooked dishes range from almond soup to rabbit, chicken & fish cooked in almonds. Almond products packaged in Mallorca are sold under the brand name, “Ametla de Mallorca”.
Nowadays, even beauty products made with almond ingredients that can be found in perfumeries throughout Spain.
Mallorca most traditional liqueurs have their origin in the medicinal concoctions which the apothecaries used to prepare in the 16th Century to fight against epidemics. Two of these are hierbas (herbs) and palo, which have a Denomination of Origin guarantee.The Majorcan ‘hierbas’ are made from a base of different herbs, which include more than 30 different kinds.
Fennel, rosemary, leaves of the orange and lemon tree, camomile and lemon balm are left to macerate during several months and the resulting concentrate is mixed, in small portions, with sweet anise, in order to produce the herbes dolces (sweet), and with dry anise for herbes seques (dry), with a higher alcohol content. Traditionally, these herbes are regarded as digestive and are drunk after eating. They can be drunk cold, with ice, or natural.
They are also delicious accompanied with orange or lemonade, although this is not very common on the islands. Palo was originally made using two plants, quinacalisaia (cinchona) and genciana (gentian) alcohol and sugar. This changed over the years though, and today burnt sugar is the secret of this liqueur. According to the connoisseurs, all palos are made with the same basic ingredients, but no two taste the same. Unlike hierbas, palo is drunk as an aperitif before meals. It can be drunk neat, with ice, or with soda, the most popular way on the islands.
There are several factories on Majorca that produce these liqueurs according to the local tradition handed down from their ancestors.