Jo Eats... Mallorca: Part III
And so we have come to the third and final part of my Mallorquin food safari. Those of a sensitive disposition should look away now as I must warn you this post contains enough roasted baby animals to give even the staunchest carnivore a healthy dose of the meat sweats.
Suckling pig is a big thing on Mallorca, and it is one I embraced wholeheartedly. Having once braved an entire roasted little piglet, which came to the table basically intact one Christmas at Shoreditch House, I knew I was greedy enough to reconcile the fact that the poor baby pig had been torn from its mother's breast at just two to six weeks old for my own eating pleasure. I'm a horrible horrible person, I know. I'd rather recognise what a barbarian I am and know what I'm eating though, than be one of these people who need to eat filleted meat with no hint of bone or flesh in order to ignore that they are consuming an animal. Small rant over, here is the first of the very very delicious little piggies:
I'm afraid this photo doesn't do the meat justice, but it was really very good indeed. The crackling left a bit to be desired, as they hadn't quite achieved the crispiness, but the flesh itself was beautifully tender and juicy and almost falling off the bone. This beauty was from a restaurant right on the marina and they also did a really great Pa Amb Oli for breakfast on the days I didn't solely eat cava and helados. Pa Amb Oli is like a Mallorcan bruschetta: good quality bread rubbed with tomato and properly green olive oil and occasionally topped with serrano and or manchego. Back to the matter in hand, here is another example of suckling pig - this time a slightly more refined version from a slightly more upmarket restaurant in the heart of Alcudia's lovely old town which had a pricetag to match...
This one was really exquisite and they had really got to grips with drying the skin enough to get the crackling good and crackly whilst still maintaining the integrity of the meat. Rich went one step further and ordered the suckling lamb, which I didn't even know was a thing, but looking at the weeny little leg of this previously gambolling lamb, clearly is:
As if we hadn't had enough baby animals, there was also a terrific veal tartare at a steak place overlooking Alcudia bay. I never eat veal abroad as traditionally veal retains its white tender meat by restricting the calf's movement within a tiny crate, not being exposed to light and being generally terribly treated. We thankfully don't allow this practice in the UK, and veal you see here is known as rose veal due to its pink colour from the animal being able to actually move and grow before the slaughter. Rich's appetite is bigger than his conscience though and he happily ordered away:
To be fair, it does look great. And maybe even rosy, but I wasn't willing to take the chance. Steak was in abundance over there and we had the pleasure of eating some huge, excellently cooked rib eyes from very good quality meat at a quarter of the price of a good London steak house. 90% of the restaurants had a proper coal fired grill, so the meat was rightly charred yet still very rare inside. Here's one of them:
As well as the vast array of steaks, the Mallorcans are very into their Iberico pork - a Spanish breed of pig that is fed on acorns and has the freedom to roam far and wide. The meat is very different from usual pork, and is quite a lot redder. The Spanish are not afraid to serve this slightly pink either, which I personally am fine with if you're eating in a decent place. I first had Iberico pork at Meat People in Angel and it was quite a revelation; my accompanying diners had major food envy after trying mine, so if you can track some down then do try it. The first of the Iberico dishes was this one, which had been simply grilled over the said smoking hot charcoal:
Not the prettiest dish in the world, but definitely one of the tastiest. Our favourite restaurant, the Carrer Barques just off the marina, also grilled it very well and served with the ubiquitous padron peppers:
You can see the colour quite well in this one, but as ever my photography skills remain appalling. I'm trying though! Our final Iberico sampling was as a cured ham, like serrano but nuttier, served with what they called 'broken eggs' and some unnecessary fritas, which I left. Nobody needs that much carb in a starter.
And now, you may breathe a sigh of relief as that is all the meat I have to show you. Just in case you are still hungry, here is a selection of traditional puddings and cakes! The Mallorquins are big into their almonds, so trying some of these almond pastries are a must if you venture Balearic-ward - these are in a bakery in Palma:
This almond cake was deceptively moist and quite the thing to accompany an 11am glass of cava. You can see in the picture that my future Mother and Father-in-law did not agree and stuck with a cafe con leche, spoilsports:
One night despite the sheer amount of meat consumed, I also managed to squeeze in this traditional flan. Extra points for the squirty cream:
And on another night this Crema di Catalan happened:
And that concludes my Mallorquin gastro tour, so normal business of carb dodging, zoodles and calorie counting will resume shortly.