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Ensaïmada: the sweet taste of Mallorca

17/12/2020

Ensaïmada: the sweet taste of Mallorca

 

Travelling to Mallorca and taking one, or several, ensaimadas back home is a tradition amongst visitors to the island. Today we invite you to discover the history of this island delicacy, and the best places to try it. Sound good?

 

 

The origin of the Mallorcan ensaïmada

 

The “ensaïmada” is of Hebrew origin, and comes from a kind of sweet bread, similar to the brioche, that used to be prepared for the Sabbath, the holy day of the Jewish religion. The recipe developed into the ensaïmada we now know thanks to the converted Jews who stayed to live on Mallorca after the diaspora – a recipe that has not changed since then, over 500 years ago: strong flour, water, sugar, eggs, sourdough and lard. Originally in the Jewish homes of Mallorca, it was prepared using olive oil instead of lard. It was in 1492, when the Jews were expelled from Spain, that the converts were obliged to make an external display of their Christian faith by eating things forbidden by their previous religion. These prohibited foodstuffs included lard, or pork fat, which from that moment on replaced olive oil in the method of this ancient recipe. Simple, and yet delicious!

 

 

In the 17th century, we find the first texts that speak of the Ensaïmada de Mallorca, which now enjoys Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indication, recognised as such since 1996. It was from the 18th century on that it began to be popularly consumed amongst the middle and upper classes, who accompanied the cake with a cup of hot chocolate for their afternoon tea. The ensaïmada achieved significant popularity, and started to be exported to other countries in the 19th century.

 

Mallorca has a grand tradition of baking breads and pastries, two of the oldest guilds on the island. Which is why there is a host of places where you can try an exquisite ensaïmada. Although we would like to propose the following five places, which are very traditional among the inhabitants of the island, and where you will doubtless enjoy the experience.

 

 

 

Five places you can eat a delicious ensaïmada

 

For an ensaïmada accompanied by an artisanal ice cream or a hot chocolate, the best option is the emblematic Ca’n Joan de s’Aigo, established in the year 1700 and now with three establishments in Palma. You simply must taste one along with a glass of ‘meringue milk’ (leche merengada) ice cream, one of the most authentic options.

 

El Horno de Santo Cristo, with over 60 years of experience: you can eat the  ensaïmada on the premises or take it home with you in the original, typical octagonal cardboard box.

 

In Inca, in the centre of the island, the small, discrete Forn de Sant Francesc contains some wonderful sweetmeats. Here you can try the ensaïmada that won the prize for The Best Ensaimada in the World in the first competition of its kind, held in 2017.

 

And in our own area, we recommend two establishments. In Cala d’Or, very close to our hotels, you will find a local Forn i pastisseria Terrassa, which has been making one of the best ensaïmadas in the Migjorn region since 1936. And in the tiny town of S’Horta, 7 kilometres from our hotels, is the Forn de S’Horta, a traditional bakery with cafeteria service where you can try a delicious ensaïmada with your favourite drink in the sunshine.

 

 

And naturally, we invite you to try the delicious ensaïmada we have prepared for you in our Inturotel buffets. We look forward to seeing you in Mallorca.

Bon profit!

 

 

