Say Cheese! Artisanal Goat’s Cheese from Manacor

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Eat / Mallorcan produce
Home of artisanal goat’s cheese

I’d rather eat goat’s cheese than cheese made with cow’s milk – for lots of reasons (some of which are below). The same can be said of yogurt (I make our own at home using either goat’s or sheep’s milk).

Nutritionally, goat’s cheese is easier to digest than cheese made with cow’s milk and it’s rich in probiotics and high in calcium. The fatty acids in goat’s cheese are metabolised faster too, which in theory, means we feel fuller more quickly. What’s not to love?

Eat Locally Made

Cheese from Mallorca? Yes. Menorca may be better known for its cow’s milk cheese, but artisans in Mallorca are also producing some excellent cheeses. Joan Gaià is one such cheesemaker and he’s based in Manacor, in the Llevant area of Mallorca.

Joan, who’s in his mid-thirties, listened to his heart and left his job to follow his dream: making goat’s cheese at the family finca. Formatgeria Es Collet is on the outskirts of Manacor (and has extensive views of the town and the backdrop of the Serra de Tramuntana).

Formatgeria Es Collet

Joan has been making his goat’s cheese for four years and learnt the process in the Pyrenees from a French producer. His goats are not the small, brown, wild type that sometimes jump into the road suddenly in the Serra de Tramuntana (be warned!). The goats pasturing at Formatgeria Es Collet are the Saanen breed, which originates from Switzerland. These white goats are the largest of the dairy goat breeds and produce the best quantity and quality of milk.

Joan knows a thing or two about marketing (I love his business’s logo) and customer service. To ensure his cheese arrives with customers in the best condition during the hot weather, he does summer deliveries on Mondays to customers in the Manacor area. The excellent Can March restaurant in Manacor uses his cheese, and it’s also on sale in the fruit and veg shop Na Camel-la in Manacor and at the Degust stall in Manacor’s produce market in Plaça de ses Verdures.

Open to Visitors on Saturday Mornings

Joan opens his gates on Saturday mornings (10:00-13:30hrs) under the Venda Directa scheme for visitors to see the goats, find out about production, and taste the cheeses (and buy if they wish). This Saturday-morning activity is particularly appealing for families, as children can feed the younger goats. The kids (four-legged variety) are now past the bottle-feeding stage, but I imagine that activity will be great fun for children when the next little ones are born.

We visited last Saturday – only the fifth week that Joan has opened to visitors. He explained that his goat’s cheese is not certified organic, but he follows the principles of organic production, such as using no chemicals on the land. Two families were also visiting when we were there and the small children were having great fun feeding the friendly young goats with pieces of bread.

Tastings of Es Collet Goat’s Cheeses

Joan brought out four types of his goat’s cheese and offered tastings and explanations. We loved them all, but our favourite was the Blau de Llet Crua de Cabra – a raw-milk blue cheese made with Penicillium Roqueforti.

We bought a piece of this delicious blue cheese and the Cremos – which makes a tasty addition to salads.

Joan Gaià has ideas to develop his business further and mentioned he may do evening tastings in the future, as the Es Collet finca is in a prime location for watching the sunset behind the Tramuntana mountains. He’s also taken part in cheese-and-wine pairing events. I’ll be keeping an eye open for these and any other future activities.

I started this post by saying I’d rather eat goat’s than cow’s milk cheese. I’ll add to that: I’d rather eat goat’s cheese that’s produced and sold locally (lower environmental impact, therefore more sustainable). I’d rather eat goat’s cheese made by an artisan with a passion for what he does. That’s why we’re going to buy goat’s cheese from Formatgeria Es Collet in future.

Formatgeria Es Collet is on Facebook and Instagram. Or call/WhatsApp 654 62 24 56 for more information.

Good to Know

Our map to get to Es Collet was a bit confusing. The finca is located in Cami de Tortova which, on the map, appeared to lead off the Ronda del Port (Manacor’s ring road). What you need to look for is the road Carrer de n’Antoni Fullana, which is almost opposite the multiplex cinema, at the side of a housing development. Cami de Tortova can be found a short distance along the Carrer, to the right. If the gates to Finca Es Collet are closed, there’s a bell to ring on the wall.

Jan Edwards ©2021

Countryside Dining near Manacor & Portocristo

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Front exterior view of Son Mas

If you’re staying in the east of Mallorca and want dinner in the countryside, we can recommend Son Mas Hotel Rural. It’s seven kilometres from the heart of Portocristo and ten kilometres from Manacor (from which you take the road passing the Rafa Nadal Academy). You don’t have to be staying in the hotel to have dinner here … but you do have to book on the day you wish to eat.

