Mushroom picking in Mallorca

Collecting mushrooms

Collecting mushrooms

One of the many things that we love about Mallorca is the island’s dedication to its traditions of foraging for local wild produce, such as mushrooms, asparagus and the like. When we’re out walking in the mountains at this time of year, we meet any number of Mallorcan families enthusiastically searching for setas, all equipped with their traditional wicker baskets to collect their mouth-watering harvest.

The Mallorcan mushroom season is usually late October to November, depending on the weather. The rains usually arrive in late August, but if like this year they’re late, the season tends to be a bit later.

 

Mushrooms or Setas in Mallorca

Mushroom varieties in Mallorca

Mushrooms are quite varied in Spain, with some very big varieties growing in the forest areas. Our weather is good for mushrooms – hot summers, high humidity and autumn rains all contribute to conditions that allow them to thrive.  Ceps, or porcini (in Spanish rovellos) are quite common, as are Chanterelles. Niscalos or lactarius deliciosus are also prolific, and are used in many of the local dishes. But here in Mallorca the real pick of the crop is the Esclata-sangs (Lactarius Sanguifluus – Bleeding Milk Cap) a large flat fleshy mushroom, which bursts with flavour when cooked…!

This island is not shy about promoting its local produce, and every year on the last weekend of November, the tiny Mallorcan village of Mancor del Vall comes alive with the Fira de l’esclata-sang i de la Muntanya. This delightful little place lies in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains and this autumn fair is one of its annual highlights.

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

This wonderful fair aims to show and preserve traditional mountain activities and island traditions, but the main attraction is their prized mushrooms, which are showcased over the weekend in a variety of dishes offered by local bars and restaurants. You can snack on mushrooms on toast, freshly made at one of the many stalls, or visit one of the cafes or restaurants to try one of the many specially prepared dishes featuring these delicious mushrooms.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about the varieties of mushrooms you can find here (particularly the edible variety!), there is an excellent online catalogue published by the University of the Balearic Islands in conjunction with the Balearic Natural History Museum.

And then, why not “go local” and join Mallorca Hiking for a guided mushroom foraging walk. Our expert guides will take you to the best areas, talk you through the various species and keep you safe by making sure you don’t pick the wrong ones!  If you’d like to book a walk just for you and your family and friends, we’ll organise a tailor-made day out just for you… you can then go home and cook a delicious meal with what you’ve picked!

Do contact us for more information – we’ll be happy to help…

 

Highlights of modern art and architecture in Palma

You may or may not know that Palma is an absolute treat for contemporary art lovers – there are Joan Miró sculptures everywhere especially around the Cathedral in Parc de la Mar. In fact Joan Miro and Mallorca are inextricably connected (his mother and his wife were from the island, and Miro lived and worked here for 40 years), and many examples of his work are on display in the galleries. Es Baluard, the contemporary art gallery has an excellent collection, as does Palau March in the heart of historic Palma, where you can see works by Picasso, Miró and Dalí all in one room! This museum has one of the best collections of contemporary Spanish art you’ll find outside Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia…

Few people realize that there is a wealth of culture and history waiting to be discovered in Mallorca’s capital and this season we’ll be doing just that – discovering some of the cultural delights on our doorstep – on foot, of course!

see more details of the tour:

http://blog.mallorcahiking.com/en/p147/palma-excursion-art-architecture.html

and the dates we’ve scheduled the tour for:

http://blog.mallorcahiking.com/en/c3/walking-calendar-mallorca-majorca.html

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (Part 1)

When we go for a hike we need to eat the appropriate type and amount of food, due to the intensive physical exercise. Drinking is even more important especially if we are not used to the climate and to the type of terrain. Therefore, we must plan carefully our food and drink intake before, during and after the hike.

Mallorca’s hikes can be quite challenging, especially in terms of temperature and slope, as the mountain paths are often steep and with a limited amount of shadow. Temperatures at noon can go over 25ºC already in March-April, and until the end of October. From June to August temperatures can pass the 30ºC threshold, even reach 35ºC or more in extremely hot days. Many routes should be avoided when temperatures are so high up, while other routes (more shadowy and with sea access) can become a perfect option to enjoy an outdoor hot day.

Mallorca hiking food

Eating local food while enjoying the fantastic views

This article (divided into 2 blog posts) will try to introduce you to the typical Mallorcan food that can complement your hikes, while resuming the health benefits they have to offer. Since we are focusing on food that can be eaten during a hike, it must be raw food or previously elaborated food. Notice that Mallorca Hiking offers you the possibility to tailor made your activity and include local food, which we will select and bring in order to make your day even more special.

