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What to eat in the Balearic Islands?

   The Balearic Islands allows the tourist to find restaurants in every corner where they can try international cuisine, but it is more difficult to find good restaurants where you can try the excellent dishes from the Balearic Island gastronomy (Cadereta de langosta - Lobster stew, parrillades de pescado fresco - grilled fresh fish, ‘panandes’, cocarrois’ and ‘cocques’ - typical Majorcan pies, ‘frit Mallorquí’ - fried meat, vegetables and herbs’, ‘frit mariner’ - fried seafood, vegetables and herbs, Soller eggs, longosta a la ibicenca - Ibizan style lobster, perdices a la menorquina - Minorcan style partridges, Sopas mallorquinas - Majorcan soup, etc). To do so we recommend consulting gastronomy guides and restaurants recommended in tourist guides. As is well known, the islands are rich and highly valued for their gastronomy, but because of the traditional methods used in their production, they are very difficult to obtain due to their hardly being commercialised.

    The Balearic cuisine is varied, laborious, opulent, Mediterranean, original and exquisite. With its evident peculiarities, the Balearic gastronomy is a reflection of traditional Mediterranean cuisine and is respected for its hard to achieve succulence. Pork is the basis for a large part of the dishes, as well as the succulent ‘sobrassada’ made from raw meat minced and cured with spices that serves as a food reserve in all the houses on the island.

   On islands such as Minorca, there are three strong points in its gastronomy: the quality of the fish and the lobsters, Fornells, the cheese (high quality and recognised nationally for its tradition in the dairy industry. This cheese is made from cows’ milk and has rounded edges and corners from the cloth which is used to press the cheese and to extract the whey during the production) and gin (Minorcan gin is different from London gin in that it is manufactured from a base of eau-de-vie which comes from the Mediterranean grape and not from a cereal, the liquid is distilled in old copper vats, later the eau-de-vie is aged in oak barrels cured with gin so that the gin does not become coloured by the wood. The gin is present in the daily life of the island, being drunk on its own or in a mixture of our own invention: the ‘pomada’ which comes from mixing gin and lemonade), other notable spirits are ‘palo’, gin, and dry and sweet ‘hierbas’ without forgetting ‘frígola’.

   The truly exquisite part of the island gastronomy is the fish and shellfish. The caldereta de langosta (Lobster stew) is excellent because in this area of the Mediterranean the lobsters, which would please the finest palette, are fished. The ‘cap roig’ (scorpion fish) from these waters done simply on the hot plate, is delicious. Something very peculiar are the ‘jonquillo’ croquettes, something which is extremely difficult to get outside these islands because they are considered to be endemic to the Balearic islands. (‘Jonquillo is a species of whitebait.)

   If we start by washing down the food with an excellent red wine from Felanitx or Binissalem (The Ferrer and Ribas ones have the official denomination and are extremely high quality), we begin to taste an excellent meal. From among the most classic gastronomic dishes, noteworthy is the ‘Sopas Mallorquinas (Majorcan soup), an excellent dish of meat and a variety of vegetables which change according to the season of the year. When it comes to meat, we must make mention of another first course called ‘escaldums’ which is made from a base of duck or turkey casserole with potatoes and almonds seasoned with an aromatic herb sauce, cooked over a slow heat in a clay dish. We could also eat ‘poreclla rostida’ (roast pork) which is roast in the oven for hours at a very low temperature.

   Another characteristic dish is ‘tumbet’ a dish prepared from fried aubergines, potatoes and peppers in a tomato sauce. And ‘frit mallorquí’ with vegetables and giblets. It is easy to choose a vegetarian menu from the mountains of artichokes, aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, cabbages and the rest of the local vegetables. But the simplest dish is, perhaps, the most often eaten. It is ‘pa amb oli’ (bread with oil) which consists of a few slices of local bread accompanied by virgin olive oil and with a fine coat of local tomatoes scraped onto the bread, a regional speciality. Almost anything can be placed on top of the bread although the most common are cheese, local sausages, or ‘serrano’ cured ham always accompanied by the bitter ‘trencades’ olives.

   Ensaimades, one of the many gastronomic delights of the island, are also their most famous dessert, just right to round off a good meal (They are made of a sweet pastry made from flour and lard filled with a sweet pumpkin filling or toasted custard), but we must also mention the almond gateau served with ice-cream, ‘flaó’, ‘rubiols’ (filled with cottage cheese or jam), apricot ‘coca’ (cake) or ‘orejon’ cake which are served with ice-cream. Almond ice cream is also a Majorcan speciality among many others. On finishing your meal, apart from enjoying the peace and quiet you can also enjoy the beauty of eating overlooking the sea.





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