Balearic Islands

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Balearic Islands namely Majorca, Minorca (Anglicized versions of Mallorca and Menorca), plus Ibiza and Formentera, with Catalonia on the mainland, the surviving territory of catalan cookery. However, they call for separate consideration because there is a high degree of contrast between the relatively sophisticated cuisine of Catalonia, especially Barcelona, and the more down-to-earth peasant-style cookery of the islands.

The Balearics are of course not only part of the Catalan region but also part of Spain, and it is noticeable that many of the foods and dishes popular in the islands echo, albeit under somewhat different names, those of Spain. Thus, to take a few examples, bunyols (Mallorquin) are buñuelos (Castilian Spanish), doughnuts; arros brut (a winter dish of rice with rabbit and other game, snails, and vegetables, well spiced) is the Spanish arroz brut; pan-cuit is the bread and garlic ‘soup’ known as sopa de ajo in Castilian and familiar in the south of France and elsewhere in the Mediterranean.