 

Fruit is a source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), vegetable soluble fiber, water (fruit provides fast body hydration), and it helps the digestive system and the drainage of liquids. The typical seasonal fruits produced in Mallorca are tangerines (November-March), oranges (November-April), lemons (November-May), grapefruits (December-April), strawberries (February-May), loquats (April-May), cherries (May-July), apricots (May-August), peaches (May-September), nectarines (May-September), plums (June-August), watermelons (June-August), melons (June-September), figs (July-September), pears (July-November), apples (August-January), pomegranates (September-November), grapes (September-December) and kakis (October-December). The sunny Mediterranean climate combined with the traditional tree varieties and low air and soil pollution; provide the perfect environment to grow very tasty and juicy fruit. However, you need to know where to get it, preferably from smaller shops or directly from countryside producers.

 

Local and abundant nut

The healthy energetic snack to bring on excursions

Almonds are the main nuts produced in Mallorca, since the cultivation of almond trees became a main economic rural activity during the late XIXth century, after an epidemic stage in the grapevine that led to the end of the traditional wine producing sector. Therefore, it is usual to see almond trees during your hike, as they have been planted almost everywhere on the island. Almonds are rich in vegetable oils, meaning that they provide a great caloric kick to our body. Moreover, they contain proteins, vitamins (B and E groups especially), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc) and fiber. They are a great healthy snack (not salted), helping us to gain some energy to continue doing some body activity. And they are so delicious!!

The natural salty snack

Olives are very appreciated both for macerating and for pressing to get oil

One of the oldest symbols of peace and goodness is the olive tree which grows delicious olives. In Spain it is said that “the one who grows olives lives a long time thanks their nutritional properties”. They are not a great source of calories, though they have high quantities essential oils (omega 3 and omega 6) which are beneficial to our body. Moreover, they are a source of vitamins A and C, minerals such as iron and sodium, and fiber. Olives are easily assimilated by the body, being a perfect and tasty snack. Since they have been previously macerated, they are normally salty which means we should not eat lots of them while we are hiking. You can also bring a jar of the flavourful Majorcan olive pâté to spread on a bread slice or cookie.

Next week we will intrduce you to more elaborated Majorcan food that is also suitable to bring for a walk in the nature.

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (part two)

jamon serrano

In our last blog post we where talking about what to bring when you go for a walk and giving suggestions and tips on delicious local food and products. Here comes the continuation on the same topic.

Pa amb oli” is the way local people from Mallorca call a slice of bread with tomatoes, olive oil and salt. This is the local sandwich base, which can be topped with other food or eaten directly as the 4 ingredients are already very tasteful. The best thing to do while hiking is to prepare it during one of our stops: cut some bread slices with a foldable knife, cut some tomato slices (the tomato should be a big one!) and then add virgin olive oil (local gold) and salt. A fresh “pa amb oli” is something that all locals go mad about!!

Dry cured cuts of meat are among the best toppings to a “pa amb oli”. Typical dry cured meat from Mallorca is made of pork meat, salt and spices. The most popular types that are eaten without cooking are sobrassada (orange soft paste that can be directly spread on a bread slice or bread cookie), paté (orange soft paste made of pork libber that can also be spread on a bread slice or bread cookie) and camaiot (grey and white color, cut in slices). These are the fatty and “unhealthy” part of the meal, but in small quantities they are just delicious if you like meat. It is common to also complement the “pa amb oli” with other Spanish dry cured cuts of meat such as Jamón Serrano, fuet, chorizo, salchichón… We recommend you to buy from small producers in order to maximize quality and authenticity. Majorcan cheese

There are many cheese producers in Mallorca, bringing lots of different products to the market. Cow and sheep cheeses are the most usual, though there are some excellent goat cheeses as well. Native red sheep are farmed to produce excellent and original flavors. There are ecologic producers who use traditional methods and reach excellent results (normally a bit more expensive than bigger producers). Curing and aging processes directly affect consistence, texture and taste of each cheese. We do not recommend bringing fresh cheese when hiking unless you bring a well functioning/long lasting cold bag. Cheese is a source of animal fat, protein, vitamins from group A, B and D, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus (great for our bones). It must be eaten moderately, but when you are hiking it is always nice to cut some slices with your foldable knife and enjoy its fantastic flavors, alone or combined with a “pa amb oli”.

 

Bakery products from Mallorca, both salty and sweet, normally contain pork fat. They are not healthy products eaten on a regular basis but it can be interesting to bring some of them ‘cause they are delicious and provide a caloric boost that can be needed when you have a long way to walk. “Coques” (sort of cold pizzas with only vegetables on it) with paprika, onion, tomatoes or parsley are crunchy and oily. “Panades” are round pasties filled with cooked lamb meat or bacon, onion and peas. “Cocarrois” are long pasties filled with cooked vegetables, including raisins. These pasties use to be typical Easter food, but nowadays they are baked the whole year around; they are very convenient to bring to an excursion because they last more than other bakery products. If you like sweet stuff (or you are longing for a sugar kick), then you must bring some ensaïmada, a round spiral inflated dough powdered with sugar, sometimes filled with sweetened apricots or other ingredients (cream, chocolate, etc.). There are other typical sweet baked products like “coca de patata”, “bunyols”, “crespells” and “robiols”, but easy on the sugar and fat.

panades

In terms of drinking, we always recommend to drink mineral water (preferably from Mallorcan springs). Freshly squeezed natural orange juice can be sometimes acquired in some hikes as there are some rural houses which prepare them for you in the very moment.

