Rural Majorca

My youngest daughter Catarina and I have just spent a few days in Majorca. We were in the north of the island, at Playa de Muro, far away from the party beaches down south – very, very far away – in distance as well as state of mind. We spent one long, lovely day in rural Majorca, outback Majorca – shopping ingredients at the market, sampling local produce, then cooking lunch outdoors. Just a fab day all round.

At Inca market, rural Majorca
Our guide is Michael, a Brit, island resident for 12 years, and passionate about everything Mallorquín.

First stop of the day is the Thursday market in Inca, third largest town in Majorca, and home of Camper shoes. No shoe shopping for me today alas, but there’s time for a browse. The market is huge and just about anything is for sale: basket ware, sunglasses, and an impressive assortment of bras.

Baskets at Inca market, Mallorca DSC03555

And then, of course, there’s bunyols, (buñuelos in Spanish), fried dough balls topped with sugar; doughnuts, really.

Bunyol seller at Inca market, Mallorca Bunyols for sale at Inca market, Mallorca

An abundance of colours, textures, flavours…

Vegetables at the market in Inca, Mallorca

We buy mild, white onions, equally mild green peppers, large beef tomatoes, and for the pa amb oli, the smaller tomàtiga de Ramellet, firm on the outside, soft on the inside, with a more intense and slightly bitter taste; perfect for rubbing on fresh bread.

White onions, market in Inca, Mallorca tomatoes, Inca market, Mallorca

We stop in Binissalem, a sweet little village in the rolling hills of Majorca’s wine region. Binissalem… sounds Arabic, no? Means sons of Salem, if I remember my Arabic correctly. The Moors once ruled this island, as they did much of Spain. More than 1 000 years before the Moors, however, the Romans lounged about here, occupying the island and drinking wine. As far back as the 1st century AD, Majorcan wine is mentioned in Roman manuscripts.

Well, certainly can’t break such a long and prominent tradition, now, can we? The only thing to do is sample the local products. We wander in through the doors of a small bodega, home of Ca’n Novell wines, sold from the barrel for next to nothing.

Ca'n Novell wines, Binissalem, rural Majorca DSC03580

Our little group try six different wines, beginning with young whites and reds, then moving on to an older red, and then sweet dessert wines, one yummier than the next. (Of course Cat, like most 11-year-olds, fails to see the charm of a country wine tasting and uses the opportunity to check out yet another show jumping vid on YouTube).

Cooking in rural Majorca

Finca in rural Majorca

Finca in rural Majorca

Finally, we’re off to the finca, our cooking venue for the day. In the garden of this curious house, we hand over meat – pollo y cerdo – to Juan, barbeque chef extraordinaire, then get on with chopping ingredients for a trampo, a traditional Majorcan salad…

Making pa amb oli in rural Mallorca Outdoor cooking in rural Majorca

…and making the pa amb oli, also typical of this region – and one of life’s simple pleasures: delicious, healthy and, as a bonus, very easy to make: you take a hefty piece of fresh peasant bread, rub it with half a tomato, drizzle on some very good local olive oil, then sprinkle on salt. That’s it. Even I can do it. And that’s saying something…

Stay tuned for more on Majorca in the weeks to come. Horses will feature prominently. In the meantime, if you want to see more travel photos from around the world, head to Travel Photo Thursday or Friday Daydreamin’.

Disclosure: In Majorca, we were guests of Viva hotels and No Frills Excursions. Of course we’re free to write about anything we want, as ever.