Paella cooked over an open air wood-fired stove makes for a perfect seaside lunch
I just flew into Palma de Mallorca to recover from jet lag before heading on my trek to the Christmas markets of France and Germany. This sun-kissed island off the coast of Barcelona is the perfect spot for an off-season siesta, as well as a great place for the gourmet traveler. Mallorca is brimming with wonderful foodie experiences.
Other than terrific wines (many of which never leave the island as they are consumed by Mallorca’s 14 million annual visitors), this little culinary gem is replete with delectable gastronomic pleasures. One of my favorites is its special sea salt. Known as flor de sel (“flower of the sea”), the Mallorca version trumps many of the fleur de sels in neighboring France.
Salts vary from rose-flavored to one with a nuance of curry !
Mallorca’s nearly 200 miles of seashore make for a natural gourmet salt industry, however, up until 15 years ago culinary sea salt was not produced here. A foodie from Germany (who had traveled extensively in France and well knew the value of a delicate finishing salt) saw the opportunity. She teamed up with the island’s Michelin star chef (Marc Frosh) who mixed the salt with different combinations of Mallorca’s wild herbs. The rest is history. Sold in attractive, upscale packaging, these herb-infused flor de sals are exquisite. The brand is Flor de Sal d'es Trenc.
Upscale Mercato de L’Olivar offers an enticing selection of the island’s best products
The Mercato de L’Olivar is a not-to-be-missed experience in the capitol city of Palma. Located a 15 minute walk behind the cathedral (a taxi takes almost as long as it must circumvent the city’s pedestrian center), this up-market foodie’s emporium offers a fascinating array of Mallorca’s freshest food products. There are also plenty of tapas bars and wine bars sprinkled throughout the market, which makes for fun lunch possibilities. Also, because of the island’s cornucopia of fish and seafood, there are several sushi bars. (Open 7am – 2pm, closed Sunday)
I’ve been to Mallorca five times and there are a few experiences that are always on my list for wining and dining. I've listed them below in no particular order:
Although Bar Espana has a dining room, I prefer tapas at their bar
- Bar Espana: Filled with locals, this great-vibe tapas bar is <10 minutes walking from Palmas’s Cathedral. Go early (opens 6:30pm). https://www.facebook.com/barespanyapalma
Breathtaking setting for a glass of bubbly
- Abaco: a drop-dead gorgeous setting near the above tapas bar. Although they serve food in the upstairs dining room, I suggest going only for a glass of Cava in the magnifico downstairs---one of the most stupendous settings I’ve ever laid my eyes on. http://bar-abaco.es
Sa Torre de Santa Eugenia is pure unadulterated magic
- Sa Torre de Santa Eugenia: Located only a 20 minute drive from Palma inland, this is my favorite place on the entire island. The dining room is located in the estate’s old winery, and the chef is one of the best on Mallorca. Better yet, why not stay in one of the hacienda’s gorgeous rooms and simply stroll to and from dinner? https://www.sa-torre.com
Viva Mallorca! Feliz Navidad !