Gourmet Walking Holiday: Olives & Fiestas

Gourmet holiday mallorca hikingA perfect opportunity to shake off the Winter blues and treat yourself to a gourmet adventure through the Olive groves and fiestas of Mallorca…

January is a very busy month in Mallorca with the Olive harvests and Fiestas.  Every year at this time, we offer a week’s magical Mallorcan experience that combines an insight into the local production of olives and olive oil, and 2 of the island’s favourite “fiestas”, San Antonio (17th January) and San Sebastian (20th January). These fiestas are enthusiastically celebrated with music and street antics, bonfires and barbecues, fireworks and processions…. This is a fantastic time to be on the island, as these exuberant celebrations involve ancient and very traditional customs (as well as a lot of fun!), and we see the island in a very special light…

The location is the north west of the island around the beautiful area of Fornalutx. Just outside Sóller, Fornalutx  is one of the prettiest villages on the island. It has a small central square, and narrow cobbled streets full of character and charm – it has even won awards for Mallorca’s “best kept” village. It is within easy walking distance of central Sóller, and also has a few cafes and restaurants of its own, a bank, post office and other essentials.

The village is surrounded by majestic mountain peaks and is a truly spectacular location for a walking holiday.

The History of Olive Oil production in Mallorca

It is said that olive trees (Olea europaea) were first introduced by the Phoenicians and Greeks to the Spanish mainland, and from there they eventually reached Mallorca. After the re-conquest of the island in 1229 by Jaime I, olive oil was exported from Mallorca to Northern Africa together with other agricultural products. For centuries, olive oil played a key role in the island’s economy, both as a basic ingredient in the natives’ diet and as a product for trading and exportation. Olive oil became Mallorca’s leading export product during the first half of the 19th century, accounting for up to 80% of the island’s total exports in monetary terms. Mallorca’s olive oil achieved recognition outside the island in the late 19th century, when the second prize at a gastronomic award for quality oils held in Catalunya went to a Mallorcan oil produced by one of the local olive mills.

Walking Itinerary

You start your holiday with an opportunity to participate in something really special – the traditional Mallorcan methods of olive oil production. After breakfast on your first day, we walk to the neighbouring village of Biniaraix, where we visit the 600 year old olive farm of Ca’n Det. Here we pick our own olives and then take them to the local 15thC press. While our olives are being processed, we enjoy a deliciously typical Mallorcan lunch of Pamb Oli (featuring plenty of olive oil, of course!) before collecting our own individually labelled bottles of oil made from the olives we picked earlier!

In the afternoon, we walk back to your hotel via some of the pretty villages in the area, before getting ready for a gastronomic evening in Palma (30 minutes by car). Michelin star chef, Marc Fosh and his team, will demonstrate the art of Cooking with Olive Oil… to include recipes such as chocolate olive oil mousse! We get to sample and enjoy all their delicious and creative dishes, while sipping some Mallorcan wine to accompany them… This is a real treat!

The next day, after a leisurely start, we set off from your hotel on today’s walk – a one and half hour walk downhill through some of the most ancient and spectacular olive trees in the valley. We lunch with Maria and Guillermo at their 17th century farmhouse, Balitx d’Avall. The menu will be either roast home-grown goat, or another Mallorquin speciality, rabbit with onions. We have time to relax or explore their 13thC tower, the chapel, the ancient olive press and Guillermo’s eccentric art collection before walking back to Fornalutx and your hotel.

Whichever day of the week the fiestas fall on, the eve of the fiesta of San Antonio (the patron saint of animals) sees the start of the celebrations. A huge fire and barbecue is set up in the main square of Soller, where we barbecue local sausages, sobrasada and other meats, accompanied by the music of the Ximbomba!

The next day after breakfast we walk into Soller, where the town celebrates the fiesta of San Antonio with a charming ceremony of blessing the local animals. From here, we set off on our walk down to the port of Soller and the Muleta lighthouse and then on to Deia, a delightfully pretty village further along the coast – see W-NW11 for more details.

During the course of your week’s holiday, we do another excellent walk in the Sóller area (see W-NW12), and then we go a bit further afield to visit one of the island’s most historic sites – the ruined Castle of Alaro, from where we experience some of the island’s history, and get sweeping views of Palma and much of the rest of the island (see W-NW03). We also visit Valldemossa and walk the so-called “Archduke’s Bridleway” – a classic Mallorcan hike and an insight into one of the island’s historical figures W-NW10. On each walking day we have a picnic lunch at one of our special picnic spots along the way.

The 20th January is the fiesta of San Sebastian, which is celebrated with spectacular fireworks in Palma. This is well worth a visit and a good opportunity for a stroll around the beautiful old town of Palma as well.

Hotel

Your base for this holiday is a delightful, 8-bedroom hotel in the centre of Fornalutx (see Ref. A-NW04 for details). You are very well looked after by your extremely hospitable hosts – their breakfasts are legendary and so are their evening meals.

The hotel is centrally heated and at this time of year there is always a fire roaring in the grate of the sitting room. This is a warm, friendly, cosy and exceptionally welcoming place to stay.

The price

If you would like to use this itinerary as the basis for a tailor-made walking holiday for you and your party, please contact us. The price will depend on the number of people in your party, how long you stay and other factors.

If you’d like to join one of our small group holidays, then please see the holiday itinerary on our website to check the price and the next dates scheduled (at the bottom of the page).

Please note that this is a popular walking holiday, and as our tour groups are small (8-10 people) it fills very quickly. We recommend you book early.

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