Son Mas isn’t hard to find, although it is tucked away off the beaten track – which adds to its appeal. Once through the gates, you have a winding drive up to the parking area, then a short walk (with steps) to the hotel building.

The well-spaced outdoor tables enjoy a beautiful bucolic view and, from the main terrace, you can watch the sun slip down beyond the horizon. Our table was under a tree, and we were delighted to see a pair of flycatchers feeding their young (late in the season) in a nest in the tree canopy. After dark, with the candles lit on the tables, the peaceful place has a magical feel. When the outdoor lights came on, so did the jets of the water feature in one corner, adding to the ambience.

Eats

The 4-star Son Mas Hotel Rural doesn’t have an à la carte menu for dinner. Each day they offer a different set menu, with a choice of two starters and two main course dishes. Here’s the thing: you must book in the morning of the day you wish to eat here; when you phone to make a table reservation, the hotel will tell you what the menu is for that evening and you need to choose your starter and main plate in advance.

On the night we were there, the starters were chilled white asparagus soup or pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus). Main courses were grilled salmon on a bed of potato purée or chicken breast stuffed with prawns and red pepper with new potatoes. Son Mas Rural Hotel served us warm bread rolls with aioli and green olives at the start of our dinner.

Portions are quite generous and we couldn’t manage a dessert each. The waitress – who was very pleasant and smiled a lot – offered us pineapple carpaccio, which we shared.

The dinner menu costs 44 euros a head, which we felt was good value for the overall experience of eating at Son Mas Rural Hotel.

Drinks

For a small hotel, Son Mas has a decent choice of wines by the bottle, with labels from Mallorca, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Castilla y León, Utiel-Requena, Priorat, Rueda, Navarra, and Rias Baixas. France provides one wine too, the excellent Aix Rosé from Provence – which we enjoyed when we lunched at the home of good friends recently.

Prices for wine range from 17 euros for the Mallorcan rosado Butibalausi from winery Can Majoral, to 78 euros for the Hacienda Monasterio Reserva red. Nine wines on the list cost 20 euros or less.

Wine by the glass is from Mallorca’s Es Fangar winery and costs 5 euros for red, white, or rosé.

Verdict

Service was friendly and efficient but a little more relaxed than in some coastal eateries; we had no problem lingering at our table in such tranquil rural surroundings. The tasty food was decently cooked and presented too, although eating here could be a challenge for vegetarians and vegans. We shall certainly return.

Son Mas Rural Hotel looks a very peaceful and appealing place to stay, and we spotted a good-sized pool for those who enjoy swimming lengths. We’d like to have seen one of their junior suites (all 16 rooms are in this category), but nobody was available after our dinner to show us one. I’d say it was worth checking their website if you’re looking for a rural hotel in the east of Mallorca.

FREE Summery Short Stories Set in Mallorca, Anyone?

Here’s a link to a set of five short stories set in Mallorca, in ebook form. I hope you’ll enjoy them. You’ll also receive a MONTHLY email with news about what’s happening in Mallorca, including interesting events and news from hotels and restaurants etc.

https://dl.bookfunnel.com/riyse13xdw

Jan Edwards © 2021

New Concept for Can Cera, Palma de Mallorca

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New-look courtyard at Can Cera – photo courtesy of hotel

Ten years after it originally opened, Can Cera Boutique Hotel has a new concept. During the Covid-related extended closure of Mallorca’s hospitality businesses, IT Mallorca Unique Spaces took the opportunity to renovate its adults-only, 5-star property in Palma’s atmospheric old town.

Can Cera was our first boutique hotel experience in Palma when we stayed not long after its opening in 2011. The 17th-century former palace was unlike any other hotel we’d stayed in before in Mallorca and we were seriously impressed. Even more so after this week’s return visit to the new-look Can Cera.

Welcoming Courtyard

The boutique hotel now feels more exclusive, because the heavy wooden front doors are no longer open to the gaze or presence of those who aren’t staying guests. After we pressed the intercom button on the wall outside, the door clicked open. It’s like being welcomed into the grand home of privileged friends, or a smart, private club.

We gasped as we entered: the traditional Mallorcan courtyard – stone arches, wooden ceiling beams, marble staircase, and Art Deco stair banisters – has been further enhanced by the addition of huge sofas, plump cushions, ceiling-to-floor curtains, marble low tables, artworks, and designer lighting.

