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.

Olive Oil – The Fruit, The Production and Oleoturismo

olive oil production mallorca walkingMallorcan Oil is an extra virgin olive oil made with the Mallorquina (Empeltre), Arbequina and Picual varieties of olives, using traditional processes conserving the aroma, taste and consistency of the fruit. These three varieties of olive allow producers to create olive oils which are of an extremely high quality and which have very unique flavours and aromas. The Arbequina olive gives the oil a fruity taste, the Picual a more bitter flavour and the Mallorquina a subtle sweetness reminiscent of ripe almonds. These flavours are created from a variety of processes ranging from pressing before full ripeness of the olive to blending different varieties.

The high quality of the Mallorquin olive oil is achieved from a combination of the soil characteristics, rugged landscape, irregular rainfall and the great age of Mallorca’s olive trees. The olive harvest is influenced by climate and Mallorca generally has an earlier harvest than other regions.

Mallorca has a long history of olive growing, as well as production and consumption of olive oil. Mallorcan olive oil has always been well acknowledged and popular among local residents but despite this, the amount of Mallorcan Olive Oil consumed on the island only accounts for 2.7% of total sales. The rest is exported, with Germany being the main consumer.

According to historical data, the Phoenicians and Greeks introduced olive trees to the Iberian Peninsula, and from there they reached Mallorca. It was in the 16th century that important progress was made in olive growing and oil production, and for many years this was the main source of income for numerous estates on the island, many of which had their own olive mills. Mallorcan olive oil continued to be the island’s leading export product until the first half of the 19th century. Today there are close to 402 producers of Mallorcan Olive Oil, covering a total of 1400 hectares of land, and using 7 Olive Oil presses. Recent records show annual production in excess of 100,000 litres of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, increasing year on year.

The Pressing of the Oil

Much of the Olive Oil production in Mallorca still uses traditional systems used over centuries. The olives are placed on a grindstone and crushed by machine-operated conical-shaped rollers. The grinder is a mechanical hammer type machine and the grinding process depends on the amount of olives in each batch. The golden rule is that they should never be ground for more than 6 minutes. The paste produced is placed between woven mats that are laid one on top of the other and pressed. In the olive press, by applying considerable pressure, a liquid is produced composed of water and oil. The liquid is left to settle and separates into two layers, with the oil on top and the water from the olive below.

This process is known as Continuous Flow which involves: Cleaning and Washing, followed by Weighing andolive-press mallorca walking holidays Classification and then the Grinding. The paste then goes through a Mixing (malaxing) process where the paste reaches a maximum temperature of 28ºC. This section of the oil extraction takes between 60 and 90 minutes. Now comes the Extraction of the oil using horizontal centrifugation. Separation is the final stage that is achieved by horizontal and vertical centrifugation, which then results in the finished product: pure Mallorcan Olive Oil with designated origin ‘Oli de Mallorca’ .

Storage & Bottling : The oil now moves into storage. After being classified, it is placed in tanks depending on its quality. The oil mills are located geographically, with building characteristics to ensure the oil can be stored at appropriate temperatures, not rising above 25ºC.

The oil is then bottled in conditions that protect it from the sunlight, preventing any possible alteration due to the oxidation of the oil’s fatty acids.

The next time you try the pure essence of Mallorcan Olive Oil, think of the process required to arrive at the golden liquid you are enjoying.

The popularity of Mallorquin Olive Oil both in Mallorca and importing countries, has resulted in a new form of tourism in Mallorca: Oleoturismo. Promoted as Olive Oil Tourism – The Art of Nature this initiative was created in order to introduce visitors to all aspects of the Olive tree; the oil and the additional products created from Olive wood with a series of highly original activities. You can find more details regarding these activities and the routes on the island here:

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.