How to Support Mallorca’s Food & Drinks Businesses in the Crisis

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Drink / Eat

We surely all want to be able to eat out at our favourite restaurants in Mallorca again some time. But these are worrying times for many restaurant owners, chefs, and other staff and they’re going to need the support of those who can afford to give it when this horrible mess is all over.

Some people in the food-and-drink sector aren’t waiting for the lockdown to end; they’re finding ways to bring in some much-needed income. Home-delivery shopping services are booming and, to help these smaller businesses to survive, I’d rather support them than the big supermarket chains – which will always be the first choice of many, purely for the convenience factor.

Today I have details of three different types of home-delivery services, which may be of interest to you if you’re on the island of Mallorca – and a free online class so you can learn how to make an authentic Valencian paella.

Terragust

Alfresco lunch amidst vines growing table grapes

These Manacor-based producers of vegetables and fruit will deliver their produce to homes in the Llevant area of Mallorca.

I came across the company last year, when The Boss and I enjoyed one of their foodie ‘experiences’. We look forward to going back for another one day. If you’re planning a visit to Mallorca some time in the future – when the coronavirus crisis is over – I can recommend spending a few hours with Terragust. You can read here about our experience with them.

Our first delivery of a Terragust vegetable box was last Friday. I was like a kid at Christmas when I saw the bounty of goodies that Matias delivered, for just 15€ (including delivery). I’ve had great fun coming up with recipes incorporating these delicious items.

We still have a green cabbage, half a red cabbage, a cauliflower and some chard to use, so tomorrow’s delivery is going to be a fruit box and a couple of avocados. Although the vegetables and citrus fruits were from the Terragust farms around Manacor, the fruit coming tomorrow would appear to have been sourced from elsewhere. I’m sure it’ll be of good quality. For details of their online shop, see this website

Restaurante Sebastian

Patricia and Sebastian Pasch of Restaurante Sebastian

This excellent and cosy restaurant in the mountain village of Deià celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. The restaurant was due to re-open in late March but, like every other eatery, the doors are closed.

But you can still eat chef Sebastian Pasch‘s delicious cuisine, as he’s offering a limited menu of dishes to enjoy at home. The dishes are all garnished and can be delivered – although I’m not sure how far this service extends. See their Instagram page for the menu and telephone number to call.

Botànic – Chef Andrés Benítez

Botanic’s chef Andres Benitez

If a special occasion – birthday, anniversary, or some other noteworthy event – is on the horizon and you can’t go out to have a celebratory dinner, help is at hand. If you live in Palma, from today, April 2nd – and every Thursday to Sunday – Andrés Benítez of Botànic (the restaurant at the unique 5-star Can Bordoy Grand House and Garden) could be preparing you a gastronomic meal, for delivery to your home.

For information about the home-delivery menu on offer, see this website.

And Now for Something Different: Let’s Cook…Paella

Ever wanted to master the art of making an authentic paella? Well, help is at hand – and you don’t have to be in Mallorca to take advantage of Paella Lover‘s first FREE online Paella Valenciana Master Cooking Class.

Let Guillermo give you a FREE online masterclass in making paella

Paella Lover – alias valenciano Guillermo Bermell, who lives in Palma, is passionate about the typical dish of his home city. In normal times, he runs paella-cooking classes and will come and cook a paella at your home (or holiday home – something to note, if you’re planning to visit Mallorca later this  year). He’s a thoroughly likeable man who speaks excellent English and was one of my most entertaining guests on Table Talk on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. (You can hear the interview in edition 92 here.)

If you want to learn the secrets of making Spain’s most emblematic dish, you’ll need to Like/Follow Paella Lover’s Facebook page. You’ll find the list of ingredients and equipment you’ll need for the class already on the page and the free online Paella Valenciana Master Cooking Class will be aired LIVE on Facebook Saturday, April 4th at 12:00h CET.

Thank you for reading this post, and I hope you stay well and positive.

Jan Edwards©2020

Eat, Drink, Sleep, Mallorca – at Home

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Drink / Eat / Sleep

As in many countries now, restaurants, bars, cafés, and hotels in Mallorca (and the rest of Spain) are closed for the foreseeable future. We’re in lockdown. We are staying at home. #mequedoencasa

Baltasar Rigo, the new chef at Finca Serena in Mallorca, awaits you on return to ‘business as usual’.

I love the island of Mallorca and have met (and interviewed) many interesting and amiable people in the hospitality sector – quite a number of whom have become friends. I’m devastated for everyone in this normally hardworking sector of the overall tourism industry and, until now, I just couldn’t motivate myself to write a post on this blog.

