Its location, in the middle of the Mediterranean, make it a culinary oasis. This island, which collects all the essence of the sea, also transmits an authentic feeling for the land and the countryside. Coming from very humble origins and with clear reminiscences of the past, the gastronomy of Menorca is an effervescent and tasty combination of a marine cuisine that fuses with the ancestral traditions of the peasants. Its recipes have been transmitted mouth to mouth, from generation to generation, successfully integrating the heritage of different cultures that have left their legacy throughout the centuries.
It would be a sin to begin this gastronomic route without referencing something that is not a dish by itself but that enriches and elevates the category of delicatessen of some other foods: the mayonnaise (or “Mahonesa”) Originally from Mahón, the simplest version of this sauce is the one that only bears egg and olive oil. Now, that the starter has been mentioned, we will continue to the essential dishes of the Minorcan cuisine.
We pay homage to and kneel before the fundamental ingredient used to cooks what is the most typical Menorcan dish, the lobster, which along with a good stir-fry of vegetables and toast becomes a must of the insular recipe book: the stew. We recommend travelling to Fornells to taste this dish in any of its typical restaurants, or to try it in Ciudadela. This dish is definitely a must and if you travel to Menorca and do not try it, your trip won’t have been complete and definitely not the same.
We did not give up the spoon and continued this dish-tasting with this succulent soup, typical of Menorca, and which the peasants cooked in times of scarcity. Although it was the basis of their breakfasts, this broth made from water, oil and aromatic herbs collected directly from the land has been enriched, spiced up and gained flavour thanks to the sum of vegetables that are served over a fond of toasted brown bread. In the Summer you can enjoy it with figs, grapes or melon, in the Spring with asparagus and in the Winter containing eggs. It is possible to order it throughout the whole year, even in the Summer, as it is typically served not very hot.
Partridge stew with cabbage
Any hunting enthusiast around here? Bingo! Because from your order you cannot leave out this traditional recipe consisting of partridge stuffed with bacon, spicy sausage and black pudding to conquer the palate of anyone who asks for it (preferably in the cold months of the year).
Recommended for vegetarians in its simplest version, the bowl is a rich mixture of potatoes and rolled tomatoes covered with bread crumbs, garlic and parsley. You could say that it is the Minorcan lasagna and comes in countless versions. Some of those versions are somewhat carnivorous since you can add pork, squid, ray fish or sepia.
In this section it is also essential to highlight the stuffed Minorcan eggplant, because it uses quite similar ingredients to those of the Perol. Being a basic dish of the island in the Summer since it is in this season that you can get tender aubergines grown on the island itself, resulting in another delicacy of the cuisine of Menorca.
Baked ray fish and leg of lamb
One of sea and another one of mountain to finish off the menu with one of the most appreciated fish of all Menorca and with one of the most famous meats. On the one hand, the baked ray is usually accompanied by potatoes and stewed vegetables that are often as juicy as the fish itself. On the other hand, the lamb is one of the main delicacies of the gastronomy of Menorca. Revered even in its popular festivals, you cannot fail to try some “asado” that includes 100% indigenous lamb meat which will typically be served marinated with lard, “sobrasada”, salt and ground pepper.
Rice of the earth
And in any Mediterranean tasting menu, a dish containing rice can’t be missing from the list. This is one of the oldest dishes and recipes of the island (of Muslim origin – hence it is also known by the name of ‘arroz moro’). Its main point of difference is that is made from wheat instead of rice. Often meat is also added, mainly pork, which gives this somewhat blunt dish, fat and consistency.
Desserts and sweets…
… which everyone loves and which surprisingly offer a huge variety. Restaurants and bakeries offer its guests pastries and sweets including: “amargos”( sweet made of almond), crespells (circular pastes), cuscussós (a Christmas sweet which is similar to marzipan), “greixeras de patata” (cake made of potato and almond flour), curd pudding with honey, and other cakes… although, if you are more type of person that prefers salty snacks, at the end off your lunch you cannot forget a good piece of Mahón cheese, focus of the whole the gastronomy of Menorca and heritage of the island.
What is undeniable is that all these dishes are obtained thanks to the land, to the field, to the sea, to nature!??… and of course, thanks to the local markets, so one should not miss the best markets of the Balearic Islands where one can find all the ingredients to prepare these dishes which just made you drool.