The espinagada...delicious. | ARCHIVO


What´s On In January

Fiestas and celebrations - Three Kings parades (January 5)

Fiestas and celebrations - Sant Antoni, Saint Anthony (January 16 and 17)

Fiestas and celebrations - Sant Sebastià, Saint Sebastian, Palma (January 20)

Sport - Challenge Ciclista Mallorca (January 26-30)

No matter which days of which season you choose for your holiday in Majorca you can be sure of at least one thing — you will eat great food at every meal.

If it’s fish you’re mad about then you’ll find the best specimens that ever came out of the Mediterranean — even some that aren’t appreciated in other parts of Spain.

If meat’s your thing, then it’s all here in Majorca: the finest beef, veal, lamb, pork, chicken and other poultry, done with recipes you won’t find in other Mediterranean areas.

If you’re hooked on vegetables, or just like a nice selection of veggies at every meal, then Majorca is the place to be — at all seasons of the year. If poet John Milton had been lucky enough to visit the island in the 17th century and had eaten some of its lovely vegetable dishes, he’d have written a long poem called…Paradise Found.

Majorca has some especially delightful fruits throughout the year, especially during the summer months, but also in winter. And the prices are amazingly low.

If you’ve stayed at home for Christmas and the New Year and would like a break that won’t be a festive anti-climax then, once again, Majorca is the place.

For starters, Majorca celebrates the full 12 Days of Christmas, and festivities do not end until January 6, the Day of the Epiphany, when Spanish children receive their toys and adults exchange gifts.

On the evening of January 5 (Twelfth Night), you’ll be able to watch parades through Palma and other towns all over the island, that represent the Three Wise Men who took gifts to Baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

But Majorca’s season of good cheer doesn’t end there because on January 14-15 and January 19-20, the festivities continue with two big saints’ days celebrations, one in Palma and the other in Sa Pobla on the north-eastern side of the island.

Sant Sebastià is the big street party of the year in Palma because he’s the city’s patron saint. The Christmas illuminations stay on until the night of January 20 and on the 19th there’s music and dancing in Palma’s main squares. The town council provides barbecue pits and residents (and visitors) take along their own steaks, chops, sausages, black puddings and burgers to be chargrilled under the stars.

Out in Sa Pobla, 40 kilometres from Palma to the north, on January 16 and 17 the big street fiesta is for Sant Antoni, the town’s patron saint. This annual event is on the night of the 16th when bonfires are lit in streets and squares and demon-like figures with menacing masks roam the town centre. It can be quite eerie the first time you see it.

Two very popular Sa Pobla dishes are eaten during the Sant Antoni celebrations: the espinagada (a pie with a fresh eel filling) and arròs brut (a rice dish containing, chicken, pork, charcuterie and vegetables).

The eels come from the Albufera and the arròs brut is made with a rice that grows in the lagoon area and can absorb more than three times its volume in liquid. This dish is now so popular you will find it at restaurants all over the island.

Another dish you will come across at this time of the year, and also in every village and town, is sopes mallorquines. It’s a dry bread soup (but also very moist) made with paper-thin slices of brown Majorcan bread and lots of vegetables such as thinly sliced cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, onions, mangetout, tomatoes, spring onions, leeks, artichokes, wild mushrooms, fresh peas, butter beans or wild asparagus.

As sopes are eaten between November and March, game such as quail and partridge can also be included as well as pieces of pork belly, lean nuggets of pork, chopped pork spare ribs and also slices of botifarrón, the island’s black pudding.

In coastal areas you will also come across sopes that contain nuggets of fish. And in the summer months a light sopes is eaten with fresh apricots instead of green olives.