‘A taste of the Balearics’: a quality gastronomic experience to travel to the Islands through the palate

May 30, 2024 | Current affairs, Featured, Interview, Portada, Post, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

Twenty agri-food companies from the Balearic Islands today showcased their products to UK food and drink distributors at an event organised in London by Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment together with Tourism, Culture and Sport.

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A taste of the Balearics

A journey through the five senses. The salt that evokes the flavour of the Mediterranean Sea; the almond, the fields of flowers; the oil from the thousand-year-old olive trees of the Tramuntana mountain range; the green landscape of Menorca and the milk from cows that gives the cheese its special characteristics; the island character of the varieties of Ibiza wines… ‘A Taste of the Balearics’ has today offered a tour of the rich Balearic agricultural tradition, local produce and a varied gastronomic offer in London to cook recipes with unique ingredients that aim to occupy a place of their own in the UK food market.

Twenty agri-food companies from the Balearic Islands were the stars of the promotional event organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment and the Government’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport at the London restaurant In Horto, the main aim of which was to put Balearic agri-food producers in direct contact with food and drink distributors in the United Kingdom. Thus, companies such as Camp Mallorquí, with IGP Almendra de Mallorca almonds and IGP Aceituna de Mallorca olives, and the Menorcan company Subaida, with DOP Mahón-Menorca cheese, were able to establish initial relations with the professional guests at an event attended by the councillors Joan Simonet and Jaume Bauzà, who welcomed the attendees.

In this sense, the Minister of Agriculture, Joan Simonet, wanted to highlight the roots of primary products in the landscape of the Islands ‘and their help in maintaining our environment. We are not only talking about products of enormous quality, but also about products that have great added value, such as preserving all the particularities of our island territory, which has favoured, for example, the conservation of plant varieties and native breeds, such as the manto negro or callet grape, or the Mallorcan black pig, which give our products great quality and a flavour that is unique in the world. Furthermore, agricultural activity shapes our landscape in a unique way on each of the islands; the Menorcan landscape cannot be separated from Mahón-Menorca PDO cheese, in the same way that olive growing has shaped a unique landscape in the Tramuntana mountain range’.

For his part, the Minister of Tourism, Jaume Bauzà, pointed out how important it is for the Government ‘to publicise the tradition and culture of our land, offering our visitors a unique and differential experience. Associating gastronomy and culture with tourism is one of the cornerstones of the new executive and forms part of our strategy in the transformation of tourism in the Balearic Islands. Lovers of gastronomy and culture have an infinite number of opportunities in the Balearic Islands to taste exquisite products, visit marvellous villages and enjoy a varied and very complete cultural offer that goes beyond the summer season,’ he said.

In addition to the councillors Simonet and Bauzà, also in attendance were Joan Llabrés, Director General of Agri-food Quality and Local Produce, and officials from the Balearic Islands Tourism Strategy Agency (AETIB), the driving force behind this pioneering action, given that ‘this is the first time that a promotional event has been organised that seeks direct contact with distributors in the destination country and is exclusively aimed at producers from the Balearic Islands’, in the words of Joan Llabrés.

According to Miquel Miralles, owner of Treurer, ‘A Taste of the Balearics’ ‘is a very important event because we are a very small company and we would not be able to bring our product to the UK without the help of the Government, as the costs are very high’. The CEO of the Algaida-based company, which has taken its award-winning Aceite de Mallorca PDO oil to London, also recognises that the format of the event, ‘focused on direct contact with distributors in the UK’, is essential. ‘What we are trying to do is find a large importer to be able to cover a large part of the British market and offset the costs,’ Miralles explained. Laura Calvo, from Gusto Mundial Baleárides, who explained the qualities of Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc salt to the attendees, was also very grateful. Mima Tierra, meanwhile, brought the scents and floral landscapes of Mallorca to London with its infusions.

From Ibiza, Stella González, from the Can Rich winery, was on hand. ‘For us, it is a unique opportunity to establish the first contacts with potential customers in the UK’. Bodegas Can Rich produces products from the land of Ibiza and in London, it was able to show its organic wines under the IGP Vino de la Tierra Ibiza, but also its oil under the IGP Aceite de Ibiza and hierbas ibicencas and other liqueurs, under the IGP Hierbas Ibicencas.

The Binissalem PDO was represented by the wineries José Luis Ferrer, Can Fumat and Vinyes y Vins Ca Sa Padrina, while the Pla i Llevant PDO was represented by the wineries Pere Seda and Vins Miquel Gelabert. The IGP Vino de la Tierra Mallorca was the most highly represented thanks to the participation of eight wineries: Can Vidalet, Son Prim, Mesquida Mora, Castell Miquel, Conde de Suyrot, Mortitx, Macià Batle and 7103 Petit Celler. Sebastià Ordinas, owner of the latter bodega, has gone a step further, pointing out that the wine market in Mallorca is stagnating and that ‘one way to survive is to open up to new countries. It is complicated to reach the United Kingdom because the bureaucracy is abundant. These events, which allow you to make this first direct contact, are more necessary than ever,’ he stressed.

‘A taste of the Balearics’ concluded with the gastronomic experience of Terragust. Chef Biel Llull and his team gave a live cooking demonstration for a specialised audience with the power to influence – gastronomic consultants, chefs, sommeliers? – The audience tasted Mallorcan mini-cocca with onion confit, Mallorcan sobrasada, Menorcan cheese and jam; courgette carpaccio with tomato dressed with Mallorcan oil, Menorcan cheese, basil and toasted Mallorcan almonds; roasted aubergine with pickles and roasted pepper sauce, and panna cotta with strawberries and crumble.