MALLORCA - THE TASTE OF THE SEA
Our Mallorcan friend Tolo Cruelles urged us to consider a tour of the island of Mallorca. Tolo is well-travelled, lives in Catalonia, and his family has been of tremendous help to us with previous tours, so we took him seriously! Mallorca is visited by many tourists, and rightly so, for its beautiful seas and dramatic mountains, but Tolo assured us that there is much more to Mallorca, and the smaller nearby island of Menorca, than most tourists see.
Tolo told us the story of how the Mallorcan economy was opened by the railroad from Sóller to the major port city of Palma, with help from his maternal grandfather. This allowed the already highly prized Mallorcan oranges and wheat to be shipped to the continental markets of Europe. That story was the germ of this tour, which reveals the hidden side of this island community that so many visit and few really get to know.
The Bank of Sóller, housed in a building built by a disciple of the famed architect Antoni Gaudì, built the railroad that runs from Sóller to Palma and the tram which connects the port of Sóller to the city.
Tolo’s father, Agustí Cruelles, had a dream of using the train that his father helped build to export oranges from Mallorca to Germany in the 1930’s. Together with his friend from Catalonia, Sebastián Castellá, they organized the production that allowed the island’s oranges to be easily transported to the coast and exported abroad.
Tolo introduced us to Teresa Castella, Sebastian’s daughter, who lives with her husband, Joan Buades, in Mallorca, and the doors to the island were opened to us. This is a trip that may be a once in a lifetime event. Teresa and Tolo, in honor of their fathers and the work they did to help transform the islands, have opened their doors and hearts to make this a truly unique gastronomic and cultural experience.
We will enjoy the Balearic island cuisine of fresh, daily-caught fish, fresh vegetables, Mahon cheese, soups and stews, local cured pork, such as sobrasada and longaniza, and a variety of savory and sweet baked goods made from the prized Mallorcan wheat. Horchata made from the island’s almonds and an unparalleled orange juice round out our culinary experience ensconced in one of Europe’s most desirable destinations.
We will start the tour at Teresa’s house, a remodeled palacete in Palma, and finish at her estate, La Almudaina, in the Mallorcan countryside, for a meal of Mallorcan delicacies, many of which Teresa and Joan produce on their properties. In between we will relax into and explore the islands.
The trip is designed for experienced travelers with a passion for great food made the traditional way – food that is deeply connected to the people and culture of the place. We encourage open minds, adventurous spirits, and a deep passion for traditional foods. Our guests are adults of all ages, who enjoy walking and exploring places on their own, as well as with the group. We keep the group small: no more than 15 guests will travel with our experienced hosts from Zingerman’s, plus our longtime Spanish friends John and Ana.
Behind the scenes visits to artisanal producers, local farmers markets, hands-on cooking experiences, and visiting the beautiful terrain of the island.
Amazing food – all breakfasts, all lunches, and most dinners. We will enjoy traditional regional specialties made from local, fresh ingredients. There will be plenty of seafood and a healthy dose of pork in the local cuisine. This tour not recommended for vegetarians.
A Zingerman’s tour host and our guides will be at your disposal at all times.
Transportation by air-conditioned private bus during the tour.
What’s Not Included?
Alcoholic beverages (other than beverages with dinner or when they are specifically included in the itinerary)
Personal spending money
Two meals, where you will have time to explore on your own (suggestions provided!).
What about accommodations?
You will be staying in clean, comfortable, conveniently located, unique accommodations with private baths.
Our first day begins on the island of Mallorca. We will meet in our boutique hotel in the center of Palma in the early afternoon for introductions followed by a walking tour of the old town starting at Teresa’s house.
We will have a delightful dinner together with a view of the sea. This is your chance to get to know your fellow travelers and ease into the island life.
After a refreshing sleep we will have breakfast on Spanish time - between 9 and 10. This will be our routine for most of the days of our tour as we adapt to the local customs.
Today is about art and architecture. Around noon we will visit the local artisan market. Look for authentic Mallorcan arts and crafts here, from pottery to leather, textiles, wood, and art. After a simple lunch together, we will board our bus for some architecture and history at the beautiful Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa. Famously housed Chopin and George Sand in the winter of 1838. See the book Winter in Mallorca by George Sand. The day should not end without another view of the sea so have faith that we will work that into our dinner plans.
Waking up in Spain is easy to do! Breakfast at 10. Today is a simple day - we have a cooking class of Mallorcan recipes followed by a delicious lunch of our handiwork. The rest of the day is free time on a quiet Sunday to explore Palma and dine out on your own. Don’t stay out too late because we have an uncharacteristically early departure tomorrow to visit the island of Menorca where we stay one night. Pack a light bag.
Up early at 6:30 for breakfast and then we are off to the ferry. We’ll be on Menorca by midmorning. It’s going to be a full day. We’ll take a catamaran trip to see the harbor, one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Then a brief visit to a gin distillery followed by a lunch with a special menu of fresh seafood. Perhaps some coffee and then we’ll explore the old city of Mahon that serves as the capital of Menorca. Before the end of the day we will make it to our cute hotel and perhaps wrap up with a stroll and some light dinner tapas.
We start with cheese, visiting the farm, getting the whole picture of the cheese at Quesos Quintana. The cheeses matured by Quintana are made from the milk of local pasture-grazed cows and are rubbed with olive oil and paprika during maturation. Ari has written about it and we carry it at Mail Order! We will have lunch at a seafood restaurant that specializes in lobster then walk the port before saying goodbye to Menorca and taking the ferry back to Mallorca. When we land we will head to another side of the island where we will spend the next 3 days. Our hotel in Soller sits on 10 acres of natural landscape containing fruit trees and an organic garden.
Slowing down some more. We will visit a winery in the foothills of the mountains that grows indigenous grape varieties such as Prensal and Callet. We will learn, taste, lunch, and relax there. Afterwards we will give the old city part of Soller a stroll and take the historic tram back up to our hotel. Dinner nearby at a restaurant owned by a husband and wife team.
Today we get to enjoy John’s technical knowledge of olive oil as we compare and contrast old ways with new. Lunch will be at a traditional countryside restaurant. Our second producer is also a winery, organic and biodynamic, and we’ll spend some time here enjoying some food grilled outdoors.
The morning is yours to explore Soller or relax as you see fit. Check out the hotel spa. We will venture out together to have lunch in a picturesque hilltop village. Later in the day we will visit the estate La Almudaina, of Teresa and Joan, to see their olive groves and vineyards. They will treat us to a dinner of typical Mallorca foods. As all things end we will bus back to Palma tonight, back to where we started 8 days ago.
We will say our goodbyes as we can over breakfast. Some folks will leave early while others are able to linger on. But we will all take the island with us when we go.
*One thing to note: this itinerary is the current plan, and, things may change. We will make every effort to provide the tours and experiences that are described above. However, the nature of the places we’ll be visiting — not typical tourist destinations — means that plans may change at the last minute. Also, you always have the option of skipping a particular excursion, but please note that we will be unable to make refunds for any missed meals or other events.