A basic principle can be applied: Wherever locals go to eat, Mallorcan food is usually on offer. For example, try the “Menu del dia“, a daily menu that is offered in many restaurants at lunchtime from around 1 pm. This offer is mainly used by local workers and can be mentioned as an insider tip for getting to know Mallorcan cuisine. Dare to give it a try and rely on the taste of the Mallorcans, who after all must know what is good…
Specialties of Mallorcan Cuisine
Typical dishes of Mallorcan cuisine are, for example, meat dishes with rabbit, lamb, kid or suckling pig, often grilled. These are often accompanied by all kinds of vegetables. Fish in Mallorca is often imported from the mainland. In the coastal regions, however, you can also enjoy freshly caught fish. This is often marked as “pescado fresco” on the menus or in the restaurants. Snails are also a typical dish on Mallorca. In addition to normal snails, the snail-shaped yeast pastry “ensaimada” is particularly popular with islanders and visitors alike. It is often eaten for breakfast or with coffee.
A typical Mallorcan appetiser is “pamboli”, also called “pamb i oli” or “pa amb oli”, which means nothing other than “bread with oil” in Spanish or Catalan. The basis of this simple yet delicious dish is unsalted country bread, which is usually toasted on one side. All recipes agree on the ingredients olive oil and tomato, garlic is almost always mentioned, but there are also variations without the spicy bulb.
As with Italian bruschetta, the trick is to rub the toasted side of the bread with a sliced clove of garlic or tomato and drizzle with olive oil. You can put anything on top of this: ham, cheese, diced tomatoes, other vegetables, pickles, olives, capers or fish – in fact, there are no limits to your imagination and creativity. Just try it out for yourself or – if you order pamboli as an appetiser in a Mallorcan restaurant – let yourself be surprised.
Small bites of pickled or grilled ingredients, so-called tapas, may not be typically Mallorcan, but most restaurants can no longer be imagined without them and they are a delicious snack to accompany a drink or as an appetiser.
Empanadas Mallorquinas are the yeast dough pastries known throughout the Spanish-speaking world, available with savoury and sweet fillings. In Mallorca, they were originally a speciality at Easter time. On the Balearic island, they are often offered in a round shape with an elaborate edge, similar to the pie in English-speaking countries. In addition, original Mallorcan empanadas do not use yeast in the dough. Today, empanadas are also often found on Mallorca as dough pockets made of dough circles or squares and pressed together at the edge with fingers or a fork. There are no limits to the imagination when it comes to the filling, from vegetables or mushrooms to different meat and sausage fillings and seafood, everything can be found here. Brushed with egg yolk, the empanadas are baked in the oven.
Pa de Figa
The fig bread Pa de Figa has a confusing name for German ears, as it has nothing to do with bread apart from the outer shape. Pa de Figa is a small snack kneaded from dried figs, ground aniseed and a dash of aniseed liqueur. The “fig bread” is dried in the sun and wind, often served on a fig leaf and served with coffee or eaten with a glass of aniseed liqueur “hierbas”.
Sobrasada de Mallorca
Sobrasada, or correctly in Catalan Sobrassada de Mallorca, is a Mallorcan spreadable sausage speciality. It is made from raw minced pork and pork fat, mixed with plenty of paprika powder, salt and other spices. This sausage meat is filled into casings and matured in drying chambers at 16 to 18 degrees and relatively high humidity of 70 to 85 percent. Lactic acid fermentation makes the sausage durable and, together with the dominant paprika spice, gives it its typical aromatic taste.
For some people it takes some getting used to, for others it is unbeatably tasty and also easily digestible. Sobrassada is one of the Mallorcan specialities that provokes very contradictory reactions among tourists. Locals, on the other hand, unless they are vegetarians, agree: without this sausage speciality, Mallorcan cuisine would only be half as interesting.
The Mallorcan vegetable casserole tumbet is cooked with aubergines, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes, sometimes also courgette, but in any case garlic. Sometimes unpeeled garlic and tomato are simmered slowly to make a thick sauce. This is poured over the briefly steamed vegetables in a casserole dish and everything is braised briefly in the oven at a not too high temperature. To bring the vegetable flavour to the fore, tumbet is usually only seasoned with salt and pepper. Tumbet is eaten on Mallorca as a light summer dish as a main course, preferably with the good, unsalted Mallorcan country bread. It can also be served cold as a starter or as a side dish with fish, meat or eggs.
Hierbas de Mallorca
After the meal, one enjoys a typical herbal schnapps from Mallorca called “Hierbas”, which is aniseed-based.
The aniseed liqueur hierbas, or herbes in Catalan, is a very traditional drink of the Balearic island. By adding different herbs, some of which are also used in medicine, there is an almost infinite variety of flavours at different distilleries. The three basic varieties differ in sugar and alcohol content:
Hierbas de Mallorca dulces (Herbes de Mallorca dolces): This is the sweet hierbas with a high sugar content and an alcohol content of 20 percent or more. The dulces is popular with tourists, especially Germans, especially women.
Hierbas de Mallorca mezcladas (Herbes de Mallorca mesclades): This is the semi-dry Hierbas with less sugar and an alcohol content from 25 percent. This variety is considered the real classic among the hierbas.
Hierbas de Mallorca secas (Herbes de Mallorca seques): This is the dry hierbas with a low sugar content and an alcohol content from 40 percent. The secas is considered the Mallorcan aperitif for gourmets.
If you are spontaneous and just try it once, you can experience many positive culinary surprises. However, many travel guides or websites also help in choosing a suitable restaurant.