The Mallorcan Almond
On Saturday I picked up from the airport a couple of Cyclists clients of American Ken, a friend I met on the road and partner in many painful training days. He organized a self-guided trip for them this week so I’m doing the transfers from and to Airport and Hotels for them.
Chatting about Mallorca on our way to Pollensa they asked me what they should eat while on the island so I went talking about the Caimari Olives, the Mallorcan Black Pork, the Soller Oranges, el Frito Mallorqui, the Soller Red Prawns, the wines and of course the Mallorcan Almonds. And that got me thinking, what do I know about the almonds of Mallorca??
When I first got on the island a few years ago, my friend Sandra took me straight to Santa Catalina market where I met the dried fruits man Bep, the happiest man in the world always smiling (out loud laughing actually) and joking, and got me a bag of the little shelled dried fruits… and my word do I remember that day!!! The tastiest almonds I had ever tasted I quickly went on and eat half of the bag, and every time I landed on the island, I made sure I went and say hello to the happiest man in the world and got myself a bag or two of almonds.
The Mallorcan almond got mostly cultivated in the XVIII and XIX century when the phylloxera plague caused a massive devastation on the vines of the island and most of them were replaced by almonds trees.
The low level in organic matter in Mallorcan soils and the Mediterranean weather low in rain and with high sun exposure, make for a relatively low production levels and gave the fruit a high content in fats and oils which give the almonds their particular taste and oily character. It became an important ingredient in the culinary culture of Mallorca being used in many typical desserts like the Gató, nougat, almonds ice cream and almond milk.
Noawadays, almonds trees decorate the Mallorcan landscape throughout the island and every year in the last weeks of January and February when the almond trees blossom, you get a real visual treat with amazing views of fields full of the white and pink flowers which have become a usual and widely known face of the island worldwide.
In short… they are sssooooo delicious, you have to come and try them to realise what we’re talking about ;-)