Dream Designs & Designers

Jaume Roig ceramics

IT Mallorca Unique Spaces’ founder Miguel Conde and his architect wife Cristina Marti were responsible for Can Cera’s renovation and redecoration. They successfully married period features such as cabinets, chairs, art, hand-painted coffered ceilings, and 17th-century Murano glass chandeliers, with contemporary features from designers including Matteo Ugolini, Davide Groppi, Marcel Breuer, Jean Prouvé, and Adriana Meunié – the partner of Jaume Roig, whose distinctive ceramic art in the courtyard impresses at first sight.

Fresh Features

Designs galore

Climb the marble staircase from the courtyard and you enter what’s dubbed the ‘work’ room. Its key new features are the six-metre-long oak table, Marcel Breuer chairs, and Matteo Ugolini’s Moby Dick lamps. For guests who have to keep on top of work duties when travelling, this is a fine space in which to do so.

The adjoining room, the Salon Rojo, is now home to a black-marble cocktail bar, with facilities for cooking too.

Interior walls throughout the hotel have been painted with a sophisticated shade of light brown that’s made the ambience feel even more restful. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out the name of the colour, but it reminded me of Farrow & Ball’s lovely ‘Mouse’s Back’.

Guest rooms have also been renovated and we appreciated having both a long bathtub and separate, spacious shower cubicle in our junior suite (room 11). The windows of this room, by the way, offer some tantalising glimpses of Palma’s glorious cathedral, La Seu.

Sustainability is a key tenet for IT Mallorca Unique Spaces and you can spot evidence of this throughout, from the guest amenities in the rooms to the commercially compostable bags containing individual portions of bread and pastries on the breakfast buffet.

Gastronomy Offering

Eating in at Can Cera

We had dinner in Can Cera. The hotel offers a vermutería-style menu of tapas and a few light dishes. Menu sections include appetisers, breads, ‘La Cala’ canned fish (the Spanish are renowned for canned fish), cheeses (six types, including the excellent matured English Stilton from Colston Bassett), foies, cold meats, smoked & salted fish, vegetables, and more. The provenance of some of the hotel’s carefully sourced products is noted on the menu.

A Two-Centre Stay in Mallorca

Love the buzz of staying in a city or small town, with restaurants, bars, and shops in walking distance? Here’s my recommendation for a two-centre stay in Mallorca: Start at Can Cera in Palma, then check in at Can Aulí, another IT Mallorca Unique Spaces boutique hotel, in the attractive town of Pollensa. (Click the Can Aulí link above to find out more). If you love the hospitality and design ethos of Can Cera, you’ll find more of it to enjoy there.

Palma’s discreet Can Cera has a convenient location for exploring the Mallorcan capital. However, once you discover the various places inside the hotel where you can relax with a good book or magazine, you may decide not to venture out and, instead, make the most of your Palma home from home.

After your fix of city life, head to Pollensa – which has easy access to resorts, some quieter beaches, and the impressive mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana. Can Aulí also has the benefit of an outdoor swimming pool, so you may just be tempted to stay put and relax in considerable style.

You can see more photos I took at Can Cera on my Facebook page eatdrinksleepmallorca, where you’ll also find details of a special offer if you book a room at this hotel before July 18th.

Jan Edwards ©2021

60th Anniversary of Mallorca’s Castillo Hotel Son Vida

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Castillo Hotel Son Vida, set in the wooded hills above Palma de Mallorca (photo courtesy of hotel)

We recently ate dinner at Es Vi, one of the two restaurants at the legendary Castillo Hotel Son Vida, in the hills behind Palma de Mallorca. More about our dinner later.

We’ve attended quite a few functions at the iconic property and have had day visits to the hotel’s spa. As we ate, we gazed out at the spectacular view over Palma and its bay, watching as the lights of the city and coastline twinkled into life. We decided we’d come and stay a night some time this year – never having stayed here before.

As we left the restaurant, we passed a display on the wall illustrating the history of the hotel and I noted that today, Wednesday, the twenty-third of June, is the anniversary of the hotel’s opening in 1961. Sixty years ago, the Castillo Hotel Son Vida’s launch was celebrated at what I’m told was one of the most elegant events ever seen in the Balearics. No, I wasn’t there!

A Guest Book of Note

Castell Hotel Son Vida’s privileged location in the exclusive wooded hills above Palma has made it the hotel choice for many famous people, including royalty, political leaders, famous performers, and sports people. Over the past six decades, guests who have enjoyed the location, ambience, and hospitality here have included Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Steve McQueen, Brigitte Bardot, Anthony Quinn, Michael Caine, Gunther Sachs, John Lennon, Julio Iglesias, James Brown, and Maria Callas. I met Sir Cliff Richard there a few years ago when we were both attending a special lunch, at which the BBC’s former chief political correspondent John Sergeant was the entertaining guest speaker.

