Discover The Balearics
Sweet treats of the Balearics!
Coca de albaricoque (Apricot cake) - A fluffy, sweet cake with apricot halves in the centre. But the unusual ingredient that is often added to this dessert is Sobrassada. (Yes, you have read correctly, the local Mallorcan sausage!) Taking sweet and salty to the extreme, this traditional dessert is usually eaten in the summer when apricots are in season. If you can't get your head around sausage in a cake, don't worry, cocas come in many different sweet and savoury varieties.
Coca de Patata (potato rolls) are sprinkled with icing sugar and are usually served with hot chocolate in the winter or almond horchata (a cold almond drink) in the summer.
Coca de Torro (Mallorcan nougat cake) - The delicious nougat filling is made from roasted almonds, honey, sugar, egg white, and cinnamon encased within wafers. Delicious!
Quartos embetumats - Popular in Palma, this dessert goes one step further than Mallorcan sponge cake (coca de cuarto) on its own... Filled with custard and enveloped in light, fluffy meringue. What more is there to say?!
Carquinyols (Almond biscuits) - These sweet, crunchy pastries are often eaten with tea, coffee, or even sweet herbal liqueur. There are different flavours such as cinnamon, vanilla, orange, or chocolate. What makes these different from the other carquinyols made throughout Spain is that the Menorcan version is made with ground almonds giving them a delicious almond taste throughout.
The Prettiest Towns & Villages of the Balearics
Sóller, Mallorca - with its stunning location in the "valley of oranges", this charming little old town is a world away from some of the bustling coastal towns Mallorca is known for. Enjoy its charming little square lined with restaurants and lovely architecture, or pop on the old-fashioned wooden tram to Port de Soller. Soller is also linked to the capital Palma via the "orange express" narrow-gauge train.
Pollença, Mallorca - One of the more "touristy" towns of the Tramuntana, but still very beautiful and worth visiting! Like Valldemossa, Deia and Soller, it consists of honey-coloured stone buildings, and the bustling Placa Major is a great place to sit and watch the world go by!
Palma, Mallorca - So Palma isn't a town or village; it's instead a city and the capital of Mallorca. However, we thought it was worth mentioning here as it's such an elegant and cosmopolitan place that it's well worth exploring! Visit the beautiful La Seu cathedral and Almudaina Palace, and then perhaps have a stroll around many of the chic boutiques before enjoying dinner in an elegant restaurant.
Fornalutx, Mallorca - the main appeal of Fornalutx lies in its location with a beautiful mountain backdrop (it has views of Puig Major, Mallorca's most prominent mountain) and surrounding orange and olive groves. The Cami de s'Alzina Fumadora is an enriching cobbled bridle path that winds its way steeply up between olive and orange trees.
Ciutadella, Menorca - another one which is more of a city rather than a town or village, but again too nice not to include! Its historical centre is well worth exploring with its palaces, cathedral and busy squares full of shops and restaurants.
Handicraft Traditions of the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands have a long, diverse history of different inhabitants, and many old trades from different cultures still exist in the islands today. Here are some of the handicraft traditions you may expect to find whilst visiting the Balearic Islands!
Fabrics and Embroidery
Extremely detailed and fine embroideries are found in most Mallorcan homes and is quite different to the type found in mainland Spain due to its intricacies. Hemp has also been grown on Mallorca for many years and you will find many Hemp products being sold at local markets.
Due to the requirement to build boats for fishing and trading, there is a long history of woodworking in Mallorca. However, woodworkers have diversified today to create beautifully crafted products from olive wood such as bowls, utensils and decorations.
Brought to Mallorca when the Phoenicians visited back in the 2nd century BC. There are several glass-blowing factories where you can witness master craftsmen turn out beautiful products such as plates, vases and bowls.
The Siurell and Ceramics
The craft of pottery in Mallorca has many Roman and Moorish influences and brightly coloured ceramics are a common sight at handicraft stalls throughout the islands. The Siurell is one of the most iconic products - a small earthenware figure which doubles up as a whistle and is painted in bright colours, very popular with children.
Hippy Markets of Ibiza and Formentera
The islands of Ibiza and Formentera have been strongly influenced by the hippie movement, with artisans, painters and designers flocking to the islands in the 1960's. Due to this there are now several very famous "hippie" markets on the islands including the Las Dalias Hippy Market in Sant Carles de Peralta and the Flea Market in Sant Francesc in Formentera.