Just days before the lockdown came into force, the owners of a new Palma restaurant contacted me about their launch party on Thursday night. Apart from investing in the business in the first place, they would have spent good money to throw a party for future diners. Three days later, we were on lockdown – all such businesses having to close their doors. That very same Thursday, I attended a press lunch at the beautiful Finca Serena hotel, where the new chef showcased his skills. What a shame that nobody can enjoy his delicious cuisine at the moment. It’s all heartbreaking.

From Optimism to Uncertainty

This is the time of year when seasonal businesses would be reopening – or preparing to reopen. A time of optimism and expectation. A time when I would have a much greater choice of open restaurants to consider as a potential Restaurant of the Week, on my weekly gastronomy and hospitality show ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. That show – for obvious reasons – is now postponed for the duration. Instead, I am preparing and recording (inside our guest-room wardrobe – gotta work from home) twice-daily coronavirus update bulletins. I know which I’d rather be doing…

Creative Ways to Survive

But in every negative situation there are positives. Local businesses in Mallorca’s food and drinks sector are finding ways to continue working, maintain an income, and keep as many employees on their books as possible. Home delivery services are booming in Mallorca – and not just those of supermarkets chains. Restaurant owners/chefs are sharing recipe videos or offering prepared-food deliveries. I’d rather support a Mallorcan business than a multinational supermarket chain, and have already ordered our first home delivery from a local supplier of vegetables and fruit.

In my next post, I’ll explore some of these positive initiatives further (and tell you about the delivery of amazing fresh produce we’ve had at home). In the meantime, enjoy your weekend – you’re probably also in lockdown somewhere – and stay well. And if you’re dreaming of lunch or dinner out, some time in the future, in one of Mallorca’s many excellent restaurants…you’re not the only one.

Jan Edwards ©2020

New Guia Repsol ‘Sols’ in Mallorca for 2020

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Two restaurants in Mallorca are celebrating, after the Guía Repsol awarded its ‘Sols’ for 2020. One new ‘Sol’ was awarded to DaiCa in Llubí and to VORO at the Park Hyatt Mallorca, in the northeast resort of Canyamel.

Cati Pieras runs the kitchen at one-‘Sol’- restaurant DaiCa in Llubi

The Guía Repsol is Spain’s answer to the famous red book, the Michelin Guide. The Guía Repsol website explains that ‘Sols’ (Suns) are “prestigious distinctions awarded to the best restaurants and chefs. A symbol of culinary excellence demonstrating Repsol’s connection with and support for Spanish gastronomy.”

The awards were announced and presented on February 24th in San Sebastian, following inspections of more than 1,300 restaurants during 2019.

For 2020, the guide awarded a total of 102 new ‘Sols’. In total across Spain there are 39 restaurants with three ‘Sols’; 152 establishments with two ‘Sols’ and 354 restaurants with one ‘Sol’.

DaiCa

We’ve eaten at DaiCa quite a few times, but I was shocked to realise that the last time was in September 2018 (Really? Time flies by). We’ll be paying a well-overdue return visit very soon.

If you’ve never visited the village of Llubí, not far from Inca, you’ve missed the treat that is eating at DaiCa – a restaurant and petit hotel, owned and run by maître and sommelier David Ribas and his wife, chef Caterina Pieras.

Both have worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Catalunya and, before they opened DaiCa, in 2012, Cati was head chef at Es Vi restaurant at the Castillo Hotel Son Vida.

Their combined experience shows at DaiCa, where the cuisine is based on a respect for local, seasonal, and organic produce. Cati’s inspired dishes are rooted in the cuisine of Mallorca and Catalunya, using modern techniques and artistic presentation.

DaiCa restaurant is located within two back-to-back sympathetically restored stone townhouses, joined by a delightful courtyard with tables for outside dining.

Until the end of March, Daica is open Thursday to Sunday, but website has details of which days are open for lunch/dinner/both.

VORO

Mario Wolgast (left) and chef Alvaro Salazar at VORO

I wrote the following information last summer after dinner in the restaurant; it reflects VORO – a seasonal restaurant – at the time.

When the smart restaurant VORO opened in 2019 at the 5-star Park Hyatt Mallorca, in Mallorca’s northeast resort of Canyamel, there was no doubt that the cuisine would be exceptional. This fine-dining restaurant has a talented young team in the kitchen, led by chef Álvaro Salazar. He previously worked in Puerto Pollensa at Argos, which was still in its debut year when Michelin first awarded it a coveted star. VORO was awarded a Michelin star for 2020.

