The cuisine of the Balearic Islands

By | Category: Travel destinations
Ibiza might change its advertising to attarct with its cuisine and not just its beaches, sunshine and bars

Ibiza might change its advertising to attract us with its cuisine and not just its beaches, sunshine and bars

The favourable climate and year round warm temperatures of the Balearic Islands helps deliver that succulence, growth and taste that you would expect as part of a Mediterranean cuisine. But would the food of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca be something you would recognise? Isn’t it just risottos, paellas and rice dishes as you would find on the mainland? Wouldn’t you regard it as just as being Spanish?

As islands, obviously fish and shellfish are year round sources as food. In the Tramutana mountain range luscious olive groves produce juicy, olives full of flavour and the citrus fruit orchards in the Soller valley grow the most aromatic citrus fruit in Europe – or so locals claim.

In Ibiza, the food there is characterised by fresh, local ingredients used in traditional recipes that have been passed on for generations. A typical Ibicenco dish is Guisat de Peix, a fish stew made with fresh fish, tomatoes, beans and potatoes infused with local herbs and spices. Locals are also fond of deserts such as Flao, a soft cheese tart made with spearmint, typically enjoyed after a satisfying meal overlooking the sea. Hierbas Ibicencas is a true representative of Ibizan gastronomy. A digestive liqueur that has been produced on the island for over two hundred years, Hierbas Ibicencas is made with a combination of the extracts and flavours of a variety of plants.

But whilst in Menorca, fish is important and they are very popular and staple to many meals it is Sopes Mallorquines that Menorca is known for along with home grown vegetables. Sopes doesn’t really translate as soup being thicker, more like what we might call a Cawl in Wales or stew elsewhere. Here you should also try Ensaimades, sweet pastries filled with toasted custard or a sweet pumpkin filling, are one of the many gastronomic delights of the island and are eaten for breakfast, as a snack or for desert.

Menorca is from where mayonnaise comes but that is not the limit of their contribution to the cuisine of these islands. Queso de Mahon is one of the typical Menorcan cheeses that has helped to raise the profile of the island amongst cheesemakers and affecionados. Paprika, rubbed on the rind of the cheese gives it a distinctive colour but the cheeses can be soft r quite hard. Just as we have the tradition of a ploughmans, a wedge of queso de Mahon with olive oil and black pepper would not be unusual for locals to eat in the evenings.

Often forgotten as one of the Balearic islands is Formentera, the smallest in the chain. Yes, there is, once again, plenty of fish but Italian influences have melded with the staple Spanish meals to form hybrid dishes as well.

The Balearics are not just a place for year-round sunshine and beaches. Their cuisine is increasingly attracting us as well.

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