Es Vi Restaurant

Twinkling lights around the Bay of Palma in the distance

During the warm months, everyone wants to sit on the terrace, enjoying the cooler evening air and the panoramic views. Settled at our table, we had a glass of cava while we studied the menu and enjoyed a complimentary appetiser of a vegetable taco.

Es Vi has a good list of wines by the glass, including caves, champagnes, Mallorcan and Spanish wines, as well as wines by the bottle.

We started with home-made Iberian ham croquettes with a marmalade of cherries from the Jerte valley (14 euros for four pieces) and crunchy Mediterranean prawns with basil and avocado sauce (18 euros for four pieces). Both these choices were delicious.

Only four main-course dishes are on the menu – two fish, two meat. We each chose fish (John Dory and salmon respectively); meat dishes were veal-cheek mini burgers with home-made bread, Mallorcan cheese, and plum ketchup, and grilled lamb chops with green asparagus and potato-and-chorizo ‘lollipops’. The menu has four desserts, including a delicious and generous crème brûlée with Soller orange and a reduction of Palo liqueur and fresh raspberries (10 euros). We both enjoyed this one.

We made our dinner a three-course affair, but I’d recommend coming to Es Vi for drinks and a few tapas to share with your companion(s) because it’s very hard to choose just one each from the list of tapas/starters. Prices are a little higher than you’ll pay in a tapas bar in Palma, but you’ll be experiencing one of Mallorca’s legendary 5-star hotels and the awesome views from Castillo Hotel Son Vida’s terraces. Views that kings, queens, and other notables have chosen to enjoy over the past sixty years.

Happy anniversary, Castillo Hotel Son Vida.

NOTE: Balearic residents can take advantage of some special deals at this hotel.

Prices correct at time of writing.

Jan Edwards ©2021

Review of the New Sa Clastra Restaurant, Castell Son Claret

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Sa Clastra in daylight

Mallorca has a new gourmet restaurant: Sa Clastra opened this season at the five-star Castell Son Claret hotel in the Es Capdellà countryside in southwest Mallorca. Sa Clastra has replaced the hotel’s former two-Michelin-star Zaranda and offers a new fine-dining experience for guests and members of the public who come for dinner.

Chef Jordi Cantó

Ambitious 33-year-old chef Jordi Cantó leads the kitchen, with a generous helping of Michelin-star-restaurant experience. Born in Palma, he’s worked alongside renowned chefs in some of Spain’s most famous Michelin-starred restaurants: Nerua (1*) at Bilbao’s Guggenheim; DiverXo (3*) in Madrid, and Casa Macial (2*) in Asturias. But his most recent experience was in Zaranda itself, so he already knew his way around the impressive kitchen space at Mallorca’s Castell Son Claret.

Jordi at the helm

Jordi’s travels through Europe, South and Central America, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Japan – have also inspired his creativity. In Mallorca, for Sa Clastra, he researched new local producers – honouring the philosophy of the Slow Food movement – and applied his talents to heritage recipes, creating memorable dishes.

Dine in the Castle’s Courtyard

Sa Clastra takes its name from the central patio or cloister found at the heart of many Spanish noble buildings and castles – including Castell Son Claret. As we sipped a glass of Gramona cava, we could only speculate on what the handsome old stone walls, wall-mounted sundial from 1888, and ornate central well might have witnessed in the distant past. It’s an atmospheric and romantic space for a special-occasion dinner and on a balmy summer night it’s wonderful to watch the sky turn cobalt blue before darkness descends.

The Cuisine

Sa Clastra offers two tasting menus, which will change with availability of seasonal ingredients: the seven-plate Menu Castell (95 euros) and nine-plate Menu Sa Clastra (120 euros). In addition are an appetiser and petits fours. We opted for the shorter menu.

Castell Son Claret has its own in-house bakery, and the breads and other baked goods here are incredibly moreish. We had a choice of three types of bread, served with two flavoured salts and extra virgin olive oil from Sóller.

The menu descriptions reveal only the key ingredients of each dish and part of the pleasure of the evening was the surprise as the smart serving staff delivered each course to the table. Presentation and taste exceeded our expectations. I’ve shown only some of the dishes below … not wanting to spoil all the surprises if you visit!

The Wines

Wine expertise at your service

There are some 600 wine references on offer at Castell Son Claret. A wine-flight paired to your chosen menu is optional at Sa Clastra, but we were happy to accept sommelier Sebastián Longo’s recommendation for a white wine – the Sangarida La Tarea 2019 (DO Bierzo) was an excellent choice.