The Andalusian chef’s culinary awards include Chef of the Year 2017, from the association of Balearic gastronomy journalists, and Cocinero del Año 2018 at the Feria Alimentaria de Barcelona. Álvaro describes his cuisine, based on high-quality seasonal local products and showing Andalusian influences, as free spirited.

The place

Álvaro and his entire team left Argos to open VORO, where the environment better reflects the high standard of gastronomy and service. The dining room’s décor is sophisticated but unfussy and comfortable. Modern art hangs on the walls; the floor is of dark wood and attractive hydraulic tiles, and the lighting is stylish. The main dining room seats around sixteen diners and only one table was vacant on the Tuesday we visited. A huge table in a separate area is ideal for groups of up to 12 diners.

Food and wine

Open for dinner only, the adults-only VORO offers a choice of two well-balanced tasting menus: the 11-course VORO and 15-course DEVORO. Each dish is exquisitely presented and explained at the table by a member of the pleasant service team. Restaurant director Mario Wolgast is charming and speaks perfect English. He explained that the menus evolve with the seasonality of the ingredients.

VORO offers around 100 wine references in an impressive list; the intention is to more than double this number. Can’t choose? Opt for one of the two well-chosen wine pairings.

Prices here do reflect the luxurious setting and high standard of gastronomy and service, but if you’re looking to impress someone, are celebrating a special occasion, or relish memorable dining experiences, dinner at VORO ticks all the boxes.

VORO reopens on March 14th, 2020.

Mallorca’s other ‘Sols’

The following have retained their existing ‘Sols’:

3 ‘Sols’ – Maca de Castro.

2 ‘Sols’: Andreu Genestra, Béns d’Avall, El Olivo, La Fortaleza, DINS Santi Taura, Zaranda.

1 ‘Sol’: Aromata, Casa Manolo, Ca na Toneta, Can Toni Moreno, Es Racó de Teix, and Marc Fosh. NEW: DaiCa & VORO.

 

Jan Edwards ©2020

 

Review of Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar in Palma de Mallorca

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Happy to follow these instructions…

Fans of Japanese cuisine have plenty of choice these days when eating out in Palma de Mallorca. I’m a big fan of Japanese cuisine and it took little to persuade me to try Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar, in the regenerated area of Sa Gerreria. Once a somewhat shady red-light district, Sa Gerreria is now safe to walk around at night and is home to an increasing number of trendy restaurants and bars.

One of these is Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar, which opened in Palma’s trendy Plaça Raimundo Clar in September 2019. Owners Paco García Sánchez and Miki Cerdá launched their project on the back of their international restaurant experience.

Paco worked in London for six years. He was at Lima Restaurant with the chef Virgilio Martínez (owner of Restaurant Central in Peru); Lima was the first Peruvian restaurant in Europe to gain a Michelin star (in 2014). Paco also worked at the Japanese restaurant Roka in London, as bar manager for their cocktail bar Shochu Lounge, and opened the company’s Roka Mayfair and, in Miami, ETARU Las Olas.

Chef Miki has worked for the Sheraton and Jumeirah hotel groups, and in Barcelona’s former Hotel Omm (now known as Sir Victor Hotel), and at London’s Roka. He also spent time working in Japan and Singapore.

From the moment you arrive, these two Mallorcan friends’ international experience is evident in the high standards of hospitality, food, and drinks.

Eat it, drink it, share it

On entering Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar, you see a neon sign on the wall, reading, ‘Eat it, drink it, share it.’ The décor has something of a red vibe, which gives it a womb-like cosiness. Single tables line one wall, which faces the bar and open-kitchen counter, behind which Paco and Miki and his fellow chef Álvaro Busquets work their magic.

Miki is master of the ‘robata’ – the Japanese-style charcoal grill – and Paco mixes the excellent cocktails. A small alarm bell went off in my head when I saw the open grill. Would our clothes reek of cooking when we left?

We were remembering an evening when we went to a concert in Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, after eating in a nearby Japanese teppanyaki restaurant. It was a delicious and entertaining experience (the chef was a whizz with a knife), but we didn’t appreciate how much the cooking smells had permeated our hair and clothes until we took our seats in Symphony Hall. The twitching nostrils of the well-dressed couple sitting next to us were due to the lingering odour of cooking as a result of our sitting around the restaurant’s open grill. I’m pleased to report that our Kasui experience didn’t affect us in the same way – no doubt because of a good extraction system.

Paco’s signature Japanese cocktails awaken the taste buds for the delicious flavours to come. All cocktails – Japanese (my Sumida Blossom was divine) and classic – cost a reasonable 7,90€. Beers include bottled Japanese Kirin (3€). Wines are available by glass and bottle and, of course, sake and a range of spirits (some Japanese) are available.

