Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eating in Mallorca and Ca'n Pedro

Let a girl dream a while longer, before reality fully hits. Also, if truth must be told, a still pretty empty fridge and my daughter starting first grade (first grade!!!) in a few days in addition to the rest do not make it easier to cook this week.

So this week will be all about Mallorca. Get comfortable and fly back to the sunny island with me because I have a few more secrets to share.

You would think, Mallorca being an island, that its food culture revolves entirely around seafood. Not unlike other larger islands of the Mediterranean, however, a lot of its most traditional fare comes from the land. Citrus grows aplenty, as do olives, pomegranates, prickly pears, grapes, indigenous tomatoes, eggplant (or aubergines if you will) and peppers. But when I think Mallorquin food, I think meat.

Lamb and pork are present on any typical menu, and mostly younger animals are used. Suckling lamb makes its appearance in the form of leg or shoulder of lamb or the tiniest, most tender chops you have ever seen. I will not even start to describe the ecstasy you will experience when tasting your first bite of suckling pig. It is roasted to perfection, until the skin is a crackly layer of crunchy goodness and the meat beneath is so fall-apart soft that it literally melts in your mouth. The cerdo negro, a pig indigenous to the island of which I will be showing you pictures in my next post, is also used to make sobrassada, a raw, cured spreadable sausage made with pork, paprika (which gives it its distinct color), sometimes cayenne pepper for varying levels of heat, salt and spices.

Several other meats make an appearance in the culinary traditions of the island, memory of a not so distant time when an animal was only butchered on very special occasions. The poorer cuts, such as offal, are common as are smaller animals such as rabbits and snails.

Slow cooked rabbit with roasted garden vegetables

Do you see the size of that terracotta casserole?

All this brings us to Ca'n Pedro, a place we go back to several times on every visit. It is a large, bustling business in the hills of Genova, another ideal place to go with children (there is a small playground on the premises to keep them happy while you eat away), although we used to go when we were younger and more carefree, and several seating options, both inside and outside. The large terrace on top offers pretty views, while the inside is cozier in the colder months of the year, with the fired up grill and hundreds of legs of jamon hanging from the ceiling.

The place is busy from before seven, when Germans, Brits, Scandinavians and families with young children show up till late into the night when the Spanish (and their offspring) appear. It is a place crowded by tourists and Spaniards alike, including locals, because it offers a large variety of fresh, tasty, authentic Mallorquin cuisine for reasonable prices.

You really can't go wrong when ordering there, but we have our traditions and there are a few must-haves when we go.

To begin we order pimentos de Padron (peppers from the town of Padron), pan fried in the best olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. They are not normally spicy but watch out, every now and then you get a deadly one.


Another must is caragols, or caracoles. Yes, snails.

We love us some snails. In Mallorca they are stewed in a hearty broth with pieces of cured pork (jamon or longaniza), aromatic herbs, cumin, onions, garlic and tomatoes. They are served with oversized toothpicks to extract them from their shell and aioli (garlic mayonnaise) to mix into the savory broth at the end. When the snails are finished, you must break pieces of crusty dark farmer's bread into the aromatic broth and eat.

Yes, my kids love these

Sometimes we order gambas al ajillo (shrimp quickly cooked in scalding, garlic-infused olive oil with chili peppers) or pan amb oli, a Balearic version of its better known Tuscan cousin, the bruschetta. Slices of the same dark bread (often toasted) are served with garlic cloves (optional), olive oil and the ramallet, a tomato indigenous to Mallorca, that is rubbed on whole. A sprinkle of salt or a slice of jamon can be added for flavor.

This oil isn't half bad either, with all that browned garlic and chili

Our second course is invariably léchon, crispy suckling baby pig (you can often order your favorite cut  - mine is the costillas, ribs - if you are so inclined) and baby lamb in any of its forms. I am partial to the abovementioned chuletas lechales, baby lamb chops, but the roasted leg of suckling lamb with garlic is also something to write home about.

You can literally tap your fork onto that crispy spin

These photos do not do the dishes justice, it was getting very dark...

 Join me on my next post to discover some more of Mallorca's treasures.

Ca'n Pedro II
Calle Rector Vives 14
Parking available


  1. Oh heavens, those snails! Those glorious snails! This post kicks up my old wanderlust…

  2. I was in Mallorca two years ago and the food was absolutely incredible...somehow I missed the sobrassada though. HOW?! Need to plan another visit soon and sample some, along with those awesome looking snails :-)

  3. Mallorca is one of my mom's favorite places to visit. Snails, yummy! Great pictures.

  4. Meister - yes, glorious indeed
    Littleloaf - you must must must try it. We flew back with a few homemade ones in our suitcase from a dear friend who know how much we love them.
    KintheR - it is not a coincidence that our mothers are both German. It is an island they love with a passion...and who can blame them really?

  5. Very beautiful and tasty food! Sounds like heaven to me. I haven't seen too many tourists in Mallorca, or did you just skip them?

  6. Ohhhh mamma mia!!!
    Is sobrassada similar to 'nduja? It all looks delicious! Very nice restaurant!
    I had my fare share of pa amb tomàquet when I spent a summer holiday doing volunteer work in a National Park up in the Figueres area... many (too many) years ago! So many happy memories!
    In bocca al lupo per l'inizio della scuola di tua figlia... 1 elementare!!! Che emozione!!! <3

  7. ToB - there are tourists all over the place, some areas are crazy (and pretty awful if you ask me). But it is a large island with a lot of variety and beauty most tourists (the kind who hang out in all inclusive hotels the whole vacation) do not know of.
    Manu - that sounds incredible, your summer in Figueres I mean. Sobrassada is actually much milder when spicy (often it is not spicy at all) and almost has a smoky flavor from the paprika I imagine. To die for. Grazie, crepi, sono più emozionata di quanto credessi ora che il giorno si avvicina.

  8. The preparation of some of these dishes look so nasty but well I've seen excellent people's reactions in here after eating them, actually I'd like to cook the rabbit with enough chili pepper because I consider that chili pepper and onion are very necessary when we're preparing a meal.


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