The Service

We’ve been to Castell Son Claret on quite a few occasions, for meals, overnight stays, and various functions (including the acclaimed Castell Classics operatic concerts). Whatever the reason, we’ve always commented on the exemplary level of service. Staff in every department of the hotel – including Sa Clastra restaurant – make each guest feel valued. And who doesn’t appreciate that?

The Verdict

Sa Clastra is a recommended new option for a memorable gourmet dinner in an idyllic setting. The Michelin-star inspectors won’t have visited yet, but look up after dark in the elegant courtyard and, with no light pollution in this beautiful area of Mallorca, you can enjoy a sky full of real stars.

Jan Edwards © 2021

Mallorcan Gins for World Gin Day 2021

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Palma Gin

It’s June 12th, aka World Gin Day. What better excuse to pour a G&T and enjoy the sounds of the bubbling tonic water and ice cracking in your glass, as you contemplate the meaning of life. Or what to have for dinner.

Mallorca is the home of a number of artisanal gins and if you haven’t tried gin from Mallorca, the following are worthy accompaniments to one of the many varieties of tonic water now on the market.

Cabraboc

Can be shipped abroad by Fet a Sóller for personal consumption (not retail). This gin from Sóller contains herbal extracts from the Tramuntana. Their varieties include Taronja (orange) gin and the Mandarina gin liqueur – which is not sickly sweet like some liqueurs.

Gin Eva

The Gin Eva distillery in Llucmajor is on a trading estate, but you’ll forget that once you’re inside (it’s open to visitors – see website for details).  Stefan and Eva Winterling are behind this successful business; originally winemakers, Eva is Catalan and Stefan is German and they have worked in wineries in several countries. They swapped wine-making in Mallorca for gin production to start Gin Eva in 2012, after making gin for the Mallorcan winery where they previously worked.

They’ve won several awards for their delicious gins, which include Bergamot Gin, Old Tom, La Mallorquina, Green Spice Gin, and the original Gin Eva. They also produce a few artisanal spirits and Single Tree Limoncello. My favourite Mallorcan artisanal gin is their La Mallorquina Olive Extra Dry Gin, made from the pomace of olives grown on the centuries-old Son Moragues estate in Valldemossa. Whenever I have a G&T made with this evocative gin, I think back to a wonderful day I spent at this estate in the mountains.

Find gins from Mallorca at Agromart Balears stores on the island

Gin Mercant & Mascori

The distillery Pareis makes these in the village of Llubí, not far from Inca. Gin Mercant is described as super-aromatic, with notes of fennel, cinnamon, Mallorcan oranges and other sweet spices. Mascori is made with Mallorcan lemons, fennel and citric spices. It has a delicate fruity aroma with an acid touch. Both of these London Dry gins are best with a neutral tonic.

Onze

This gin is made at the winery Bodegas Can Vidalet near Pollensa. This gin is made with eleven Mediterranean botanicals, including juniper, fresh citrus fruits, rosemary, and other botanicals sourced from the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. It was the first Mallorcan artisan gin (which was then called Can Vidalet) we tried here.

Palma Gin

The British-owned Mallorca Distillery in Palma has made a huge impression on the local gin market. Byron Holland is from Newcastle in the northeast of England and worked in the nautical sector before running a restaurant in Edinburgh. With roots put down in Palma de Mallorca – a city he’d visited during his career at sea – Byron started this business with James Gibbons as his distiller. It’s been phenomenally successful and won several awards for its Palma Gin – in a distinctive white bottle.

If you’re in the UK and are missing your fix of Mallorca, you can buy Palma Gin from The Gin Warehouse

Suau

This Marratxí-based distillery is best known for its brandy. Its 1989 Club Suau is made up of members who have bought a barrel, kept in a locked cage-like section of its cool dark cellars. The distillery has recently returned to making artisanal gin, using the original recipe they used a century ago. Suau has been in Mallorca since 1851 and, if you have the opportunity, a visit to the distillery (which has a museum) is an interesting experience.

Mallorca Gin Festival

We have fond memories of attending the 2019 Mallorca Gin Festival – the second of its kind (we enjoyed the first event too). It gave us an introduction to some new gins, including artisanal gins made on the island of Mallorca.

The Covid-19 pandemic put paid to the 2020 edition of the Mallorca Gin Festival, but we’re hopeful it will be back later in 2021.

Mallorcan Tonic Water Too

Meanwhile, when you’re next out for a G&T in Mallorca, give one of the island’s artisan gins a try. And do try a Franklin & Sons Ltd Mallorcan Tonic Water with it for the full Mallorcan gin-tonic experience.