The food

The menu is divided into sections named as follows: Izakaya, Robatayaki (charcoal-grilled dishes), Kushiyaki (grilled skewers), Street Food, and Desserts. As the neon sign says, this is a place for sharing dishes. Two of us shared seven dishes (including dessert).

Every dish at Kasui was packed with flavour and interest and it would be hard to pick favourites. However, I’ll wave the flag for the soft-shell crab tempura with Japanese BBQ sauce (7,90€), the miso-marinated seabass with daikon emulsion (12,90€), and the meltingly tender beef-fillet skewers with spring onion and yakiniku sauce (8,50€). And for some sexy veggie dishes, try the Thai broccoli with sesame and ginger sauce (5,50€) and the lettuce buds with caramelized onion and apple ponzu (4,90€). Here are pictures of some of our dishes.

Our dessert of white chocolate and yuzu ganache with coconut crumble and passion fruit (5€) was both rich and refreshing. And too good to share. Something to bear in mind if you eat at Kasui Japanese grill and cocktail bar.

IMHO

We had a delicious dinner at Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar and shall return soon. Because this Palma restaurant is quite small, I recommend booking your table in advance. After we had booked, we received an email confirmation; on the day of our booking, a reminder, and after our visit, an email to check on our experience. In my humble opinion, Paco and Miki and their small team deserve to do well.

戻ります (which apparently means ‘We’ll return.’)

Good to know: Kasui Japanese Grill and Cocktail Bar is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays; open for dinner only on Wednesdays and Thursdays; for lunch & dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, and for lunch only on Sundays.

Jan Edwards ©2020

Find a Romantic Stay in Palma de Mallorca for Valentine’s

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and, if you want to seriously impress your loved one with a city break, it would be hard to beat a gourmet dinner and overnight stay in Mallorca’s cosmopolitan capital, Palma.

Check out that winter sky above Palma’s cathedral, La Seu

But which of the many boutique hotels in Palma should you choose? If it helps, here are my top three hotels in Palma for a romantic night away (or longer, if you’re lucky) – based on my experience of our personal stays. All are 5-star rated and in quiet locations in the attractive old town. All have good restaurants too, which means you don’t need to venture outside the hotel for dinner on a chilly February evening.

Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, La Lonja, Palma de Mallorca

We’ve spent Valentine’s night in a hotel in Mallorca every year since 2004, when we moved here. Most of these stays have been in rural establishments, but in 2019 we celebrated in Palma, staying at Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden.

This stunning 5-star hotel in the heart of Palma’s old town will win plenty of brownie points for the person who books a romantic stay here. Although open for only just over a year, the property has won more than 20 international awards. Check out these images of Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden.

With 24 suites, spa, roof terrace, and superb chef Andrés Benítez offering healthy gourmet cuisine, what more could you want?  Well, there’s also a very special outdoor space at the rear of the hotel: a large peaceful garden with terraced area, where you could toast your love with a glass of fizz. Even in February, you could take the plunge in the heated (oh, the luxury) outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool.

What makes the appropriately named Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden particularly special is the ‘family’ of people who look after you. The hotel has a butler service and concierge team run by Joan Morro – who recently gained the coveted ‘golden keys’. Joan is one of only 200 concierges in the whole of Spain in this elite global association. If you’re planning to propose to your beloved while you’re here, Joan’s your man when it comes to making special arrangements. He’s ‘the man who can’, as you’ll hear in the interview I did with him for my radio show.

Joan Morro with his golden keys

I interviewed head concierge Joan Morro on my gastronomy and hospitality show ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. He came into the hotel during his holiday for the recording, which is why he’s not in his smart uniform and wearing his ‘golden keys’

I should, however, warn you that the rather handsome team member Mr B could be a heart stealer!

And this is heart-stealing Mr B!

And get this! The huge Swedish beds have mattresses with two separate firmness controls – perfect if you and your loved one have different preferences.

Glòria de Sant Jaume Hotel

This boutique hotel resulted from the painstaking renovation of a former Mallorcan manor house, which has its origins in the 16th century. The Cabau family – experienced hoteliers – put enormous amounts of love into the project and it shows in every detail.

The hotel’s El Patio de Glòria restaurant and bar are elegant spaces, that feel cosseting and cosy. Friendly staff members throughout the hotel make you feel welcome and at home.