Finally, we sometimes like to bring some local red wine to do a small toast and savor this traditional beverage during our lunch break. But the wine culture in Mallorca is interesting and rich enough to write another blog-post…

A different hiking concept

Mallorca Hiking has started collaborating with Mallorca Rural Experience, an enterprise from Artà that has launched a very interesting and different hiking concept.

Mallorca Rural Experience is a 4 hours guided activity (in English) that features several key elements:

Local food and wine

Picnic on top of the lookout

  • The circular route runs inside a private farm, which means that you don’t find other hikers than those who come with your group.
  • The path has got a great part of shade thanks to the majestic Holm oak forests, a distinctive characteristic of the farm considering its location next to the deforested Natural Park of Llevant and surrounding mountains.
  • A very original sensorial circuit lets you discover new sensations and definitely brings our body and mind to a new status, ideal to immerse yourself into a true natural experience.
  • Several human heritage remains (lime kilns, charcoal platforms…) have been restored in order to let you learn more about the rural traditions of Mallorca.
  • The path features an ascension to a marvelous lookout on top of a mountain, from which you are able to enjoy fantastic views over the East part of the island.
  • A delicious picnic consisting in local food and wine is enjoyed under the pines on top of the mountain, a very pleasant moment for the whole group.
  • Organic agriculture is nowadays carried out in the farm. During the walk we can see and learn about sheep ranching, fruit trees, almond trees, vegetables and a lot more.
  • The itinerary is not particularly hard and the paths are well kept, which means that the excursion is suitable for all ages, particularly interesting for children because there are dynamic activities and animals.
Alternative hikes

Sensorial circuit

The relaxing environment of this walk is impressive, as the farm is located in a protected area far from villages and crowds. During the excursion you might only hear sheep bleats, singing birds, moving treetops and your own footsteps. You can achieve a very special mood while trying the peculiar sensorial circuit, barefoot and blind over different materials and cold water, quite an amusing activity too. In the orchard and vegetables patch you are invited to try any available fruit or vegetable, if there are any (depending on the season). What can taste better than a freshly picked fruit? At the end of the walk, you almost feel like knowing this farm since a long time ago. But what it is for sure is that you will bring with you a wonderful and clear picture of the authentic rural Mallorca.

For all these reasons, this rural walking activity is suitable not only for those who want to get a deeper insight into Mallorca’s culture and nature, but also for those who want to evade themselves from the touristic side of Mallorca. The unique, modest and authentic element of this farm captures your senses in an unforgettable way.

 If you want to know more about this different hiking concept you can visit www.mallorcaruralexperience.es or email mallorcaruralexperience@gmail.com .

 

Be Prepared – What to bring with you when Hiking in Mallorca

Be Prepared Hiking Kit for MallorcaSo you’ve booked your tailor made holiday with us and now you’re thinking about what you need to pack. Here’s a checklist to help you come well prepared:

Island weather can change very quickly and unexpectedly, so it is always advisable to be ready for anything. In the mountains, cloud can drop quickly and mist can come in from the sea, causing loss in visibility and fall in temperatures.

The terrain in Mallorca is rough so good footwear is essential. Most of our walks require walking boots with hard soles, good grip and ankle support. It is a good idea to wear your boots in well (if they are new!) before putting them to the test on some of our uncompromising, rocky surfaces.

September to early June are the main walking months on the island, and although not as hot as the summer, Sept/Oct and April/May can still be hot, and even in mid-winter sensitive skins can burn. Consequently, anything that you like to use to protect yourself from the sun – hat, cream, glasses, lip salve, long sleeves and long trousers….. is advisable.

Whatever the month, it is essential to carry plenty of water, and a few snacks to top up your energy levels, are always advisable – just in case!

We recommend that you bring with you:

  • Good sturdy footwear – hard soles and good grip are the most essential
  • 25 – 30 litres day pack
  • Water bottle – containing at least 1.5 litres
  • High energy snacks
  • Sun protection – hat, sun cream, sun glasses…
  • Light waterproofs
  • Additional layers for warmth – fleece, pullover…
  • Walking pole(s)
  • Small personal medical kit – antiseptic wipes and cream, plasters, bandage, antihistamine for allergic reactions…

Other equipment you may find useful:

  • Bathing suit
  • Torch
  • Penknife (Pocket knife)
  • Whistle to attract attention
  • Pad or cushion to sit on during rest breaks
  • Compass
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Loo (toilet) paper!
  • Ear plugs if staying in a refuge!
  • Soft, comfortable shoes and a change of clothes for the evening, if staying overnight

With the above all packed, you’re ready to enjoy some of the most breathtaking views and a side of Mallorca not seen enough in the popular holiday location brochures. We will be introducing you to the history, culture, local food, villages, markets and so much more of this wonderful island – make sure you’ve got a camera and lots of memory or film!