Jan Edwards ©2021

Stay Awhile at Stay Restaurant, Puerto Pollensa

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View from Stay Restaurant terrace

In 2022, it will be fifty years since Stay Restaurant first opened in Mallorca’s Puerto Pollensa. Surprisingly, given the precariousness of the restaurant sector on a seasonal holiday island, quite a few restaurants in Mallorca have been open for decades – often staying in the same family. Two others with a long history that come immediately to mind are Can March in Manacor and Bens d’Avall, near Sóller.

Stay Restaurant opened in 1972 but has been through some changes since. In 1989 José Maria and Veronica Gassó took it over from the founders; they commissioned the building’s redesign in 2005, giving it the appearance the waterside restaurant still has today. The following year the stoves were back in action and, although Puerto Pollensa is quiet in the winter, Stay was open year-round … until the pandemic struck. Fingers crossed it can now revert to its former 365-days-a-year policy without further disruption.

Stay Today

We’ve eaten at Stay Restaurant on numerous occasions – anything from a glass of wine with some tapas after a stroll along the Pine Walk, to a full-blown al fresco dinner with visiting friends from the UK to celebrate a milestone birthday. It’s never disappointed.

Consistency is the key to a successful restaurant and we’ve always found a consistent quality of professional service and tasty food. The beautiful views of the resort, with the Tramuntana mountains behind them, are a given. My favourite memory is seeing a mountain capped with snow one year, while we sat on Stay’s terrace in wintery sunshine.

Menus

Open all day, Stay Restaurant has menus for different times of the day: set lunch menu (with choices), à la carte, tapas, snacks, afternoon menu (bridging the gap between lunch and dinner), and vegan (available 12 noon to 10.30pm).

We’ve had the set lunch a few times. It changes weekly (it’s published on their website) and includes an appetiser from the kitchen, bread roll, three courses (four starter choices, three mains, and dessert of the day). The cost of 38 euros a head includes water, wine, and coffee with a home-made chocolate.

Yesterday we ate à la carte and I chose two starter dishes, instead of a starter and main course, and a dessert. Portions are a decent size here and I didn’t feel deprived because of my choice.

Consistency was maintained. And nobody rushed us to leave once we’d finished our lunch, so there was time to enjoy the gorgeous views and appreciate what had been impossible back during Mallorca’s toughest pandemic restrictions.

My dishes. The Boss started eating his before I could photograph them! He had partridge ravioli with wild mushroom sauce to start and three fillets of white fish of the day with dill sauce for a main course. The Boss approved.

Jan Edwards Copyright 2021

Marc Fosh Restaurant Open Again

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With the further easing of certain pandemic restrictions, visitors from some countries are now able to travel to Mallorca. More hotels here – and their restaurants – are opening their doors this month, as a result.

Last Tuesday (11th), the Michelin-star eponymous restaurant Marc Fosh reopened in the Palma hotel Convent de la Missió. Two days afterwards we were there. I’m a big fan of Marc’s cuisine – his restaurant is the only Michelin-star restaurant with a British chef – and I wanted to celebrate the fact that my novel manuscript was completed … written, edited, and proofed. I decided to treat The Boss and myself to lunch in the restaurant that’s featured and named in the novel.

New Lunch Concept

Pre-pandemic, Marc Fosh offered a weekly changing three-course lunch menu which cost under 30 euros. A new concept has been introduced for lunchtimes … a choice of two menus: the five-plate weekly menu (46,50 euros, with a supplement if you want a cheese course too), and the six-plate Menu Marc (75 euros). In addition, both menus have introductory snacks and petits fours at the end.

Weekly Menu

We were happy to have the weekly menu, which we felt was excellent value for the price.

Some restaurants in Mallorca have now introduced second sittings at lunchtimes in order to get more diners through (and who can blame them after the past year of closures?). This hasn’t happened at Marc Fosh, so we were able to enjoy the traditional Spanish sobremesa – the relaxed period of conversation ‘over the table’ after a meal has ended. We had a delicious meal, with great service, and a throughly enjoyable experience … as always at this Palma destination restaurant.

A Wine Presentation Unique in Mallorca to Marc Fosh

Marc Fosh restaurant’s sommelier Giorgia Scaramella recommends a couple of wines to complement each weekly menu. With the glazed beef cheeks we had a glass each of Quite 2019, from Bodega Verónica Ortega, made from Mencía grapes grown on vines more than eight years old. It’s a fresh-tasting organic wine with a bouquet of forest herbs and notes of mature fruits.

The wine we tried first though was not one of the two featured wines of the week, but something rather special: Adorado de Menade, which is presented in an eight-litre demijohn inside a wicker basket. There’s a degree of theatre in the serving of this wine, which is a 50/50 blend of Verdejo and Palomino grapes. The wine is produced in a basic solera system in decades-old sherry casks. The ‘mother’ solera dates from 1967 but Bodegas Menade only started taking the wine from the system in 2018. Adorado has a rich amber colour and a bouquet that could transport you to Jerez thanks to the wine’s time in sherry casks. It’s served by the glass, obviously, and we thought it tasted sensational.