The basement houses an attractive spa, with one of Palma’s longest indoor swimming pools, sauna, steam room, and a relaxation area, with tea service. Like many boutique hotels in Palma de Mallorca, Glòria de Sant Jaume has a rooftop terrace, where you can relax, sink into the Jacuzzi, and take in a privileged view of the old town’s rooftops.

Glòria de Sant Jaume has 14 very comfortable rooms (of five different types) over two floors of the building. Each room has a distinct identity and ambience, with perfectly restored traditional architectural features. Rooms on the second floor have sloping wooden-beamed ceilings, adding to the cosiness.

And get this! El Patio de Glòria’s Argentinian chef Javier Gardonio previously work for Fernando P Arellano in Mallorca’s only two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Zaranda – making this another good choice for foodies.

Sant Francesc Hotel Singular

A conversion of an old palacio, Sant Francesc Hotel Singular is my third recommendation. The stylish hotel opened in spring 2015 and has gained international acclaim. Although we’ve stayed a few times, we haven’t had a night there for a couple of years and, since we last stayed, the hotel has had a change of general manager and chef.

Find out what I thought about Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, after our first visit, here.

And get this! Sant Francesc Hotel Singular has a superb rooftop terrace and pool, with awesome views. At ground level, there’s a large courtyard garden with dining terrace used in the warmer months.

Jan Edwards©2020

Veganuary in Mallorca: Where to Eat Vegan this January

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Superfoods and vegan/raw treats for sale

A belated Happy New Year to you; I hope your 2020 has begun well. If you’ve committed to eating only plant-based food during January – or Veganuary, as the year’s first month has been designated since 2014 – you’ll want to know some places where you can find vegan dishes, if you’re going to be in Mallorca.

In 2015 the UK’s Vegan Society declared Mallorca the top holiday destination for vegans in Europe, so it’s just a matter of tracking down suitable eateries. You won’t be surprised to learn that the greatest choice is in the island’s capital, Palma de Mallorca.

Although I’m not a vegan or a vegetarian, I enjoy plant-based cuisine on a regular basis and relish the challenge of creating appealing veggie dishes at home. We have vegetarian and vegan friends who visit Mallorca for holidays and it’s good to know they can easily find suitable food when eating out (which wasn’t the case when we moved here in 2004).

Vegan & Raw

Beverley Pugh has lived in Mallorca for many years and has been a champion of raw and vegan food ever since I’ve known her. We recently paid our first (and rather overdue) visit to her Palma restaurant Vegan & Raw, for lunch. Beverley’s food is all vegan and organic, but she does offer some cooked, as well as raw, dishes.

Vegan & Raw is a little out of Palma de Mallorca’s touristic centre, but a walkable distance. It faces the square known as Plaza de los Patines (where there’s a convenient underground car park and, on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, an organic farmers’ market). In fine weather, you can sit outside at the front of Vegan & Raw and watch the world go by. It’s quite a pleasant square, which is also home to an organic supermarket.

You enter Vegan & Raw by the kitchen area and opposite is a corner given over to products for sale, including bags of superfoods. The place feels both wholesome and welcoming.

Vegan & Raw restaurant offers cooked and raw vegan dishes on its daily lunch menu, which costs 15€ for three courses (with choices and including water). We could have ordered organic beer and wine but, hey, it was just after Christmas and a little reprieve from the festive alcohol consumption seemed appropriate with a super-healthy lunch.

We could have chosen a soup, smoothie, or salad to start. We both had salad, which was bursting with fresh flavours and textures and was surprisingly satisfying. The main courses were a pumpkin wrap, Beyond Burger, buddha bowl, or vegetable curry with rice. Having started with a cold dish, we chose the curry, which was served in a bowl on a bed of wholegrain rice.

A raw carrot cake (not sure how that works) or mango mousse were our dessert options. Although curious about the raw carrot cake, I’m a mango fan, so it had to be the mousse. This was served in a chilled glass, sprinkled with desiccated coconut and crunchy dehydrated buckwheat; the latter gave a delicious nutty taste (and made me determined to buy myself a dehydrator this year). We both felt satisfied and a tad smug about our virtuous choice of lunch venue.

Vegan & Raw also offers breakfast dishes, power shots, cold-press juices, organic coffee, plant-based-milk drinks, smoothies and shakes. On Saturdays, there’s a buffet brunch for 15€. Beverley Pugh’s popular eatery is also the venue for occasional events, such as cooking classes, etc. Whether or not you’re committing to Veganuary, a visit to Vegan & Raw is an opportunity to eat healthy and tasty plant-based food.

Open: Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00h; Saturday 09:00-16:00h (buffet brunch 11:00-15:00h)

Other Vegan Eateries are Available

The following are some of the other places in Palma where I know you can eat good vegan food.

