By Humphrey Carter

THE 24th Majorcan Mostra de Cuina food fair opened at the Palma Arena yesterday with a more varied and exciting menu than ever.
This year, the food fair is also incorporating a wide range of Mediterranean dishes to boost Unesco's bid to have the Mediterranean diet officialy recognised as part of the country's Cultural Heritage.

The fair, which runs until May 17, was inaugurated yesterday by the founder of the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy, Rafael Anson, who stressed the importance of a balanced diet and paid tribute to the virtues of the Majorca and Mediterranean diets.

Anson was accompanied by the president of the Council of Majorca Francina Armengol, the Mayor of Palma, Aina Calvo and the central government delegate to the Balearics, Ramon Socias. Anson encouraged all those involved in the service sector, especially restaurants to make en extra effort to promote traditional Majorcan food and produce which is becoming increasingly popular overseas.

This year, over 20 local restaurants are participating in the fair at its new venue and each day, different restaurants and vineyards will be preparing the varied menus for visits. Food is served between 12.30 and 4pm and then 7pm and 11pm each day and the dishes cost 2.80 euros each.

The entrance fee of four euros includes bread, a beer or nonalcoholic refreshment, sobrasada, olives, an ice cream, coffee or juice and an aperitif of liquor.

Residents holding a Green Card are entitled to a 25 percent discount and all visitors will be automatically entered into a raffle. There is plenty of parking for 1'000 vehicles but the number 29 and 19 busses will drop you right outside the Arena which is next to Palma's municipal cemetery.