‘Bodegas Menade extracts only 50 litres each year,’ Giorgia said, adding that in Spain only a restaurant in Madrid and Marc Fosh in Palma de Mallorca offer this wine. Canny Giorgia bought two demijohns, so there should be plenty left for a while!

Need to Know

Marc Fosh restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Marc is also the culinary consultant for the restaurant of sister hotel Pleta de Mar in Canyamel. We haven’t visited yet, but I’ll report back if we do.

If you enjoy Marc’s style of Mediterranean cooking, look out for his cookbook on sale in the restaurant.

Jan Edwards Copyright 2021

La Residencia Opening for 2021

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Drink / Eat / Sleep

Thomas Moons will be one very happy – and probably busy – man this weekend. The new general manager of La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, Mallorca, will welcome his first guests there on Monday, May 17th, when the Deià property opens its doors for the 2021 season.

I met Thomas a while ago when I visited the closed hotel to do an interview with the former PR manager, Louise Davis, whose memoir Hideaway Hotel is about her long career there. The newcomer told me he was looking forward to the property reopening, after a longer-than-usual winter closure, because of the pandemic.

New Open-Air Experiences

Anyone for tennis? La Residencia has offered tennis coaching for years. This year, tennis players can sign up for a fun-filled tennis weekend with former ATP Top 20 men’s single player Nicolás Almagro. If you’re keen to brush up your backhand or spruce up your serve, an exclusive tennis clinic with Almagro and private sessions with a Lux Tennis professional player should do it. And what amazing scenery in which to wield your racquet …

If you’re not that sporty, but love taking photographs to impress your Instagram followers, how about La Residencia’s Mallorcagram? New for this season, the hotel has planned a carefully designed itinerary focusing on Mallorca’s northwest coast and those off-the-beaten-track places. The route leads you through some of Spain’s most photogenic scenery, including visits to Fornalutx, Sóller, and Port de Sóller.

Olive Inspiration

If you already know Mallorca, you may prefer simply to relax at the hotel and enjoy the tranquillity and beauty of its gardens and glorious surroundings. How about the healthy and refreshing new signature infusion, created for the hotel this year in collaboration with Katja Woehr – well-known for founding the luxury local sea salt brand Flor de Sal. The new Flor d’Oli infusion is sustainably produced from olive leaves, harvested by hand from La Residencia’s extensive olive grove.

Many people stay at La Residencia to celebrate a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon. The perfect gift on these occasions could be an item from the new capsule collection created for the hotel by internationally renowned Mallorcan jewellery designer, Isabel Guarch.

Isabel, whose designs are inspired by the culture, nature, and spirit of the Balearics, has created a beautiful collection of jewellery with an olive tree motif. The collection will be launched early this summer.

It should be another wonderful season for staying at La Residencia in Deià.

Jan Edwards Copyright 2021

Binibona’s Ca’n Beneït – a Rural Mallorcan Gem

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Welcome to Ca’n Beneït, Binibona

If you live outside Mallorca, you may not have heard of Binibona. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the foreigners who live on the island had never visited this charming hamlet. We’ve lived in Mallorca for 17 years and been to Binibona only once before (in 2014), when I interviewed a British resident there for a newspaper article.

Binibona, if you don’t know it, is in the Raiguer district of Mallorca, in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. It’s part of the municipality of Selva and comprises a small cluster of stone-built properties, four of which are hotels. Yes, four! The hamlet of Binibona was a pioneer in rural tourism, or agroturismo/agroturisme, and it’s easy to see why.

The name Binibona has Arabic roots and was documented in 1300, although other names have been recorded previously. When Cardinal Antonio Despuig surveyed his 1785 map of Mallorca – one of the most important cartographic works in Spain – he recorded the hamlet’s name as ‘Mira-buena’, meaning ‘good view’.

Finca Ca’n Beneït

The Cardinal must surely have been gazing out at the expansive island view from the centuries-old Finca Ca’n Beneït. We did the same last week when we went to stay at the Ca’n Beneït agroturisme, which reopened in March this year following the reformation carried out by the new owners of the hospitality business.

Toni Duran is now at the helm of the 10-room hotel he owns with his partner. The multilingual hotel director has worked in several five-star hotels in Mallorca and has international hospitality experience from working in Switzerland and England. But his new project hasn’t a whiff of pretentiousness about it: the focus is on warm service, comfort, and rural Mallorcan authenticity.