  • Bon Lloc
  • Sabores de Sandra
  • mymuybueno Deli
  • Ziva to Go
  • Bagel

Some regular restaurants also offer vegan dishes on their menu and, of course, new vegan eateries pop up from time to time. For details of these and other places in Mallorca offering vegan and/or vegetarian food, check out the specialist websites Happy Cow or Vegavu.

Jan Edwards©2020

The mymuybueno Cookbook Now Available for Pre-Order

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Remember this name: Justine Murphy. If you’re a foodie and love to cook – in a domestic or professional capacity – you’re likely to hear a lot about this Mallorca-based English businesswoman, chef, and mother  over the coming months (especially if you’re in the UK).

I met Justine, her husband Paul, and their first baby, at a pop-up Thanksgiving Dinner back in 2013. The event was held in the acclaimed naturist Skinny Dippers boutique hotel, near Campos, in Mallorca. (No, we weren’t dining in the buff – neither was anyone else, as the event was during the hotel’s closed season).

Justine had founded her business mymuybueno in 2011 and, since meeting her in its early years, I’ve followed the company’s progress. Recently, Justine celebrated the mymuybueno Group’s eighth anniversary. Headquartered in Palma de Mallorca, but with an office also in London, the group now has seven divisions and operates internationally.

Raising Awareness of Erbs Palsy

As well as being CEO of her company, this dynamic woman is now mum to two young angelic-looking boys – the eldest of whom has Erbs Palsy and has to have daily physiotherapy at home. Erbs Palsy is a disability caused when excessive force is used during the delivery of a baby. Justine started a support group in Mallorca for other similarly affected families and aims to raise awareness of what is a totally avoidable injury.

Women in Business Champion

Justine is also an avid supporter of other female entrepreneurs and her monthly Women in Business Breakfast networking meetings in Palma de Mallorca are a must for any woman making her own way in the world of commerce on this Spanish island.

On February 1st, 2020, Justine will host her third Women in Business Day. It’s a day when she shares her story, her philosophy and business methods – as well as some of her delicious food during lunch. At the first event of its kind, quite a few attendees (myself included) needed tissues when listening to the heartbreaking story of extreme adversity in Justine’s childhood and teenage years. Knowing her background makes what she has achieved with mymuybueno – and in her family life – even more remarkable.

Cookbook Author

Somehow during 2019, Justine found time to secure a publisher for her first book of recipes. The mymuybueno Cookbook (Mezze Publishing) will be published in April 2020. The publisher’s blurb says “this is a book to inspire, to share, to reflect – with good, healthy, refined-sugar-free food at the heart of it.”

Over 288 pages, this hardback book contains 160 recipes for healthy breakfasts, sharing platters, soups, curries, salads, main dishes and plant-based desserts. It also gives an insight into Justine’s world and her past, and offers tips on “how to juggle the many balls of modern life whilst ensuring that the joy of good food – and sharing it with those you love – takes centre stage in life.”

Now that you’ve bought Christmas gifts for your loved ones, how about a gift for yourself? Although The mymuybueno Cookbook won’t be published until April, it is now available to pre-order on Amazon (UK) at £17.50 (the RRP is £25). I’ve treated myself – and look forward to treating family and friends to some of Justine’s dishes in the future.

You can hear Justine Murphy in conversation with me here for ‘Table Talk’ on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. Justine’s interview is the most recent (dated December 21st).

And finally, a Merry Christmas to you, dear reader. May your festive season be filled with love, good food and drink – shared with those who matter to you – and optimism for the next decade.

Jan Edwards ©2019

Mallorca’s Michelin-starred restaurants 2020

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Last evening saw the Oscars ceremony of the Spanish and Portuguese gastronomic world. It was the launch – and 110th anniversary – of the Michelin Guide for Spain and Portugal 2020, which took place in the Teatre Lope de Vega in Seville.

As usual, the new stars were announced, from one star to three, with each chef coming onto the stage to collect their new chef’s jacket, bearing the coveted Michelin macaron or rosette, indicating a star. Amongst those who came up to the stage was chef Álvaro Salazar, collecting the first star for Voro – the fine-dining restaurant of the Park Hyatt Mallorca in Canyamel.

Chef Álvaro Salazar had previously been at Argos in Puerto Pollensa which, like Voro, won a star in its first season. The Boss and I ate at Voro in June this year and I chose it as my Restaurant of the Week on Mallorca Sunshine Radio. (Read more about it below).

