rtà, the hilltop town in the northeast of Mallorca, is home to an interesting shop/café specializing in almond products. Ametlla is the Mallorcan word for almond but, as the plus sign at the end of this business’s name suggests, there’s more to discover if you step through the doors. Ametlla+ was founded as an initiative to make optimum use of the island’s almond crop.
Almonds are an important part of Mallorca’s landscape, gastronomy, traditions, and even tourism. Visit Mallorca in late January/February and you’ll see the island decked in white and pale pink almond blossom. In the past, it was common for Mallorcans to burn discarded almond shells in stoves to heat their homes. When we bought our finca here, we inherited one of the small stoves specifically for that purpose – although it’s no longer connected to a chimney.
Try a delicious version of Mallorca’s almond cake
Visiting Artà with friends, we had a very good cup of coffee sitting on the front terrace at Ametlla+, watching people come and go along this mainly pedestrianized street (C/ Ciutat). We also tried their Mallorcan almond cake, known as gató. This traditional cake is on the menu of restaurants and cafés all over the Mallorca and sold in many bakeries. It should be made with almond flour, which makes it suitable for coeliacs and those with a gluten intolerance. I always make one for my dad (a coeliac) when he visits.
Almonds are expensive and we have found examples of almond cakes that have had a little wheat flour incorporated into the mix so, if you suffer gluten problems, do check before buying or ordering in a restaurant or café. Gató is traditionally served with almond ice cream, which may seem like an almond overload – but it works.
The owner of Ametlla+ told us they have slightly adapted the recipe for their almond-flour-only cake, adding a little of one of their almond mixes to the recipe. If you’ve never tried gató, it’s well worth ordering this gluten-free version here.
A range of Mallorcan products
Even if you come only for a drink and something to eat, it’s worth browsing the shelves of this attractive modern shop/café. As well as three types of their own-brand Ametlla+ mixes (which can be used to season dishes, add to marinades or dressings, among other things), the shop sells jars of roasted Mallorcan almonds with different flavourings, and almond oil.
It’s not all about the almond though: we bought a bottle of tomato Ketchup de Forqueta made from the Mallorcan tomatoes known as ‘ramellet’ (no more Heinz for us now!), a small wooden dish and spoon for salt and, of course, each of the Ametlla+ almond seasoning mixes.
What began as a stop for a coffee with our good friends visiting Mallorca from Oxfordshire, ended up as a bit of a feast – and a shopping fest!
©Jan Edwards 2017