We arrived to a warm welcome and a chilled glass of cava, served on the terrace of the hotel’s Restaurant Mirabona. The views across the island are glorious and, if the sun falls right, the silvery sea in the Bay of Alcudia glints in the distance.

History, Authenticity, and Charm

Before going to our junior suite (number four), Toni gave us a tour of the property – parts of which date back to the 16th century. We saw the two-hundred-year-old chapel and the century-old olive mill, where the estate owners still produce the olive oil used for the hotel’s restaurant.

The place is breathtakingly beautiful, with a garden, orchard, and stone arches, terraces, and courtyards. Authentic Mallorcan features are everywhere, from the vaulted ceilings and wooden beams to stone arches. Modern facilities include a swimming pool with large terrace, bicycle storage facilities, and a sauna cabin.

Rooms & Suites

Ca’n Beneït’s 10 rooms include two suites with a terrace. The décor and furnishings have been chosen to complement the character of the property. Luxurious touches abound – but of a purposeful nature: the bedlinen, bathrobes, and extraordinarily soft towels (bathroom and pool – which are provided in the room) are from a company called Spirit of the Nomad which uses the finest-quality Egyptian cotton. I fell immediately in love with these items – particularly the bedspread and cushion covers. If you lust after the comfort and quality of this company’s products, guests of Ca’n Beneït are entitled to a 20 per cent discount on purchases from Spirit of the Nomad’s website.

The rooms have a useful set of charging leads – concealed in an attractive wooden box – in case guests have forgotten to bring theirs. There’s also a discreet power bank.

Guests have a kettle and coffee-capsule machine in the room to make their own hot drinks and the minibar offers a selection of free cold drinks. Water comes from the estate, is filtered and provided in glass bottles. And it’s free.

L’Occitane products are provided in the light, spacious bathrooms. There are bamboo toothbrushes and chewable tooth-cleaning tablets, along with the now-essential health kits – comprising disposable mask, gloves, and sanitizing gel.

Almost a week on from our one-night stay, my overriding memories of our room are comfort (wonderful mattress), light, lovely views, and tranquillity. Bliss.

Mirabona Restaurant

Ca’n Beneït’s restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can have three plates (starter, mains, and dessert) for 35 euros, which we thought was excellent value for the quality; if you prefer only one or two courses, these are priced separately.

We dined inside, enjoying a table by the log fire that was burning on a very cool evening. We started with squid croquettes on a sobrasada reduction, and artichokes stuffed with pork and veal with almond sauce. Both were excellent. Our main courses were perfectly cooked fish (hake and monkfish respectively). We ended our dinner with a good crema catalana.

Our breakfast and lunch the next day were both taken on the raised terrace, with its expansive views across the island and the nearer sight of the finca’s citrus orchard beneath the raised terrace. Breakfast is à la carte – one of the very few good things, in my opinion, to come from the pandemic. No more getting up from the table to visit a buffet makes a more relaxing start to the day – for guests, anyway!

The Boss raved about his avocado toast with poached egg, and I had a generous fruit salad – after a tempting array of cold cuts, cheeses, bread from Forn Per de sa Palla, fresh pastries, and preserves.

At lunchtime we tried the lamb terrine and chocoholic cake – both recommended. Then we reluctantly made our way home, talking all the way about our wonderful time in this hideaway part of Mallorca. We both concluded that when foreign travel opens up again, the 10-room Can Beneït will be a magnet for discerning guests who value the authenticity of rural Mallorca. It may be difficult to get a booking once that happens so, if you’re on the island and feel like stepping off the crazy merry-go-round of everyday life for a while, take your chance while you can.

Seven years had passed since our previous visit to Binibona, but we won’t leave it as long to return to Ca’n Beneït Agroturisme.

Good to Know

A glorious walk into the forest

The easiest route to Binibona from the MA-13 motorway is via Campanet, thus avoiding traffic in the centre of Inca and passing through the villages of Selva and Moscari. I’d recommend using the Campanet route there and the Moscari/Selva/Inca/MA-13 for the return journey, to see more of this area.

Ca’n Beneït has bicycle storage for those exploring on two wheels.

Children are welcome.

Take some appropriate shoes if you enjoy walking. The beautiful forest walk from the hotel to Ses Figueroles and Alcanella, with its soundtrack of birdsong, will lift any jaded spirits.

Find out more about Ca’n Beneït here.

*** Book with Mallorcan Tonic and you can take advantage of 5% off all room rates, receive a complimentary bottle of cava, and best room available on check-in. Quote promo code TONIC.

Jan Edwards Copyright 2021