There were no other new stars awarded in Mallorca, but the following retained previously awarded stars: Marc Fosh, Adrian Quetglas, Es Racó d’es Teix, Maca de Castro, Andreu Genestra, and Es Fum – all with one star; Zaranda, with two stars. Once again, there are several excellent restaurants on the island that were overlooked when it came to stars. Next year, maybe?

VORO

Maitre Mario (left) with chef Alvaro Salazar

When the smart restaurant VORO opened this year at the 5-star Park Hyatt Mallorca, in Mallorca’s northeast resort of Canyamel, there was no doubt that the cuisine would be exceptional. This fine-dining restaurant has a talented young team in the kitchen, led by chef Álvaro Salazar.

The Andalusian chef’s culinary awards include Chef of the Year 2017, from the association of Balearic gastronomy journalists, and Cocinero del Año 2018 at the Feria Alimentaria de Barcelona. Álvaro describes his cuisine, based on high-quality seasonal local products and showing Andalusian influences, as free spirited.

Álvaro and his entire team left Argos to open VORO, where the environment better reflects the high standard of gastronomy and service. The dining room’s décor is sophisticated but unfussy and comfortable. Modern art hangs on the walls; the floor is of dark wood and attractive hydraulic tiles, and the lighting is stylish. The main dining room seats around sixteen diners and only one table was vacant on the Tuesday we visited. A huge table in a separate area is ideal for groups of up to 12 diners.

Open for dinner only, the adults-only VORO offers a choice of two well-balanced tasting menus: the 11-course VORO and 15-course DEVORO. We chose the 11-course version and each dish thrilled us with its exquisite presentation, textures, and flavours. Every dish was explained at the table by a member of the pleasant service team. Restaurant director Mario Wolgast is charming and speaks perfect English. He explained that the menus evolve with the seasonality of the ingredients. The dishes pictured below are just a few from our VORO tasting menu.

VORO offers around 100 wine references in an impressive list; the intention is to more than double this number. Can’t choose? Opt for one of the two well-chosen wine pairings.

Prices here do reflect the luxurious setting and high standard of gastronomy and service, but if you’re looking to impress someone, are celebrating a special occasion, or relish memorable dining experiences, dinner at VORO ticks all the boxes.

And now, Voro has a Michelin star for 2020; I wasn’t at all surprised to see Álvaro step onto the stage to collect his jacket. Congratulations to the whole VORO team – and to all the other Michelin-starred restaurants in Mallorca. What an amazing gastronomic destination this island is.

Jan Edwards ©2019

Discover the Terragust farm-to-plate experience in Mallorca

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A Terragust cap was useful for shading us from the very warm autumn sunshine

If finding unique gastronomic experiences in Mallorca is something you enjoy, you’ll love Terragust. Their experiences – uniting agriculture and gastronomy – take place in the fertile agricultural land just outside the town of Manacor, where the company Terracor grows its fresh produce. (Terracor and Terragust are sister companies).

Before the event, the Terragust organizers had sent us a Google map, which directed us one Saturday morning at 11.30 to an orchard, at the end of a long country lane. We knew we’d found the right place when we saw a group of people standing chatting.

The land and the produce

Our two Terragust guides were farmers Matias Adrover Sitger, who owns the orchard (and other agricultural land in the Manacor area) and Pere Lluis Julia Vicens (who speaks English and German as well as castellano and mallorquín). These two friendly and land-dedicated Mallorcans handed each member of the group a Terragust-branded cap and cloth bag – instructing us to use the latter to help ourselves to as much fresh produce as we liked as we walked through the pomegranate orchard in front of us.

In the middle of the orchard, a table had been set up with a variety of pomegranates – whole and halved – along with dishes of the fruit. A bowl of the jewel-like arils from each one enabled us each to taste the difference between the varieties – something you really only appreciate when you can compare them in this way. Our guides pointed out the trees for each variety so we could collect the ones we liked.

A little further into the orchard, we stopped at another table, on which there were different types of melon – including a pale-skinned variety known as Sineu (named after the Mallorcan town) or melon blanc – and some varieties of Terracor’s salad greens recently plucked from another field. We were able to taste the different melons and the lettuces – which were nothing like the bland-tasting salad greens found in a supermarket.

Having learnt something about these fresh products, we were then free to collect what we wanted before we set off – driving in convoy – to our next location, a place where voluptuous bunches of table grapes hung from tall vines. The journey was short and as we emerged from our cars, Matias had already picked a huge bunch of black grapes, hanging from the vines, and was passing grapes around for us all to try. They were probably the most delicious grapes I’d ever tasted.