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Nature and culture in Mallorca: 5 unforgettable hikes
25/03/2021
Nature and culture in Mallorca: 5 unforgettable hikes
Nature and culture in Mallorca: 5 unforgettable hikes   Mallorca is a natural, historical and cultural treasure trove. Today we present 5 hikes for when you plan your next trip to Mallorca with Inturotel. Being in touch with nature makes life more beautiful, and of course it makes us happier… We recommend you look for routes and maps on an app such as Wikiloc. Off we go!     Santuario de Sant Salvador   This 15th-century sanctuary, located 500 metres above sea level, affords spectacular panoramic views of Mallorca. The origins of the Sanctuary of Sant Salvador go as far back as 1348, and today it consists of an 18th-century church, a small chapel from 1910 and a monument to Christ the King, dating from 1934.   This hike runs along a quiet, pleasant path, suitable for the whole family. Along the way you will encounter a 19th-century Via Crucis, with different stations representing experiences lived out by Jesus on the day of his crucifixtion. You will also come across “el macolí del gegant” (or “the giant’s pebble”). According to legend, one day a “pebble” fell from the shoe of a giant who terrorised the local people. Even today, there is still a custom among inhabitants of Felanitx of throwing a stone at this boulder, which is about 10 metres from the trail, and making a wish.   The ascent takes 1 hour. The Sanctuary of Sant Salvador is located in the municipality of Felanitx, just 20 kms from the beautiful Cala d’Or, where you will be able to stay at one of our Inturotel hotels next to the sea.     The forest of Lluc and its monastery   The Sanctuary of Lluc is Mallorca’s most important place of pilgrimage, and indeed one of the best-known in Europe. It lies in one of the island’s most beautiful natural enclaves, hidden amidst the woods and mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is hardly surprising, then, that the name Lluc derives from the Latin place name Lucus, meaning “sacred forest”. The first we hear of the establishment of a chapel in Lluc is from the year 1268. Inside the present-day monastery, one can pray to “La Moreneta”, Mallorca’s most popular Virgin who, legend has it, was found by a shepherd boy. If you love plants, don’t miss a visit to the Botanic Garden here, with over 200 varieties of plants from the Balearic Islands, some of which are endemic and endangered, and only found in the Puig Major area. And don’t forget to indulge in a restorative hot chocolate accompanied by an ensaïmada or a tasty coca de patata before bidding this natural and spiritual refuge farewell!     Camí des Correu   A trail with medieval roots connecting the lovely villages of Esporles and Banyalbufar, the Camí des Correu runs along classic paths of the Serra de Tramuntana, surrounded by holm-oak woods and marvellous views of the coast and the Mediterranean. It dates back to the year 1401, and until the 19th century was the only road communicating the village with the rest of the island. It forms part of the walking route known as Pedra en sec (dry stone walling), an ancestral technique by which stones are set on one another without using cement, making terracing that allowed crops to be grown on the sides of mountains, walls to delimit properties and fields, and paving for paths and roads.       The starting point for this hike is at the church of Esporles. It takes approximately two and a half hours, and once again is a walk that is suitable for families, as it is easy and well signposted.     Puig des Teix via Camí de S’Arxiduc   Valldemossa is one of the most beautiful villages on Mallorca. Located in the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana, one of the peaks that overlook it is Puig des Teix, with its extensive holm-oak woodland. One great attraction of walking up Puig des Teix is to discover the “Camí de S’Arxiduc”, a path constructed on the ridge in the 19th century at the behest of Archduke Ludwig Salvator, a member of the Austrian imperial family and one of the most relevant figures of recent centuries on the island. From 1867 to 1915 the Archduke spent long spells of time at his properties between Valldemossa and Deià.     On one of his numerous research trips around the Mediterranean, the Archduke mapped the south-eastern coast, where the Inturotel hotels are located, stopping at Cala LLonga and exploring the coves in the area, and leaving a written testimony of this visit:   “Farther along we see the natural arch called Es Pontàs, the antechamber to Cala Mitjana cove. A sea cave, the domain of wild pigeons, stands out in the reddish cliff, along with a watchtower up high and a headland with flat summit followed by Cala Ferrera. To the left is Caló de Ses Dones, whose sandy beach is populated by pine trees, and, at the back, we see Castell de Santueri and Sant Salvador”.     Barranc de Biniaraix   A two-hour walk amongst ancient stone terraces, with memorable views of Mallorca. The gully of Barranc de Biniaraix, located near the delightful village of Sóller, was declared an asset of cultural interest in the monument category in 1994, due to its impressive scenic, environmental, historical and cultural value.   Since time immemorial, the gully path was the main route of communication for the valley of Sóller and Fornalutx with those of L’Ofre, Cúber, Orient or the Lluc monastery.       The estimated time needed to walk this route is about two hours, but it all depends on your pace and the stops you make along the way. Ideally this beautiful hike should be completed unhurriedly, as you relax and enjoy the scenery and nature.   Have a great trip and magical experiences!
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