And so to lunch…

A long table was set up and ready for lunch between the vines. It looked impossibly romantic – like something from one of those movies set in the Mediterranean. Before we sat down, we had a glass of wine and helped ourselves to the plates of snacks on offer. We were a mixed group of Germans, Spanish and Mallorcans, and us, the only two English people. Nevertheless, the conversation flowed and I was fortunate enough to sit next to Pere, who told us he he’d been privately educated and had lived and worked in Switzerland before deciding to return to Mallorca and his rural roots.

We were treated to a five-course menu, incorporating Terracor produce, created by the Mallorcan chef Biel Llull Galmés – nicknamed ‘Cornet’ (a type of sea snail, apparently – not something topped with a scoop of ice cream!). Still aged under 30, this Manacor-born chef previously worked at the former Molí d’en Bou (which had a Michelin star) and in Manacor’s acclaimed Can March restaurant.

Lunch included delicious ‘xeixa’ wheat bread which Biel had made in the small hours of that morning and delicious wines from local bodega Miquel Gelabert. I’ve included below a couple of photos of the dishes we ate for lunch.

Biel worked in the mobile Terragust kitchen and plated up outside, as the weather was good. Lunch was delicious and I wasn’t too surprised to see that a few additional people joined us at the table. You don’t have to do the full Terragust experience to have lunch (or, in the summer, dinner); you can just come to have a meal in a memorable setting that’s very different from a restaurant. Lunch with wine, water, and coffee costs a very reasonable 40€.

Matias and Pere would like us all to be able to find fresh produce for sale at its moment of peak ripeness. It’s not something you’ll find in supermarket produce which, they claim, supermarkets require to be harvested and delivered before it’s at that point.

And finally…

Terragust is offering these unique experiences until the end of November and then takes a break until February 2020.

If you’re interested in finding out more about seasonal fresh produce, would like to taste zero-kilometre produce at peak perfection, and discover a different form of rural tourism in Mallorca, I am pleased to recommend the Terragust experience. They offer these several times a week and, during the summer, the field tours and alfresco meal take place in the evening.

Next year, Terracor hopes to open their own shop to sell produce direct from the farm to the consumer. At peak perfection, of course. We look forward to regular visits with our straw basket to buy our freshly picked Mallorcan fruit and vegetables.

 

If you’re on Instagram, please do follow my feed eatdrinksleepmallorca and I’m also on Facebook under that name.

Jan Edwards ©2019

Enjoy Mallorca’s Autumn Produce in El Olivo’s Cuisine

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We have arrived in the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, as the 19th-century English poet John Keats described this time of year, in his poem ‘To Autumn’.

This season in Mallorca can be glorious: the intense summer heat has gone; the number of visitors has reduced, and – if we’re lucky  – the sun shines from a clear blue sky, as it’s doing today. It’s also when we enjoy some of the island’s delicious seasonal produce, from the land and the sea.

Many hotels and restaurants in Mallorca will close for the off-season over the coming weeks and won’t reopen until next spring. Some hospitality workers – tired after the long tourist season – will be counting down the days before their well-deserved break.

Creativity continues

This seems not to apply to Guillermo Méndez, executive chef at the stunning 5-star Belmond La Residencia in Deià. Although the hotel will close for the winter on November the 10th, the chef’s creativity is not winding down. Why would it, when autumn in Mallorca brings a rich bounty of fresh produce to inspire new recipes and culinary ideas?

The hotel’s El Olivo restaurant has launched Chef Méndez’s new Menu Extravaganza for autumn; this gastronomic dinner comprises eight dishes that showcase autumn flavours, textures, and colours.

I was fortunate enough to be treated to this menu at El Olivo last week and, if my writing ability extended to poetry, I’d write a more upbeat poem about autumn than the one written by Keats, just a year before his untimely death from tuberculosis at the age of only twenty-five.

Here are photos of just a few of the dishes (and please bear in mind that the romantic lighting at El Olivo is not as good for food photos as it is at flattering people!).

This luxurious celebration of Mallorca’s autumn gastronomy costs 150€ a head, without drinks.

A serious wine destination

Every year since 2004, El Olivo at Belmond La Residencia in Mallorca has been named as one of the winners of the ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ in The Wine Spectator‘s annual Restaurant Awards. These awards recognize restaurants with wine lists offering interesting selections – appropriate to the cuisine and with appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. The restaurants awarded ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ are described by The Wine Spectator as “destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.”

The romantic El Olivo restaurant is a former tafona or olive press

Early autumn on this island is the time when grapes are harvested to make wine. Yet another good reason for autumn to be my favourite gastronomic season in Mallorca.

Jan Edwards ©2019